Sticky Notes: Grace Is Sufficient

LOGICAL CONSISTENCY AND GRACE

Logical consistency would say that grace, by itself, does not make sense. We hardly have the capacity to fathom how to bring good reasoning to understand such a transcendent concept. The Bible states grace is “sufficient,” (2 Corinthians 12:9) yet, when we remove it from the context of spiritual parlance, we consider grace to be beyond human understanding (i.e., Beyond our ability to grasp how grace fits into “daily life” without the interjection of spiritual conversation). One could conclude that, according to logical consistency, grace makes sense of faith because it is beyond human understanding (i.e., Grace and faith are both beyond human understanding, yet they are both empirical, verifiable experiences by those who have been called by the Holy Spirit). Concordantly and simultaneously, grace is, in its transcendence, sufficient in that it brings us to Jesus in humility and surrender.

 CHRISTIANITY, FROM THE HEART

One of the more explicit signs of an authentic Christian transformation is expressed in the way a believer starts living (passionately ((i.e., with interest and purpose)) in the name of Jesus) and stops “moving stagnantly” (phlegmatically) through life; insofar as leaving behind the listless repetition and soulless boredom of faithless monotony; or less intensely, leaving behind the complacent life of “good enough.”

One of the most important lessons I learned during my stint of more intense spiritual questioning was how Christianity is not just some “hat” I wear, the countenance on my face, the church I attend, or the people I know; Christianity is either in my heart, from the heart, or it’s nothing and nowhere to be found. My faith, whether or not it makes logical sense (outside the argument by grace), only becomes a complete picture if it takes place in my heart first. 

Does that mean that faith wasn’t in my heart before my struggle? No, let me explain. What I am conveying is that for the past 8 years, I was trying to be Christian, instead of receiving my faith organically (through the spirit) and being reshaped (through complete surrender) from the inside out. I was still lost in the mode of earning my place in the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than receiving the invitation through Christ’s humility, compassion, surrender, boldness, and sacrifice on the cross.

HUMBLED BEYOND UNDERSTANDING

I’ve always been a “nice guy” to people. But there are a LOT of nice atheists in this world. There are also a lot of nice people who don’t even know what they believe. They are remiss to the idea of faith and destitute of the riches of unconditional love spawning from its seed. Faith instigates inner change, permanently. Once Christ penetrates the heart, the invitation extended, the heart is gently but intractably humbled beyond understanding (logic gets lost in the dark as the peace of grace overwhelms the spirit). Immediately, logic demands to understand how the dots were connected through the mystery of grace. Logic, however, will be disappointed to no end until it realizes the root of its desire to understand grace is pride (i.e., “Why can’t I understand this! It must make sense, or it isn’t real!”).

From the past two months, I understand more clearly now why logic doesn’t need to make sense of grace in order for faith to be fully functional: Grace is the internal movement (response/effect) of the outer action (cause) of mercy: While we deserve to be punished (justice for sin), God gives us grace instead of tortureThere isn’t an invitation into humility like this found anywhere else in history or in any other book. Yet this is the invitation—(the “Good News”) not to earn our way to Heaven, but to be transformed (revived, restored, renewed, reborn) through receiving Christ and to respond by living a different life in awe/praise/worship/surrender/love of the God who extended this mercy to us through the selfless sacrifice of His Son.

HAND OVER HAND: GRACE FOR LOGIC

What makes sense to me now that didn’t before are the operative machinations of grace; how humility feels in differentiation to believing one requires logical consistency to connect the “spiritual dots.” Logic can act practically, such as aiding a person in understanding the importance of attending church (community and glorifying God with others, not obligation); it can explain the reasons for having a balanced life of prayer, supplication, surrender, time set aside for prayer, and making God number one—but only grace could create the space for the surrender (whereas logic can only “make sense of,” or intellectualize the reason for these steps/lifestyle decisions, it cannot move us towards or within their essence—which is to bring us closer to God) to occur—not logic. For solid Christians (i.e., Believers who have been pursuing their faith for long enough that there is an “absolute-ness” to it; it has become their essence, not another ritualistic facet of their week), this is 2 + 2; for me, it’s fresh, new, and helpful. This realization took me out of my quest for logical consistency to define my faith and into understanding the importance of humility through the acceptance of grace in my heart. These are, of course, no easy truths to unravel if you’re depending on the brain to pave the path towards understanding faith.

REVITALIZED THROUGH THE SPIRIT

The spirit is not driven by thought (logic), the spirit is moved from the ‘heart’—that is, a persons’s life force—which is connected to the spirit (the spirit—which is connected to the Holy Spirit once it is called by the grace of Jesus through the Spirit). If we can receive this truth, then we can surrender our propensity to have logical consistency take the reins and instead, receive the free-flow of the spirit as it moves through us from within.

Logic can and should be used as a complement to faith, but not as a pillar, cornerstone, or explanation for faith. Grace initiates, surrender follows, the spirit rebirths (revitalizes), and the body (flesh/brain) experiences the overflow (Empirical Adequacy: the inner-working of the Spirit’s movement inside us, existing as the experience verifiably considered “proof” or “evidence” for faith in something ((namely God/Jesus)) beyond our understanding/logic).

I like the saying, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience,” because with regards to logical consistency, this makes sense of our experience with Jesus, faith, and logic. We want to make sense of having faith in what we can’t logically explain, but in receiving grace, logic is abdicated as it is humbled into a new role. We could call this “abdication” a miracle, because it, too, is beyond our understanding. Grace opens our eyes (removes the “veil” of ‘spiritual blindness’) to a plane of possibility logic cannot comprehend—in turn, permitting our logic to learn to depend on humility and the ‘pull’ of the Holy Spirit, rather than the brain-induced need for logic to make sense of it all. 

RESTORATION, AND EMANATING JESUS

Why am I a Christian? A very close friend asked me this; not as a test, but as a means of having me introspect my faith. I am a Christian because I’d rather give all that I am to the cause of Jesus than to any other cause. What is His cause? Restoration/perfection. Out of love, He wants to rebuild our spirits with perfection and eternality. Never leaving us the same, He desires completion for us on our own behalf. He knows what completion is because He is the very epitome of completion. This is the humbling aspect of Christ: Not only did He die for us while we were still sinners, but He did so when He was not lacking. He wanted to create us as an outworking of His love so we would be able to experience His essence. There was no reward for Him in this decision—it was entirely unconditional and selfless. He simply wants us to experience HIM, but we must put into practice what it means to be a Christ-follower: Loving our neighbor as ourselves; loving God with all of our mind, heart, soul, and strength by changing our lives (in practical, visible, noticeable ways) in response. We are disciples if we love in His name, if we turn from our old ways upon receiving the Good News that we no longer need to be bound to sin through the past (shame), and that we can be freed to live for Him who saved us while we were still choosing anything but Him.

Yes, I want Jesus to be God; I want Him to be my Lord. There is no other so captivating as He who saved me with His undying love while I did nothing but exist. 

BEYOND TRANSIENCE: FULFILLMENT

If we turn away from Jesus, we know exactly what happens: Nothing. But are we afraid of what will happen if we give Him a chance? Do we grow skeptical that a life of Christ-following means boring church services and obligatory prayer sessions? If this was what Christianity really was, I would still be an atheist. But Jesus is real, and the way I know this is how my heart has been moved by Him. My “spiritual heart,” of course. Metaphorical or not, I have felt Him move; there’s no denying His movement in my life and the lives of others around me. There is clearly a God who created this planet for us in advance to survive, and we are only hurting our fulfillment of a complete life if we choose to believe that this beautiful transience was made for nothing more than aesthetics; that our very sense of purpose is really a meaningless hole left to be unfilled by the empty desires of nihilism. 

LOGIC’S “STICKY NOTES”

No longer do I find myself perusing the walls of logical consistency for the answers to the drawn-out battle of understanding faith. I invite my readers to consider the importance of the role logic plays in our relationship with faith. Rather than viewing logic as a foundation to faith, logic must remain a footstool to gather information in order to bring the investigation full circle; meaning, back to faith. Faith must be the root while logic merely acts as a note-taker. Using logic in this manner calls grace to do the work in our spirits, whereas utilizing logic for more than this forces us to depend on our “sticky notes” for understanding faith in full. We already know why this doesn’t work: If logic’s “sticky notes” are meant to help us understand faith in full, then grace has no significance, and without grace, we are forgiving ourselves from within our own sin. That simply doesn’t work, especially according to logical consistency; one cannot commit sin (unknowingly) and have the omniscient capacity necessary to denote what is sinful—concordantly requiring justice and effectively implementing it. This does not add up whatsoever, rescinding its own argument in the process. No, logic must remain the footstool while grace remains our conduit of understanding the path of humility we are called into by the spirit. With this, we understandably remove grace from Logic’s hands and place it back into the Spirit’s. Logic, with its sticky notes, will be just fine. Grace is sufficient on its own.

LET’S CONNECT

If you resonated with this article and would like to read more, please follow this blog, and please share this with anyone. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog 2017, Twitter at LPBlog2017, Instagram at LPBlog2017, Pinterest at Lance Price Blog 2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. Feel free to leave your thoughts or any questions you may have in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you. God bless you, readers!

Believe

Author: Lance Price Blog 2017

Something I’ve loved to do since I was in High School is write. What starting off as as merely poetry transitioned into a more serious passion. Now, as a blogger, I want my writing to help people understand themselves, others, and Jesus in fresh ways that maybe they hadn’t understood before. My sincerest hope is that my writing will be an inspiration, and a means of encouragement for those who are going through a hard time—whether it be related to trauma, spiritual crisis, or an issue regarding family/divorce and relationships. I also mean for my articles to act as a boost of confidence for those who are already riding the waves of optimism, joy, and hope. You'll also notice my new "Movie Reviews" page, which will be made up of my movie critiques. Though these are not the same as my blog posts in the sense that they are not Jesus-based but movie-based, I will still review films from an open-minded Christian standpoint. Above all else, as a Christ follower, I hope my faith will permeate the words of my articles and encourage others to follow the Lord of salvation, love, grace, mercy, empowerment, forgiveness, and eternal life. I hope the very best comes from reading what I write and that these goals are met through the hearts of readers being challenged and changed for the best. Thank you for reading!

7 thoughts on “Sticky Notes: Grace Is Sufficient”

  1. Beautiful testimony, Lance. I think that faith in most things requires a suspension of logic on some level. I’d rather let grace be “sufficient on its own,” than need answers to things beyond my understanding. Faith supplements grace. Faith opens the door, grace does the work. 🙂 Thanks for sharing today, Lance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “One of the more explicit signs of an authentic Christian transformation…”
    Lance, is there a difference between a “Christian transformation” and an “authentic Christian transformation”? The point of my question is – why do you find it necessary to add the qualifier “authentic”?

    “… leaving behind the listless repetition and soulless boredom of faithless monotony…”
    Just curious – is this how you view the lives of non believers? Is this description how you view my life, as an atheist? Just curious 🙂

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    1. Ah, yes–you may have read in a nearby paragraph that I explain I was “trying to be Christian” rather than “receiving” my faith from the spirit. It’s “trying” version “being,” and the authenticity comes with receiving, my friend. 🙂

      I had a feeling that statement may stand out to you. 😉 I don’t mean any harm, of course. What I mean to say is that faithlessness is blindness. To look at our world and literally deny all possibility of something beyond ourselves (if not God, then spirituality itself), I think we’re fooling ourselves, honesty. I think those who live that way bore themselves (I did when I was an atheist) with our repetition, and it become, yes–“monotonous.” You wrote before that you don’t feel much joy in life, yes? (How do you view your life with regards to joy, Bob?) The difference in the Christian faith is that even in our sorrows, there is joy in Christ. How? Restoration and hope. I’m not sure how else to explain it except to provide practical examples, which I could. Of course, these concepts will seem a bit far-fetched from strictly logical standpoint, Bob. I’m going to ask you to try to broaden your scope of receiving my response, since you know I’m not speaking from logic, but from faith in something beyond that of logic.
      Thank you for your comments, Bob. Always. 🙂

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  3. “…the authenticity comes with receiving…”
    OK, that makes sense. I have often confronted Christians when they inform me that I was never a “True Christian” when I tell them that I am a former Christian. My response is usually similar to what I asked you – what’s the difference between a “Christian” and a “True Christian” 🙂
    .
    “What I mean to say is that faithlessness is blindness.”
    I would say that “faithlessness”, in terms of religious faith, is just that…faithlessness. My lack of religious faith does not hamper (blind) my perception in the slightest.
    .
    “To look at our world and literally deny all possibility of something beyond ourselves (if not God, then spirituality itself), I think we’re fooling ourselves, honesty.”
    Lance – have I ever said in any of my emails that I “deny all possibility” of what you are proposing? Personally, I don’t deny the possibility of a God. As for “spirituality”, I don’t know what that means without a definition.
    .
    “I think those who live that way bore themselves (I did when I was an atheist)…”
    As an atheist, I am not bored.
    .
    “You wrote before that you don’t feel much joy in life, yes? (How do you view your life with regards to joy, Bob?)”
    Joy is an emotion – a response – a “feeling”. Correct, I probably said I don’t feel “joy” much. I do feel happiness, sadness, discouragement, excitement, fear, etc, all those feelings that most atheists AND most Christians feel from time to time. Sometimes those feelings are intense, sometimes just momentary. I am just one atheist. You are just one Christian. Do you really think you can establish a base-line for comparing how “joyful” Christians are compared to atheists…just by asking me (one atheist) if I experience joy?
    .
    “The difference in the Christian faith is that even in our sorrows, there is joy in Christ.”
    Lance, who are you speaking for? “…even in OUR sorrows…”? You do know that there are some very sad Christians, don’t you? Some even to the point of suicide. From an article from Christianity Today – (April 2013) “Sadly, suicide occurs among Christians at essentially the same rate as non-Christians.”
    “Joy in Christ”???? Your faith may give you license to ignore this fact, but my logic forces me to take note. I can’t ignore the fact that Christians are no more “joyful” than non Christians, regardless of how you “feel” or how I “feel” at times.
    .
    “Bob. I’m going to ask you to try to broaden your scope of receiving my response, since you know I’m not speaking from logic, but from faith in something beyond that of logic.”
    OK – I think that is a fair request. So, if Mormon came to you and made the same request…? How about a Jehovah’s Witness or a Scientologist? Do you have any problem simply suspending your logical thinking capacities long enough to actually consider that they may have the truth…that what you believe may be false…incorrect…a lie?
    .
    Lance, you don’t have to respond unless you really want to. We have hashed this all out before. I know that most Christians would really much rather talk to other Christians than to be drawn into a dialogue with the opposition 🙂
    I’ll just leave you with these:

    The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.
    ~ Antisthenes

    The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.
    ~ Delos McKown
    .
    r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

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    1. I’m glad at least the first explanation I gave made sense. 🙂

      “I would say that “faithlessness”, in terms of religious faith, is just that…faithlessness. My lack of religious faith does not hamper (blind) my perception in the slightest.” I must say Bob, a blind man cannot see what he does not see, right? Meaning, how can you know what you’re blind to if you can’t see it? Only the Holy Spirit can show us out of spiritual blindness. That’s all I know to say about this.

      “Lance – have I ever said in any of my emails that I “deny all possibility” of what you are proposing? Personally, I don’t deny the possibility of a God. As for “spirituality”, I don’t know what that means without a definition.” Thanks for clarifying your thoughts on this. ‘Spirituality’ is, perhaps in more layman’s terms, belief in ‘otherworldly-ness’. It is the generalized sense that there is more to this plane of existence than just us as humans or even our consciousness. Spirituality is extremely generalized—everything else tends to fall into this, whether faith, religion, or “New Age,” I believe many people would consider this umbrella to be “spirituality.” But feel free not to take my word for it; I am not a spiritual dictionary ;).

      I’m glad you’re not bored, Bob. Perhaps I should have written that differently. Not to say that all unbelievers are bored, but to say that the reason unbelievers do what they do has nothing to with eternity, whereas a believer’s plans and executions of those plans tends to involve that which they believe ultimately impacts life outside of this existence and this world. The “boredom” refers to the limitedness of the scope of the unbeliever. While you may not be bored, the way you see your life has a perimeter—this world and this world alone, and for the believer, this is just the beginning. In this sense, there is more to consider, and that is the part that would be “not boring” for the believer. I hope that helps clarify a bit.

      No, I do not think I can establish anything affirmative through one atheist or Christian. But I’m not trying to establish anything, Bob. What I’m saying is that the joy of the average Christian (who takes their faith more seriously than the “ritualistic facet of their week”) experiences a different depth of joy than the unbeliever, who experiences joy within the context of this world, and this world alone.

      I agree about the Christian sorrows. I will not write on this here solely because there is far too much content to cover and answer in one paragraph. But I will say that Christian joy is different because it is rooted in Christ (eternity) and not in one’s circumstances, and that when joy is rooted in our circumstances, it’s not surprising when sorrow becomes unbearable, possibly leading one to thoughts of suicide.

      That’s true, I should be able to broaden myself to anyone outside of myself as well, and who says I don’t? I just visited a Buddhist monk temple last Sunday for my first time to experience their environment. Would I have done so if I were closed off to everything other than Christianity? I am very open, Bob, but I do believe in Jesus as Lord, and that is that.

      I hope these words form some more clarify for you, Bob. It’s a pleasure to meet you where you are and hopefully provide some form of food for thought you may have not found before. God bless you, friend.

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  4. “I must say Bob, a blind man cannot see what he does not see, right? Meaning, how can you know what you’re blind to if you can’t see it? Only the Holy Spirit can show us out of spiritual blindness.”
    What is it that you can see (perceive) that I can not? If you and I were having a discussion face to face, and you didn’t know I was an atheist, do you think that I could fool you into thinking I was a Christian? I’ll bet you that I could. If you and I were to then bow our heads and pray, I guarantee you that you would think I pray every day rather than haven’t prayed once in more than 15 years. I bet I could go into any Baptist church in my county and visit with any deacon or minister and in minutes they would believe I was a Christian.
    The reason I could do this is not because I am some master of deception (I am very honest and would find it difficult to lie), but because I am confident that Christians are not in possession of any special powers of perception granted by a supernatural being. Why am I so confident – because they don’t behave as if they had these special powers – they behave just like everyone else.

    ‘Spirituality’ is … the generalized sense that there is more to this plane of existence than just us as humans or even our consciousness.”
    While I don’t find any evidence for this, I am open to being convinced that there is more…

    “…the reason unbelievers do what they do has nothing to with eternity…”
    I completely agree with this description, but only for myself…as a non believer. I am pretty confident that none of my current plans or actions will be remembered, or have any impact on anyone 100 years from now, let alone a supposed “eternity” – BUT – I am open to being convinced otherwise.

    “…whereas a believer’s plans and executions of those plans tends to involve that which they believe ultimately impacts life outside of this existence and this world.”
    Again, it seems like you are taking liberties and speaking for millions of people that you do not know – “BELIEVERS”. I have met a lot of believers, and I see very, very little difference in how they live their life compared to how I live mine – other than what they do on some Sunday’s. Sure, they believe in one other God than I do…if that’s the “plans and executions of those plans” that you are talking about…

    “I am very open, Bob, but I do believe in Jesus as Lord, and that is that.”
    Perhaps I am not reading this statement correctly, but it just seems that the first four words and the last four words are in very deep conflict with each other. It looks like you are saying…”I am very open minded about everything EXCEPT the things I believe about Jesus.”…which of course, is really the only thing we are talking about. So, in other words…”Bob, I can be persuaded about most anything except the very subject of our discussion.”

    Anyway – RATS! – I have come down with a bad head-cold and need to drink a cup of coffee and rest. A pleasure chatting with you Lance – as always.

    bob
    ps – I am to wore out to proof read, so forgive any of my many mistakes.

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