“How come American churches don’t believe that the grace of God can transform the lives of people?”
An odd question to get on Christmas night, obviously packed with a bunch of assumptions. And my mild stupor, left over from our Christmas feast was not going to serve me well in a suddenly intense conversation.
The speaker, a bright neurologist (Is that redundant? Are there some dumb neurologists?), from Columbia, was a guest, along with his wife, at my brother-in-law’s house. His passion for God had already been evident in our conversation.
The point behind his question?
His observation is that most teaching about spiritual life seems to be based on a try-harder, you-can-do-it, self-improvement message, rather than on a total reliance on the grace of God.
His assumption about our total need for the grace of God for everything is indisputable.
In one passage in the Bible, the apostle Paul summarizes the coming of Christ, his life, ministry, death and resurrection as “the grace of God appearing.” This Sunday we are going to study this passage: Titus 2:11-14. This is one of my favorite New Year’s passages because it is so clear and compelling about what the grace of God does to us.
One of the reasons I like this passage is because it was addressed to people like us who had not been part of the original experience with Jesus. They were a few generations removed and part of a different culture than the first followers. Yet, their experience was just as transforming.
The passage gives us a great opportunity to hit reset. And who doesn’t need to hit reset before our normal lives kick into gear.
Let’s do it together this Sunday.