So at book club tonight one of the students raised a great question. She's stuggling with the apparent contridiction/tension between grace and works righteousness.
Now, my boy Dallas Willard would say that grace is opposed to earning, but not effort. Our conversation was sparked when I shared a paraphrase from Out of the Question, Into the Mystery by Leonard Sweet:
"Scripture tells the story of a God who was not afraid to get hands dirty in a relationship with us...the divine come-down was not complete until Jesus embodied the extent of God's deep love in his getting down and washing the disciples' feet- the dirtiest part of the human body. No first century rabbi other than Jesus ever washed his disciples' feet. It is impossible to wash feet without getting hands dirty and wet. Far too many of us are trying to keep our hands celan when the question at Judgement Day is going to be "Shoe me your hands. How dirty and wet are they?"
Man thats good!
So, she has been told in her Christian upbringing "There's nothing you can do to earn God's love" yet also, at youth group we're constantly emphasizing the way Jesus calls us to live and how we're created to "do good works". I understand her confusion, although thats not the right word.
I'd like to unpack this a little more over the next couple days. If anyone out there would like to talk about their views on the subject, that would be great!
The question is this: How are grace, faith, and works interwoven? (also to be considered: How does Christian docrtine reinforce these elements of life in Christ? What does scripture say about all this? How have the understanding of these words evolved over time?)
Good stuff I hope! More soon.