One of the reasons that we worship and fellowship together with other Christians is to be reminded of the basics of our faith. I had such an experience today.
Wonderful Husband and I were having lunch with Real Life friends M, J and R. I credit this thought to my friend M, who will be reading this blog eventually (but who doesn't make a habit of leaving comments). Nonetheless, it's important to give credit where credit is due. Perhaps ultimately the credit goes to CS Lewis, who also said a similar thing.
M noted that he reckons there is one common theme that runs through 'offshoots' of Christianity. I don't know what word to use and probably some will be offended at being called 'offshoots' of Christianity. Movements like Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons or even the Masons. That one common thing, M reckoned, is that they jettison grace.
M reckons that grace is jettisoned because it is an offensive concept and I agree. I think that there are two ways that we can be offended by grace. Even though these two ways of being offended by grace are mutually exclusive in concept, I suspect that if we're honest with ourselves, in practice we all manage to be offended in both of these ways from time to time.
The first way of being offended by grace is to be happy when the grace is applied to us, but unhappy when it's applied to other people. So we're happy to get a full day's wages for 4 hours' work, but we're unhappy that someone else has got a full day's wages for 1 hour's work. We are sometimes guilty of wanting grace for ourselves and justice for others.
The second way of being offended by grace is being offended that we are in need of grace at all. Superficially, this can appear to be the more straight-foward of the two scenarios, but I suspect that it's the most devious. Because it's not just about us accepting that we are imperfect sinners who need God's forgiveness. It's about accepting that there isn't actually anything we can do to 'pay God back' for his grace.