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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tolerance vs. Grace

John 14:6 "Jesus said, I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me."

     Today, I feel a bit of a soapbox coming on...Yesterday I talked about measuring the truth against God's Word. So if John 14:6 is THE truth, how does that affect my life?
     Yesterday as I was working on my Sunday School lesson, I came across an interesting question in the material:

"List substitutes for grace that you have observed in society."

Hmmm...good one. I had to think for a few minutes. I thought of the "sexual revolution" of the 60s and 70s, the increased permissiveness in our society, a few related commercial jingles came to mind. Then it dawned on me...in our culture we have substituted tolerance for grace.
     What do you think of when you think of a gracious person? Dictionary.com defines them as "pleasant, kind, courteous, merciful and compassionate, indulgent, beneficent in a condescending way." It lists synonyms as benign and mild.
     I cannot think of anyone more gracious than our God. He is certainly merciful and compassionate. Other than that, the definition above just sounds like a nice person who let's you do what you want. Doesn't sound like God, sounds like tolerance. We have redefined grace.
     Instead of applauding the sinner who comes to God and allows His grace to change them, we have adopted an "I'm OK, You're OK", many paths to God approach. We "graciously" smile and nod and tell folks they can believe whatever they want in the name of being tolerant. Unfortunately, we are tolerating them right into hell....
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion,
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!" Isaiah 30:18
Yes, He is gracious AND compassionate, but He is also just. He is not tolerant.
     So back to John 14....how does this change me? If I truly believe He is the only way and He is just and He does not tolerate sin, I should be sharing His grace with everyone I meet. I should be taking His truth to the world. Grace and truth...definitely not politically correct.

"Lord, Forgive me for not being more bold in sharing my faith. Give me a true burden for those around me that do not know the truth of Your grace and compassion. Help me to always be looking for opportunities to share You with the world around me. Thank You for loving me enough to extend your grace even to me."

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