December 25, 2008
CLAIMING THE PACKAGE
by Charles R. Swindoll
This day---this very moment---millions are living their lives in shame, fear, and intimidation who should be free, productive individuals. The tragedy is they think it is the way they should be. They have never known the truth that could set them free. They are victimized, existing as if living on death row instead of enjoying the beauty and fresh air of the abundant life Christ modeled and made possible for all of His followers to claim. Unfortunately, most don't have a clue as to what they are missing.
That whole package, in a word, is grace. That's what is being assaulted so continually, so violently. Those who aren't comfortable denying it have decided to debate it. Similar to the days of the Protestant Reformation, grace has again become a theological football kicked from one end of the field to the other as theologians and preachers, scholars and students argue over terms like frustrated coaches on opposite sides trying to gain advantage over each other. It is a classic no-win debate that trivializes the issue and leaves the masses who watch the fight from the stands confused, polarized, or worst of all, bored. Grace was meant to be received and lived out to the fullest, not dissected and analyzed by those who would rather argue than eat. Enough of this! It's time for grace to be awakened and released, not denied . . . to be enjoyed and freely given, not debated.
Grace received but unexpressed is dead grace. To spend one's time debating how grace is received or how much commitment is necessary for salvation, without getting into what it means to live by grace and enjoy the magnificent freedom it provides, quickly leads to a counterproductive argument. It becomes little more than another tedious trivial pursuit where the majority of God's people spend days looking back and asking, "How did we receive it?" instead of looking ahead and announcing, "Grace is ours . . . let's live it!" Deny it or debate it and we kill it. My plea is that we claim it and allow it to set us free. When we do, grace will become what it was meant to be---really amazing! When that happens, our whole countenance changes.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.