Yesterday I wrote about how our doctrine of grace effects our evangelistic efforts. In short, I suggested that we fail to teach and practice radical grace, and therefore we do not find people attracted to us and our message the way that Jesus did.
That phrase – “radical grace” – has been bothering me all day. Is there even such a thing as radical grace?
Christianity is unique among religions in that it does not teach men methods and actions that will result in spiritual reward. Christianity teaches that no man (or woman) can earn spiritual reward. Rather, Jesus Christ fully earned spiritual reward for us by his death and subsequent resurrection. In this sense, the idea of grace as a foundational principle is most clearly present in Christianity.
Grace has been traditionally defined as “unmerited favor,” but this definition seems pretty impotent compared to the reality to which it refers. Unmerited favor sounds like something nice, but not earth shattering. Grace is what allows murderers and adulterers and liars and egotists to reap the incredible reward of eternal life. Grace is what takes all the evil committed by all of mankind and places the debt for this sin on one sinless person who was in every regard God, himself. Grace is what remakes a fallen world ripped at the seams by disobedience and self-importance and establishes it anew as a world marked by peace, life, wholeness, and mutual love.
I suggest that there is no such thing as radical grace. There is only grace. To add the world radical suggests that there is some kind of grace that is not radical. But grace cannot be anything but radical. It is always un-earned. It is always life changing. It is always powerfully redemptive. So no – there is no radical grace. Grace is already radical enough.