Grace Embodied

Baptist Hui Workshop, Dunedin, 5 November 2016.
Myk Habets, Lecturer in Systematic Theology, Carey Theological College This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Andrew Picard, Lecturer in Systematic & Practical Theology, Carey Theological College This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

This panel workshop focused on the theme of Grace Embodied. It was not recorded. Here we provide two Discussion and Question Guides:

1) Myk Habets has provided a summary of the theme, some Bible texts to engage with, and some questions.

PDF icon Download a PDF of the Myk Habets Discussion Guide & Questions for use in small groups.

 

 2) Andrew Picard has put together a resource based on the John 1.14-18 text he talked about in Session #1.

PDF icon Download a PDF of the Andrew Picard Discussion Guide & Questions for use in small groups.

 

Click here to see the complete list of Grace talks.


Discussion Guide & Questions
for Leaders and Small Groups #1

Summary (Myk Habets)

“God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense” = Grace. Yes, indeed; but the subjective effects of grace may sometimes seem to make God’s grace an independent virtue, a ‘thing’ possessed by the believer. But if we look closer and pay more attention to the context we see that these are rather references to the operations of the ‘Spirit of grace,’ as Heb. 10.29 says. The Spirit of Christ. “Ultimately, grace is God providing for people who cannot provide for themselves.” But what has God provided? What is the great gift to which the word ‘grace’ acts as a partial definition? Ultimately, when you follow grace all the way up, you get to Jesus Christ. Untimely grace is Jesus Christ! When we limit grace to a concept, or to a slogan, or even to an ideal human character trait, or even, dare I say it, to a feature of God but, a feature we think of as something God possess but not something God is—then, good friends—we have not understood grace, and we have not embodied grace. If we follow the biblical teaching all the way up we realise that God does not simply give us things like mercy, and goodness, and grace, God gives us himself. Grace is a gift and one which is never to be detached from the giver, God in Jesus Christ. We find that what is so amazing about grace is that Grace is Jesus, for there is no other gift from the Father besides his Son. Grace is God’s personal self-impartation. Grace is Jesus! We embody grace only to the extent that we are in Christ. And when we are found in Christ we realise that all of grace does not imply nothing of me. All of grace implies all of me.

Bible Readings

  • Acts 4:33 (and 11:23; 13:43; Rom. 5:21)

  • Heb. 10.29

  • Exodus 34:6–7

  • John 1.16-18

  • Titus 2.11-14

  • Philippians 2:5-11

Questions

  1. What hinders the embodiment of Grace?

  2. What encourages the embodiment of Grace?

  3. How can we become the Gospel?

  4. What might it look like to be a community of the Gospel as opposed to a community which talks about the Gospel?

  5. Does my life embody the story of Christ on the cross? Can people see in me someone marked by God’s radical generosity? 

  6. How is the Gospel, and how are communities of the Gospel, inherently missional?


Discussion Guide & Questions
for Leaders and Small Groups #2

John 1.14-18 (Andrew Picard)

At the heart of the Christian faith is astonishment, amazment and worship at the gracious generosity of God who has taken up our cause in Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ, God humbles himself and goes on a journey into the far country, into the strange land of human sinfulness and disobedience, to take our predicament to himself. In the far country, God gives himself to humanity and embraces our lost condition. Whilst God gives himself to us, he does not give himself away. God embraces the strange land of human disobedience, but he never becomes a stranger to himself. God is not overwhemled by our sinfulness because he is the Lord. Instead our sinfulness is overwhelmed by his mercy and grace as he does for us that which we could not do for oursleves – to live obediently in response to God’s love. Through the Spirit’s power, the Son offers obedient human life in response to the Father on our behalf. In Christ and by the Spirit’s power, God draws humanity back to himself by means of himself. In doing so, God reveals himself to be the God who is for us, even in our rebellion from him. In his freedom, God has chosen not to be God without us. Instead, God has freely determined to be God for us.

John’s account of the incarnation is that it is an act of redemption, however, it is not merely a rescue project to fix the mess that humans have made of things. After all, sin does not condition grace, grace conditions sin. John also portrays the incarnation as an act of creation. John’s use of “In the beginning...” (1:1) is clearly an echo of the Genesis account of creation and John reminds us that God is committed to his creation because he created it through the Word who is Jesus Christ. In the incarnation of Jesus Christ we find the Lord of creation who has returned to claim his own and liberate the creation to become what God intended it to be in Jesus Christ. Not only is the incarnation an act of salvation and creation, it is also an act of covenant faithfulness. John’s use of “grace and truth” (1:14) is an echo of God’s self-description that he gave to Moses at Mt Sinai: “The LORD, the LORD, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6). Likewise the promise of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling amongst us (literally ‘tabernacling’ amongst us) echoes the promised presence of God in the tabernacle (Ex. 33). The incarnation is not merely a rescue project in which God gives grace to recalcitrant sinners, it is more broadly the the faithful action of the gracious and merciful God who is, and has always been, committed to his creation and its creatures. The incarnation is an act of our gracious God who is “for us” even in, and especially in, our rejection of him. This “for us-ness” is the grace of God and the God of grace who we celebrate, and its radical mercy calls forth in us astonishment, amazement and worship.

Questions for Small Group Discussion:

  1. Do you believe that God, in his inner most being, is ‘for us’? Discuss why or why not.

  2. What difference does it make that sin does not condition grace, but grace conditions sin?

  3. What difference does it make for you to see the incarnation not only as an act of salvation, but also an act of creation and covenant? I.e. God’s grace is not situation specifc (fixing the mess humans have made of things), but part of who God is and always has been.

  4. If Jesus Christ has taken up our cause, by offering a faithful and obedient human response to God on our behalf, what is our response?

  5. What does it mean for us to live lives that are marked by amazement, astonishment and worship at the grace of God?


Click here to go to the complete list of Grace talks.

PDF icon

 Download a PDF of the Myk Habets Discussion Guide & Questions for use in small groups.

 

PDF icon

 Download a PDF of the Andrew Picard Discussion Guide & Questions for use in small groups.

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