We’ve gotten such a great response from our interview with Mockinghero Robert Farrar Capon last week that we had to go back to the well to ask one more question, which Dr. Capon was gracious enough to answer. We are confident that you’ll be as grateful as we are that he did. Here goes:
Some of us have been accused of “turning grace into a (new) law.” When we hear the exciting message of God’s one-way love, of freedom and death, it provokes a reaction against other more moralistic forms of Christianity – we become Pharisaical about Pharisees in other words. Do you have any thoughts on this dynamic?
To answer the last part of your question first: When you receive God’s love truly, it will never provoke judgments against your neighbor. Get out of the name calling and judging business as fast as you can. Check your own minds and hearts first. Failure to pass the grace (forgiveness) along keeps you out in the courtyard with the elder brother and at home with the Pharisee unjustified, not at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Thankfully we are not in charge of God and how and where he dispenses His Grace. I heard somewhere that grace is like a liquid that God pours from His celestial pitcher over the whole world. God’s love is cosmic, it fills up all the nooks and crannies of creation.
Now to the front end of your question: Grace cannot be turned into law, it is the opposite of law. Grace is gift, and we are the recipients of this precious outflow from the Trinity. Precious because Jesus gave his life for our breaking of the law. The law is holy, just and good and if we all had kept it, Jesus wouldn’t have had to shed one drop of his precious blood. The law cannot save, morality can only condemn when its laws are broken, only Grace is sovereign over the forgiveness of the sins of the whole world. To experience His Glorious Grace requires only our acceptance and trust in the One who bestows it. And if our minds are numbed and we cannot even grasp the concepts of acceptance and trust, remember, “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”