First I want to define a few things up front before I begin.
Grace: Mercy, forgiveness, freely extended to individuals who deserve only wrath.
Belief/Faith: Treasuring Christ above everything, and living in a manner that reflects outwardly the inward Joy of that profession.
Weight: Value or cost of something. Not necessarily a burden, although the cost or value to one might seem burdensome given it’s elevated cost to the one who assumes that weight. (it will make more sense as you read)
Recently (this past Sunday) I began a discussion with a friend of mine from church regarding God’s Love vs. His Justice. I want to outline this briefly to provide a basis for further development. We know that God’s Justice is perfect, and that our trespasses against an infinitely worthy/innocent/glorious God carries the penalty of death and eternal separation from God. We also know that by Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice at Calvary we, upon accepting and having faith in him, have his righteousness imputed to us. This is a legal action, nullifying our transgressions before God and allowing us to be in his presence in fellowship forever. The question this raises is, why?
Why would God in his perfect justice offers us, horrible sinners (yes all of us), a free pass? This we define as Grace, and is fueled by one of God’s other characteristics, his Love. Stick with me, this isn’t a Rob Bell moment. We know that Hell is real and not all will receive this pardon or Justification. So it’s safe to assume at this point, that there is a weight to Grace. Freely extended, but not freely applied? Yes, I believe that.
It all sounds so simple, say a prayer, make a profession, and I’m safe. True believers know this isn’t the case. Like the man who finds the treasure in the field and gives away everything so that he can have that treasure. Did he get more than he gave? Did he make these sacrifices in sadness? No, he assuredly received more than he gave, and did so gladly and without regret. The faith runs deep, is transformational, and works in an equivalent manner. No, our faith is not works based. Yes, our works are faith based, and faith is the price of our salvation and reception of this imputed righteousness.
So lets evaluate Faith, and I will keep it very simple here. Faith as I stated above with belief is placing Christ above everything, including yourself. The truth is, this manner of living is not unlike living in servitude. You seek to please your master, with love, through service in accordance to His Will. You also, were bought and paid for, with his blood which he in turn paid lovingly for you. Now to a non-believer this cost seems amazingly high. Both the fact that Christ had to die, and the idea that servitude is the path to freedom. The truth of the matter is, you are already in slavery before becoming a servant. If you weren’t, no cost would have been paid for you. We were all slaves to sin. That sin drove us to place ourselves above that which deserves Glory (God) and heaps it upon ourselves. I liken this to slavery, because in this scenario, we are not truly accounted for. We are another slave, fighting for our own portion, which is maggoty bread compared to what rests on the masters table. Yet as a servant, we are at the table with our master. In servitude one is looked after, their best interests met in order for them to greater serve. It’s a bond of love, and fellowship, sealed in service. It is symbiotic in a sense, and provides what Sin so readily destroys, harmony or shalom/peace. (do not read that God NEEDS us so much as he WANTS us)
So what is the weight of Grace? That isn’t so easily defined, but one could surmise, the weight of Grace is:
The most heinous act in history; which merits the most glorious freedom for the believer. That price was paid at Calvary, and the price for the believer is: Love, faith, and service for the one who died, and glory for the One who sent Him.
As John Piper said in a sermon once, (an excellent sermon if you have an hour to listen) and it rings true here.
“We get the savior, He get’s the glory. We get the great Joy, He get’s the honor. Is that ok? Good knight that’s ok! It can’t be any other way if there is a God and a sinner like me.”
Parting thought on being a servant…
Lets take a moment to address something else for those who find the idea of being a servant repulsive or indignant.
In our western culture the idea of “servitude” seems like something that devalues an individual. We as believers are called into adoption, as heirs, to the throne. We are not equal, but, part of the family. How often do you cringe at the thought or service to your parents? Siblings? Cousins? Children? These are intimate relationships and fellowship, just as the relationship that is formed with the believer and Christ.
You are cared for, provided for, and loved; but your worth does not exceed the worth of your master. That does not diminish a thing. I fully believe that every human is built with a desire to serve, it’s intrinsic to our nature and our happiness. I do not think this is a coincidence.
So with that; who or what are you serving?