NEWS & NOTES
Grace is a terrible idea. More than any other book in the New Testament, James makes the point that God's rescue of lost people is not simply to make us feel okay about our failures. Much more, God's rescue is to sweep us up into the way and wisdom of Jesus. In other words, God's grace to us is not an idea. His grace to us is a person.
Grace is a terrible idea, because ideas cannot raise the dead. Ideas cannot make the blind see. Ideas cannot crack open stone hearts and fill them with love.
Only the person of Jesus can do those things. And James contends that Jesus is doing those things, if only we would receive him.
This Sunday, our church will begin a teaching series through the book of James. Throughout this study, our aim is to learn and practice the art of receiving Christ. How do we apprehend what God has already given to us in Jesus? How do we let his life and wisdom overtake our own?
I want to invite all of you at The Painted Door to join in pursuing answers to these important questions. One way you can do that is to read and study the book of James throughout your week. The more familiar you are with the book, the more it will come alive during our times of worship together.
For help in reading and understanding, the brilliant Bible scholar N.T. Wright has written a guide called James for Everyone. You can buy it online for about $10. And I commend it to you as both accessible and insightful. Wright will help you see things in the text that you otherwise might miss.
Choose one day each week to read a chapter of Wright's book and then read the corresponding section of James. As you do, ask yourself this question: What wisdom has God already given me that I could begin living in today?
- Pastor Mark
THIS COMING SUNDAY
GRACE IS A TERRIBLE IDEA
Pastor Mark Bergin
The book of James in the New Testament has one main theme: Live in the Wisdom of God. For James, wisdom is the manifestation of Christian maturity. It’s the sort of being that God means to rescue people into, because it’s the sort of being that Christ brought into the human story. In other words, Jesus lived his human life in divine wisdom, so that God could give that divine wisdom to his people. This is salvation, the receiving of the life and wisdom of Christ as our own. And James has much to say on the art of receiving that life. He is opposed to conceptions of salvation that do not give rise to wisdom, as though God’s grace were simply some abstract idea to make us feel better about our failures. No James says, God’s grace is Christ alive in us. Not an idea. But a person.
Click here to order James for Everyone.