Thursday, 25 June 2009

Community of repentance and grace

I find that people in church often fit into three categories.

In camp one is Mrs Legalism. Mrs Legalism appears very good. She knows her Bible well, is regular at church meetings and serves in the church. She will have high standards morally. When you speak to Mrs Legalism, you sometimes leave feeling inferior, more sinful than her, and slightly depressed. You feel you need to try harder.

In camp two sits Mr License. Mr License is good at showing that he is just a sinner. You might not see Mr License at church for a few weeks because he's had other stuff on. You sometimes hear people talking about something that Mr License has done, but you know he wouldn't mind because he doesn't really mind being a little bit naughty now and then. His quiet times are sporadic, at best. There's no chance of Mr License ever making you feel uncomfortable about your sin.

If we're honest, most of us can fit into one camp or the other lots of the time. We can also swing between the two, depending on what subject we're talking about.

But the third option is the best option.

Miss Repentant is in camp three. You know Miss Repentant isn't perfect. She doesn't pretend to get it right all the time. But you can't help thinking of Jesus when you talk to her. She's trying to change, and she hates her sin. But she loves Jesus, and he shines through her when she speaks. When you've talked to her, you want to become more like Jesus, as she is, because you know that it's all about what God's done for you, even though you deserve nothing

When church is honest but repentant, when it loves grace but hates sin, when it points to Jesus and not to itself, you know God's been at work.


Zac Wyse said...

Just catching up on my blog reading right now: great post! Your analysis is spot on. I would tend to land in the "Mrs Legalism" camp. I am still learning what it means to confront sin in others without communicating self-righteousness. Tim Chester's stuff on "communities of grace" is really helpful on this.

Scott Thomson said...

Yeah his communities of grace stuff is brilliant isn't it. That probably inspired this subconsciously, actually. I went along to his seminar track at New Word Alive which was brilliant!

I think I probably fit into the "Mrs Legalism" camp a lot of the time too.