I was introduced to John Mark Comer maybe a year or so ago through his podcast with Mark Sayers, This Cultural Moment. My sense is that Comer and Sayers really have their finger on the “cultural moment” we currently find ourselves in as citizens of the Western, and American, setting. Western Europe is already there, and has been for a long time. Some major urban metropolitan areas of the US are also. But more and more, we are emerging as a postmodern, post-Christian context in America, though places like the Bible Belt where I reside are white-knuckling to hold on to a “Christianized” past. Their podcast has been so good that I now have my students listen to it in courses related to mission and ministry.
With that, not too long ago, I picked up John Mark Comer’s recent book Live No Lies. He also has a podcast connected to the book as well.
The focus of the book is how to properly recognize and resist the three enemies of the soul – the world, the flesh, and the devil. I know, I know. Sounds fundamentalist, doesn’t it. Preaching against those wicked enemies.
When many Christians read the Bible, it is possible that an underlying notion exists that the Old Testament presents a different picture of our God than that of the New Testament. Not wholly different altogether, but different nonetheless. God expresses His judgment and wrath in an overwhelming sense, whereas, in the New Testament, He is shown as a much more gracious and loving Father. Or so it goes.
And we might read passages like John 1:16-17 and believe it helps underline this thinking:
16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
But I want to suggest to us that our God, as revealed in the old covenant, is full of grace, mercy and love. Of course, Jesus is the greatest expression of God’s love and grace, the exact representation. He is grace and love incarnate. But our God has always been a God full of ferocious chesed and agape from the beginning. And He has always been a just God as well, though I would argue His justice is about making things right, which becomes good news for believers, but bad news for non-believers.
And so, in Genesis 3, maybe the great black mark for humanity, where our first parents ruined it for us all, I still believe we can find great expressions of God’s grace even in the midst of pronouncements of judgment.
Let me suggest 6 points of grace: Continue reading