Grace is Senseless, Irrational and Absurd
Faith in Christ is not just for people who seem to have it all together, who look for all the world as if they are having their “best life now” as they prance around on religious high horses—
Faith in Christ is for all of us, including those of us who are just slobs on the bus, trying to make our way home (to paraphrase the lyrics of a 1995 song by Joan Osborne, “What If God Was One of Us?”).
Christians of all ages, sizes, shapes and colors have been drugged into a stupor of thinking that good human behavior is the key to their relationship with God.
You may have heard about the person who was told their behavior had disqualified them from membership in a particular church —so in agony and heartfelt prayer the disqualified person who, according to religious authorities, had failed to make the grade, prayed to God.
The disqualified, disgraced and excommunicated person said, “They won’t let me come back to church to worship you.”
God said, “That’s okay, they won’t let me in either.”
God’s grace (and the gospel which announces God’s grace) is ludicrous and absurd—it’s senseless and irrational to those who define, experience and know God in religious terms.
The New Testament says we lose our lives and then we find them, the first will be last, the weak will be strong, that we walk by faith, not by sight, and that Jesus became poor that we might become rich.
Does that make sense, or does it sound senseless, irrational and absurd?
Christ-followers believe that God became a man, and that God is One and yet at the same time, He is Three—Father Son and Holy Spirit.
That doesn’t make sense! You want something that makes sense?
The laws of the old covenant make sense. The old covenant (a covenant of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience) makes perfect sense.
Trying to live a good life, trying to be good, trying to show up at the right time in the right place wearing the right clothing with the right look on our faces in order to earn God’s commendations and approval makes sense.
It makes sense that doing religious stuff, obeying and following and performing all religiously required and mandated rules, regulations and rituals will get your ticket punched for heaven.
And believe me, because that song and dance makes sense, Christ-less religion plays that tune, sings that song and marches to that drum beat— over and over again.
When God came to us, in the person of Jesus, we see him in the pages of the Gospels, in hand-to-hand combat with religious authorities. He’s not sitting in the front row of the synagogue, with all the religious wheels, nodding his head when performance-based religion is preached and explained.
In fact, the teachings of Jesus insist that when religion and its authorities and its followers stomp on the gas pedal of their virtuous deeds, invariably toxic gas comes out of their exhaust pipes, suffocating anyone close by.
The toxic gas of performance based religion that can be spewed even out of our own exhaust pipes can poison us—that toxic gas can lull us into a spiritual la-la land where we believe we have pleased and appeased God because of all of our good behavior.
The gospel of Christ—the gospel of God’s grace—comes along and proclaims the insane, ludicrous and absurd idea that one cannot rely on one’s own performance and one’s own behavior.
In fact the gospel says that living a life governed by law, by religion, by performance, by virtue and good deeds is absolutely opposed to the grace of God.
You can’t live by both law and grace—it’s one or the other. You either live your life governed by religious rules, regulations and restrictions—a reasonable religious life that convinces you that you can please and appease God…or you live by grace.
Grace is not for those who insist on following Jesus while dragging along all their religious honors, commendations and good works.
Grace is not for those who live by rules and seek to commend themselves to God on the basis of what they believe they deserve rather than taking the risk of absolutely following Jesus and living by the grace of God.