Grace is Not an Object
As I mentioned on Monday, I recently finished Peter Leithart’s book The Baptized Body. I feel like I’ve referenced Leithart a lot lately but that’s mainly because I’ve been reading a lot of Leithart lately and I get most of my blogging content from whatever I’m reading. That said, I’ve probably got about three more Leithart posts coming down the tracks in the next week or so as a heads up.
Today’s post is going to reference something that I’ve written on before, the idea that grace is some sort of object. The evangelical subculture of the Christian faith tends to speak of salvation and grace as though they were an object to be obtained. Leithart goes to great lengths to push back against this misconception in a lot of his writing and that is especially so in The Baptized Body. The following quotation is a great encapsulation of our evangelical misconceptions and Leithart’s much needed correction:
To be saved means to be in a relationship of trust, friendship, sharing, fellowship, love and life with the Triune God. There is no such things as an “impersonal” relationship with God. Even the enemies of God who never enter the body of Christ are in relation to Him, a relationship of enmity. Since this is so, we can’t think of salvation or grace as a thing or object we possess. God is not an impersonal determining force, nor is salvation some kind of impersonal stuff handed over, spilled out, or poured into human beings. His grace is His favor, expressed in gifts. God’s grace is His personal favor to sinners who don’t deserve His favor in the least. (pg. 98)
Salvation isn't a punched ticket to heaven. Grace is not some sort of ephemeral substance that must be used like gasoline, but only for the human soul. Rather, to be saved is to have one’s relationship with God transition from a relationship of enmity and wrath to a relationship of “trust, friendship, sharing, fellowship, love and life.” Likewise, grace is the actual act of God forgiving us and showing us his favor. Grace isn’t some sort of substance, it is an act that God makes to give to you the good gift of himself in Christ.
Food for thought.