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For Those Sitting In Darkness
by Bro. Clifford Hurst
1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417
It came out spontaneously: "Grace in your face." I was discussing with a friend how some who have been raised in a legalistic environment have had an euphoric Lutheran/Galatian experience. They suddenly get it that salvation is truly by grace through faith in Jesus, that they cannot merit God's approval or acceptance even after they are born again. The question we had been discussing was "Can someone have such a revolutionary experience freeing them from legalism and not let the pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction into libertarianism." My observation was that so often these liberated from legalism develop an attitude-and here it came-an attitude, a grace-in-your-face attitude. Suddenly, they flaunt their "Christian liberty" doing things they know others feel strongly ought not to be done by Christians. They get in your face with it. They protest, "It's all by grace; works don't matter." Grace in your face. Something about this arrogant, libertine attitude seems to me totally contrary to the grace they claim. If one truly realizes salvation is all by grace, being liberated from the taskmaster, Salvation-by-your-works, wouldn't that make that person so grateful he would be permeated with humility? Isn't the boast, "I can take this and that liberty because I've been liberated by grace," as prideful as "I am righteous because I fulfill the holiness code, the list of rules of things I have to do or not do"? Grace in the face is bad. So is the pack on the back-the burden of personal convictions, list of rules, and code of expected behavior, a duplicate of the legalist's own burden, that he tries to put on others' back. If a person has been truly liberated by grace, he will be humble because he is overwhelmingly grateful. If a person has a life characterized by separation and holy living, he will be humble because he realizes any true holiness is not self-produced but a work of God in his life. Neither grace in the face or a pack on the back does anybody any good, appeals to no unbeliever. However, humble gratitude, that is far more appealing to those who need Christ.