The other night I came home late, feeling tired and grumpy. The boys had already gone to bed and Ali was nearly asleep. I sat down to read in bed, still feeling tired and grumpy. I’d read only a few pages when Gabriel got up and stumbled, half asleep, into the bathroom to go potty. After he was done, he stumbled into my room, still half asleep, to give me a hug and a groggy smile. Hugging me, he rubbed my back gently, mumbled ‘I’m glad you’re home Daddy’ and then stumbled half asleep back to his room.
This week we continue our sermon series on ‘Christianity’s Dangerous Ideas’ with the familiar (tired?) debate over Grace vs Works. Typically, the argument via Paul gets framed in terms of our sinfulness and Christ’s awesomeness. There’s nothing we could ever do to earn God’s pardoning love. To think so only leads to more sin and a kind of idolatry. Instead we’re saved purely by the gift of what God has done in Jesus Christ, a gift we don’t deserve (grace) that we can respond to only by faith.
What I’m wondering in the wake of G’s gesture the other night is if the Grace vs Works dynamic need not apply only to God’s gift in Jesus but also all the other gifts God gives to us every day during the day and night: a child’s smile, a friend’s ear, just the right song on the radio when you need to hear it.
If so, then perhaps the reason we’re not, could never, be saved by our works is because if we thought so then we’d be so focused on ourselves that we’d stop looking for or noticing the gifts of God all around us.