Law and Grace
A while ago, the Chicago Cubs had a third baseman named Vance Law. Across the field, the Cubs had a first baseman named Mark Grace.
Even people like me with little experience on the baseball field can figure out that often the hardest play on the field is the throw from third to first base.
For many Christians, one of the hardest stages in faith development is realizing that God means for us to live by grace and not by law. If believing were simply a matter of doing the right things, the Christian faith might be easier, but would not hold as much opportunity for growth.
Like children who are able to make decisions for themselves, believers grow in their understanding of what God wants them to do and be. The story of Abraham is rich for believers who are struggling with the question of how far God’s promise can be trusted.
- What is your reaction to this statement: God did not honor Abraham with faith and promise because of any inherent goodness he possessed, but that God’s choice of Abraham as bearer of the covenant was a choice of God’s own sovereign will?
- Is faith a gift? If so, from whom? Or is faith something residing within us that is somehow awakened by God’s presence?
- What difference does what we believe about our faith’s origin make for us?
- Retell the story of God’s covenant with Abraham and Sarah. Neither Abraham nor Sarah had the ability to bring about the sign of the covenant which God promised. Yet the covenant was fulfilled. What does this say to you about the power and promise of God?
- Reflect on the central affirmation of the Christian faith; the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. How is what we are called to believe similar to what Abraham struggled with?
How Do I Act?
- Plan to begin one of these programs on faith in your church: a ministry with the hungry or the homeless, tutoring after school or child care for single parents. Are there people who have decided that you do not have the resources to do them? How can you help them see these ministries as acts of faith?
- Christians, Jews, and Moslems all claim Abraham as an ancestor in faith. If community opportunities exist, explore interfaith traditions among these groups to see what other beliefs we share.
- Pray each day this week for the work of interfaith agencies and ministries as they work toward greater understanding among God’s diverse humanity.
- Reflect privately about times you have been most assured of God’s presence in your life. What signs of the covenant promise exist in your own life or in the life of your church?