…women much like this prostitute fled toward Jesus, not away from him. The worse a person felt about herself, the more likely she saw Jesus as a refuge. Has the church lost that gift? —Philip Yancey
In Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing about Grace? he recounts a story about C. S. Lewis:
During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith.
They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death.
The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions.
Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.” After some discussion, the other scholars agreed.
The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, and Muslim code of law—each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.
Real grace is always a little and maybe a lot scandalous.
If we (and our churches) aren’t regularly accused of being too gracious, too loose, too accepting, too free… it’s a sign that we have moved from grace toward salvation by works.
Real grace sounds too good to be true
and it always amazes those who receive it.