Sunday, July 24, 2011

Christianity 101: "All is grace"

Michael Potemra reminds us all that "All Is Grace":
The lectionary used by millions of Christians today offered hearers the great passage of Romans 8:26-39. I was fortunate enough to hear this proclaimed at Manhattan’s St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue .... “If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” ....

One of the most striking developments of our ecumenical age is that Catholics and Protestants alike are realizing that they are not divided on the issue of “Amazing Grace”: The hoary debate on faith vs. works has been eclipsed by a common understanding that God’s grace, unmerited by the receiver, is the essential factor in mankind’s hope. ....

.... Christianity, then, is not a white-knuckle attempt to “win the future” but an act of gratitude for what God has already done, in the past and present and always. It is a religion not of good people basking in their self-achieved goodness, but of bad people who accept with joy the forgiveness of God. Why, then, it might be asked, does Paul also speak of “fear and trembling”? In short: Because those here on earth are not immune to fear and doubt. But even in that very same passage in Philippians, Paul goes on to remind his readers that when they are “working out [their] salvation with fear and trembling,” it is actually God Himself “which worketh in you.” It is, finally, as St. Thérèse said: “All is grace.” .... [more]
All Is Grace - By Michael Potemra - The Corner - National Review Online