[excerpt from Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace?, p.189-90]
Would a groom on his wedding night hold the following conversation with his bride? “Honey, I love you so much, and I’m eager to spend my life with you. But I need to work out a few details. Now that we’re married, how far can I go with other women? Can I sleep with them? Kiss them? You don’t mind a few affairs now and then, do you? I know it might hurt you, but just think of all the opportunities you’ll have to forgive me after I betray you!”
To such a Don Juan the only reasonable response is a slap in the face and a “God forbid!” Obviously, he does not understand the first thing about love.
Similarly, if we approach God with a “What can I get away with?” attitude, it proves we do not grasp what God has in mind for us. God wants something far beyond the relationship I might have with a slave master, who will enforce my obedience with a whip. God is not a boss or a business manager or a magic genie to serve at our command.
Indeed, God wants something more intimate than the closest relationship on earth, the lifetime bond between a man and a woman. What God wants is not a good performance, but my heart. I do “good works” for my wife not in order to earn credit but to express my love for her. Likewise, God wants me to serve “in the new way of the Spirit”: not out of compulsion but out of desire. “Discipleship,” says Clifford Williams, “simply means the life which springs from grace.”
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I thank God for writers like Yancey for putting abstract concepts into comprehensive sentences, and for not passing over the questions that are so vital to a vibrant and wholesome faith, the little ‘holes’ that tend to get overlooked when preaching from the pulpit.