By Grace Through Faith
I was thumbing through Brennan Manning’s book The Ragamuffin Gospel earlier this evening, finding myself completely enveloped in an oversized Barnes & Noble reading chair: the kind that never get uncomfortable, no matter how long you remain seated in one position. I had been wrestling with lingering guilt and gnawing pangs of self-loathing for the bulk of the day, and had decided to escape to the bookstore for some time of study and reflection. I came across a passage that struck me as particularly profound and especially relevant to me at this point in my life, wherein Manning is commenting on Paul’s statement to the believers in Ephesus that they’ve been saved by grace through faith (see Eph. 2:8-10).
By grace through faith.
Surely you’ve heard the phrase tossed around in Evangelical conversation. But what does it really mean? Manning does a wonderful job of unpacking it, explaining that it takes a great amount of faith (that is, the kind of belief that requires a certain degree of blind trust) in order to inherit the joy and liberation of the Gospel. Faith is required because believing that we have been made righteous in God’s sight – once and for all and forever – despite the fact that we are hopeless slobs prone to the filth of our fallen nature, requires that we fight against our inner sense of justice and equality. The scales of Lady Justice are most certainly tipped in our favor, and this is not necessarily an easy thing to accept. Something in us wants to earn it. Our pride tells us that we are entitled to that which we’ve been blessed with, that we have the strength to reach the heights of moral virtue on the strength of our own iron willpower, that we are not in need of some sort of religious crutch, much less a Savior. The truth of Christ is beautiful, but it is also radical, scandalous, and deeply counter-intuitive. By grace through faith.
This is a truth I’m trying to get my mind around, and I think it’s a truth that every believer wrestles with, at least at some point or another. Something in our human nature seems unwilling to accept the free and undeserved gift of heaven’s grace. May we be reminded daily of the life-altering grace in which we stand, and find rest and peace in our Savior’s arms.