As part of the continuing Spiritual and Ministry Formation discussion on understanding and living by grace rather than works, Learner is wrestling with author Jerry Bridges’ words on page 67 of his book, Transforming Grace:
“We need to remember that God has already been shown to be the exceedingly gracious and generous landowner. To realize that grace, all we must do is acknowledge we are not more than eleventh-hour workers.”
This phrase best describes the disconnect for Learner in understanding and living by grace. Unfortunately, he’s not sure knowing/recognizing it as such helps all that much.
In the past, Learner has been told by those who have loved him that he has an “entitlement complex” of sorts. The guy who once explained it best said that the story Learner seems to repeatedly believe about himself (i.e. who he is and what he thinks he deserves) somehow gives him permission to engage in behavior and thinking that does not always go along with who he really is (a Christian) and what he really deserve otherwise (hell).
Thus, his experience would back up Bridges’ theory that to live by grace involves changing how he views himself. But (and this is the frustrating part), he’s not sure he’s seen it work when he’s tried (and he supposes his trying is part of the problem, but he REALLY doesn’t get what the alternative is).
Part of the problem is people won’t let Learner confess how wretched he sometimes knows that he is because they themselves don’t or won’t believe it; part of it is that he thinks that he’s honestly just bored with the gospel as both a narrative and a motivator, and he’s not sure he’s experiencing it as reason and power to change. He says he knows he should, but he’s not sure he has, at least not to the extent that he dreams he might.
And yet, by God’s grace (he’s sure), he believes. “Go figure,” he says.