How does grace shape our apologetic?

(SeanO) #1

Voice of the Martyrs recently had a story about the Yao people in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. This people group was thought to be nearly unreachable until a group of Christians decided to stay in the midst of persecution and love their neighbors. This radical love resulted in a rapid spread of the Gospel. I do not think that staying in persecution is always the right choice - sometimes even Jesus and Paul avoided it. But this story reminded me of how it really is God’s unconditional love, in spite of our brokenness, that is the greatest apologetic.

" The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." C. S. Lewis

How do you think grace should shape our apologetic? How does grace change the way that we seek to reach the world for Christ?

(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #2

Grace plays a big part in in shaping our apologetic. In fact, showing grace and love is our greatest apologetic. With it, we’d really have no Good News and no Jesus to faithfully share as everything in the Christian faith revolves around grace and love. Remember Jesus’ greatest commandments:

Matthew 22:35-40 NIV
[35] One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: [36] “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” [37] Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ [38] This is the first and greatest commandment. [39] And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ [40] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

What are these commandments without grace and without love? Also:

Matthew 5:43-47 NIV
[43] “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ [44] But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. [46] If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? [47] And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

Show me the gospel without grace and love and I’d probably respond (if I wasn’t a believer) with “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” as Jesus says not to do. We’d all be Pontius Pilate asking “What is truth?” and walking away without an answer. What is truth without grace? What is truth without love? It’s a pragmatic fist to the face, that’s what it is.
Grace and love play a huge part in apologetics and in communicating the gospel.

(Trisha Wood) #3

While Christians are called to love all, forgive sll, and share the grace He has show in saving us, it is the role of government to protect its citizens. That is a totally different process with totally different consequences for sinful actions. We cannot confuse the two.

(SeanO) #4

@Truthseeker7 What about this question made you think of the government? Was it something you heard at your Church or saw in the news recently or something else entirely?

(Trisha Wood) #5

I mentioned the difference in the responses of the government of the United States of America (at all levels) and of individual Christians to sinful acts of violence because of my remembering remarks made by some legislators, some news media, and even some Christians condemning other Christian citizens and government officials for agreeing with and affirming a desire for, calling for the need of, and supporting the actions necessary to protect our nation and its people (and assisting other governments in protecting their citizens also) with force of various kinds and punishments as being wrong and against our principles of tolerance and loving our enemies. While we Christians are called to extend God’s grace and forgiveness to all, our Constitution commands our government to protect our nation and its citizens, which is an entirely different matter with different responses and different responsibilities.

(SeanO) #6

@Truthseeker7 Thank you for sharing. Yes, the Bible teaches us that human authorities are meant to do what is just, though they do not always do so.

1 Peter 2:13-17 - Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

(Trisha Wood) #7

Perfect biblical verses for our day, Sean. Thank you. While they are always necessary for Christians to remember, I may need to post them around my house and refer to them often after the election results tonight!

(SeanO) #8

@Truthseeker7 Yes, it is so easy to set our hopes in politics and forget that it is only the grace of Jesus that can change hearts and that we are to humbly submit to ruling authorities, whether we voted for them or not. Of course, it is always important to remember that when ruling authorities do what is evil we may have to oppose them in a nonviolent manner, like Martin Luther King Jr. or Dietrich Bonhoffer.

(Trisha Wood) #9

I think the problem is the widening and expanding number of differences of opinion even among Christians as to what is “evil”, Sean, as we can see from 1. The increasing number of court cases being brought against Christians in the United States and other countries also for behaviors that certain government entities aspouse as being against their laws and which the Christians believe is their duty as followers of Jesus and also their Constitutional right to live by; 2. The often heated disagreements among individual Christians as well as churches/denominations concerning current issues that have biblical roots but are being applied radically differently now than they have been in the past in the name of “grace”, i.e. the definition of marriage and gender issues.

There are probably well meaning Christians who think that it is not living out God’s grace to take legal action or protest in any way against institutions or government entities that in some way punish or attempt to punish those Christians who stand strong against what God’s Word says is evil as Dr. King and Dietrich Bonhoeffer did, rather than to submit to the authorities over them. But I thank God and pray for those courageous Christians in the United States and around the world who stand humbly and graciously against evil in the power of the Holy Spirit no matter the cost.

(SeanO) #10

@Truthseeker7 Yes, we must prayerfully hold fast to both grace and truth no matter when we live in the tides of cultural change. We are called to be a faithful witness both of God’s unending mercy and love and of His righteousness. May Jesus grant us wisdom beyond our own abilities in this very important task!

(Trisha Wood) #11

Definitely beyond MY wisdom, Sean! But our heavenly Father will walk through with His children or deliver us from evil situations whether we understand them or not. Praise His Holy Name! May we trust Him more every day and thank Him for His incomparable grace and mercy in the midst of all circumstances.