Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Grace of God

Check out this article by James A Fowler on the Grace of God.

Here is an excerpt:

Grace is essential to mankind, as it is the "interpenetration of the essence" of God in humanity. Twentieth century Swiss theologian, Karl Barth, has re-emphasized the personal, essential and Christocentric realities of God's grace, perhaps more than any other.

"God Himself, makes Himself the gift, offering Himself to fellowship with the other, and thus showing Himself in relation to the other to be the One who loves. ...Between the gracious God and him to whom He is gracious there must not be intruded the gnosticising conception of grace as a mediatorial sphere. Everything depends here on the immediacy of the relation and on the fact that the being and action of God, of whom we are thinking, is really God's essentialis proprietas and is understood as God Himself who, as He is Himself and acting according to His nature, is gracious."

"...grace is not merely a gift of God which He might give or not give, or an attribute which might be imputed to Him or not be imputed. No, grace is the very essence of the being of God. ...God Himself is in it. He reveals His very essence in this streaming forth of grace. this action He interposes no less and no other than Himself for us. ...In this action He is manifested in the whole majesty of His being. ...If we find and recognize and receive His grace, we find and recognize and receive no less and no other than Himself."

As God is illimitable, His action of grace is inexhaustible. Grace is not quantitative. It cannot be measured out in parts or quantities of blessings, virtues, fruits, etc. Grace is not something "that we can have more or less of."34 Thus we find such superlative adjectives used by Paul to describe grace: "abundance of grace" (Rom. 5:15,17,20; II Cor. 9:8; I Tim. 1:14), "sufficient grace" (II Cor. 12:9; 9;8), "surpassing riches of grace" (II Cor. 9:14; Eph. 1:7; 2:7). The infinite adequacy of God is expressed in grace. Grace is as complete as God Himself and expresses the quality of His own character.

God's every action is invested with the totality of His Being. Everything He does He does as everything He is. Everything He is is actuated in everything He does. Everything He does He does as Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Lord, Sanctifier, etc. He is not putting on different masks or costumes or persona to play different roles. God functions as Himself to express the totality of His own Being and character in grace, and that through the expression of Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ.

So far, pretty good stuff. What say you?


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