There is a kind of writing, preaching, and talking about grace that instead of offering grace and extolling the goodness of God, seems to use grace as the backhand of God that is used to grind humans into the ground as it talks about grace. I’m having a hard time being gracious about this.
It is the sort of communication that does extol grace, God’s good grace, but it makes that grace an angry thing God has to do because he is gracious. God, being so loving but downright ticked off with humans for their sins and stiff-neckedness and hard-heartedness, is still gracious to us. That sort of idea.
This is a massive distortion of what God actually does to us. James tells us, don’t forget, that if we ask God in faith that God gives to us simply or unbegrudgingly — and the grace grinders tend to make God a begruding God of grace rather than a delightful and pro-active God of grace.
These people can’t talk about grace without emphasizing that we are wretches;
they can’t read Yancey’s What’s So Amazing…? without saying it isn’t the whole story;
they can’t preach obedience without saying this isn’t works;
they can’t talk about grace without talking about all those who are on their way to hell;
they can’t preach love without showing holiness is behind it all;
they can’t talk about grace without reminding us that it is all for God’s glory and that God didn’t have to do this and that we ought to consider ourselves lucky;
in other words, they can’t accept that God’s grace is God’s benevolence toward us because of who God really is (a gracious loving God) and because of who we are: his chosen people in whom he delights and for whom he has crafted a gospel that restores us to be Eikons who are in union with God and communion with others.
Forgive me if I’m being ungracious to the grace grinders, but it wounds the gospel to use grace as a grinding instrument.
Grace, so it seems to me, should make us aware that we are special to God not the reluctant objects of mercy.