Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Beginning with God 4

Worship.jpgIt all begins with God — what we think about God shapes what we think about ourselves and those around us and our world. It begins with God. What is our “narrative” of God?

James Bryan Smith, in The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love With the God Jesus Knows (The Apprentice Series) is focused on that question.


God is generous. Our God is a God of generosity.

Smith’s approach is to counter unhealthy and false narratives with the narrative of Jesus about God. The false narrative that attacks God’s generosity and our reception of God’s generosity is that we can earn God’s favor. When we frame our narrative with a “tit-for-a-tat”, we run the risk of entering into a narrative of earning God’s favor and spending our time in fear of God.

What are the reasons we frame God as one whose favor must be earned? What has helped you get over and beyond the God’s-Favor-Must-Be-Earned God?

Smith sees this narrative of earning favor written into the fabric of our culture and in the misunderstood narrative of God’s favor in the Bible — the correlation principle of Deuteronomy 28. Smith contends the metanarrative of the Bible sets the favor passages in context: that context is God’s grace and God’s love and God’s mercy and God’s generosity.


Jesus’ narrative is revealed in the parable of the workers in the vineyard where, in spite of getting what they deserved, we see God giving out of generosity beyond and instead of what they deserved. This, Smith argues, is the narrative of Jesus about God’s generosity.

What God wants us from us is to delight in God. God loves us and God is generous.

Are you receiving this?

He finishes this with an exercise in praying Psalm 23.

Comments read comments(5)
post a comment
John W Frye

posted July 20, 2009 at 11:09 am

I have observed in the USAmerican evangelical world some major screw ups on this issue. We talk a great game regarding grace, but can’t seem to live it. With ourselves or others. There is an increasing ignorance between the Old Covenant and New Covenant with the central, controlling pivot being Jesus Christ and his redemptive mission. Since the Old Covenant operated on contingencies (e.g., the blessings and cursings formula of Deut. 28), then unwitting New Covenant believers, not knowing how to treat/use/comprehend the Bible with the astounding event of Jesus, read contingencies into New Covenant life. We must perform to be blessed. Radical, extravagant, liberating grace is viewed as too weak to prevent sin (you know the old saw, “What? Shall we sin that grace may abound?”). We must have commands. We must Do something to show God how good we are. Then, and only then, will God smile on us. At some level, it is the cleverest lie of the devil sown into our hearts.

report abuse


posted July 20, 2009 at 11:59 am

I like you John :)

report abuse

Brian in NZ

posted July 20, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Preach it John.
So many Christians place doing ahead of being. Also, the influence of the world we live in, especially the Western culture, has far more sway over the church than most christian would want to admit. Western culture places so much emphasis on self promotion, image and success, that its little wonder the church absorbs this bias, especially when it gets encouraged from the pulpit so often.

report abuse

Your Name

posted July 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I think we regard God as someone whose favor needs to be earned because we’ve bought into society’s lie that that’s the way the world works. But as Christians, we shouldn’t be looking for what’s fair. It’s interesting that you use the term tit-for-tat. When dealing with a disciplinary issue at church, one of the guilty parties comrades was wearing me out with phone calls and e-mails about the perceived injustice of the situation and wanted to tell me all about what the other person had done. When I finally told him I was not going to get into a tit-for-tat conversation with him — presto — the calls and e-mails stopped!
I think a deep, realization of the grace of God enables ones to see that there is nothing to be earned from God. We simply receive with grateful hearts that which we did not deserve and hopefully pass that grace on to others.

report abuse


posted July 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm

I think it is here we see blatantly one’s psychological make up. Why do we get locked into earning favor from God? – because that’s how it was with our parents, had to earn their favor by doing something, whether being cute or some deed. seems to me.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog ...

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the ...

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: ...

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's ...

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or ...

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.