Tuesday, April 26, 2005

An Interview...

What do you mean by “The Grace-Driven Life”?

“Well, I guess what I mean is, a life that is encompassed and infused by grace. Specifically, God’s grace, what is sometimes referred to as unmerited favor- and that grace is the power, the motivation, the root cause of all that happens in my life. Sometimes, or more likely, most of the time, I’m not even aware that His grace is driving and directing my life, but it’s there anyway- doing work in and around me that maneuvers me into a deeper intimacy with God by continually changing me to make me more like Jesus.”

You sound as if you have nothing to say about the process.

“I’m not sure I do.

“I know that’s an area that lots of people disagree on, but what I read in Scripture makes me think that I didn’t have any choice about getting saved, or being God’s child, or however you want to put it, and that I don’t have any choice about becoming conformed to the image of Christ. The Bible tells me that God knew me before I was created, every day of my life and every step I would take. It tells me that God created me to demonstrate His mercy, for His glory, and that the Spirit of God controls me. I am convinced that it is not up to me, and I am not convinced that I have much, if anything, to do with the process.”

So when the Bible says you are supposed to work out your salvation…

“I don’t believe that has anything to do with accomplishing or maintaining my salvation. I think it has more to do with believing my salvation- learning what God has already done to me and for me and in me- and getting it into my head and heart so that knowing, I can live out the truth of what already is.

“God has already accomplished my salvation. I don’t see or experience all of it yet- that won’t happen until we are face to face. And God must be responsible for maintaining my salvation- I know myself well enough to know that if I had to maintain some set of standards to stay saved, I wouldn’t have a chance. I know too well what I’m capable of. My only hope, and I believe the Bible says this, is that God will never let me go, will never allow anything to separate me from Him.”

Are you aware that some folks think “The Grace-Driven Life” is some sort of response to Rick Warren’s “The Purpose-Driven Life”?

“I suppose that’s inevitable, and I actually have to express my appreciation for his book, in that it helped me clarify some of my thinking. And I do think that it’s good and important to know God’s purpose for myself, for my life, but I think that’s just a piece of a bigger truth. Which is to know that Grace alone is the primary motivator of my life, whether I like it, or accept it.

“I prefer what I’ve learned from sources like John Glenn’s Alpha Series teaching and VCLI- as human beings we each have a need to have purpose in our lives. We were not designed to wander through life aimlessly. And God has provided each of His children a divine purpose- from the Church-wide, such as bringing glory to God, and being conformed to the image of Christ, to the specific details of how these are uniquely worked out in the daily life of each of us.

“But that purpose, along with needing to know that our lives are important, and needing to know that we have the ability to accomplish the purpose God has given us, is what makes up our personal significance. We need to know that our lives are significant somewhere in this world. That we have importance, and meaning, and adequacy. And the other half of that equation- that we are secure: loved, accepted, and forgiven.

“I believe our purpose falls into that context. And that our security and significance are only achieved through Grace.”