For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! [Romans 5:17] Jesus tells a story about how the kingdom of God is like a farmer who pays all his workers the same wage at the end of the day, regardless of how much they actually worked (Matthew 20:1-16). That sounds like strange economics to us, but it reveals something of this idea we call God's grace-gift.
Despite how we often talk about it, God’s grace does have “strings attached”. It’s a gift, to be sure, but it’s a gift that is personal and relational. Grace is a gift because its nothing we deserve or earn, but its costly because, at heart, grace is an invitation to relationship. And as we know, relationship has obligations, responsibilities and commitments.
As we begin this new year of teaching, we want to explore some of the deeper dimensions of grace, a reality we treasure and depend on. If we could call what we are participating in the “grace economy” of the church, then we are not simply the focus of God's charity; we are those in a relationship that is defined by God's incredible gift in Christ.
Economics, at some level, is about how life works, and how values are assigned. This series will explore the nature of how God's grace-gift redefines our ideas of value, freedom, cost and worth.
Series Scripture reading: consider a read through Jesus’ most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7; pay attention to how Jesus intends to transform the way we live.