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The Fruit of a Correct View of God’s Grace in Salvation

23 Sep

The psalms typically follow this pattern: telling the story of God’s triumphs despite his people’s unfaithfulness, leading to praise for God’s character and finally to the response of grateful obedience. I have often noticed that in settings where praise choruses are even taken from the psalms, it is a snippet and almost always excerpted from the second or third section without the first. Instead of starting with the Good News of God’s mighty acts, we start with our response: “I will praise you,” “I love you, Lord,” “I will serve you,” “I bow down and worship you,” etc. But this means that we are encouraging faith in faith, confidence in our own experience and praise, rather than faith in Christ as the amen to God’s promises. In other words, the part of the psalm that such examples illustrate is the reasonable service without the in view of God’s mercies. Rehearsing God’s deeds takes a back seat to expressing our zeal and commitment. This is to have the law without the gospel, lifting the reasonable service out of its native habitat of the story of redemption. For Paul, however, the service is now reasonable because it is the sensible response to the news we have heard.
If you are subjected week after week to a diet of “do more,” “be more authentic,” “live more transparently,” and “feel more,” you will eventually become like a prisoner who is forced into hard labor without adequate food. If you are regularly treated to the feast of God’s works and the zeal that consumed our Savior in the service of our redemption, the exhortations will no longer be an unreasonable burden but a guide to expressions of thanksgiving in which our gracious God delights.
Horton, M. (2008). Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (pp. 155–156). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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