Four Responses to Grace
From Luke 11:14-36. It’s pretty easy to see the two major negative responses to Jesus in this passage. Some accuse Him of casting out demons through satanic power. Others take a ‘prove-your-credentials’ approach. But if we look closely at this passage, we’ll see two others: apathetic neglect and nurtured reception, living in the light of grace.
Jesus demonstrated the absurdity of the satanic-power suggestion. Satan has invested significant resources in subduing men. He would not work against himself by casting out his own demons.
And Jesus has offered plenty of evidence that He is the messiah. And, according to John 10, He’s also plainly told the Pharisees Who He is. So continuing to demand signs is akin to the local department of motor vehicles being unsatisfied with your passport, your old license, your social security card, and a water bill in your name and now demanding that you show a High School yearbook photo. The irony is made even thicker by the fact that Jesus “knew their thoughts” and responded to them.
But there are two other responses in this passage that we should be aware of. Just as there were four soils in one Jesus’ parables, yet only one of those soils was “good”, so here there are four responses, but only one is good. We’ve seen outright rejection and spineless indecision. But we should also consider apathetic acceptance and nurtured grace.
Some benefit from the presence of the King, and yet never personalize the benefit or nurture the grace that is shown them. This has always been the case. Some people benefit by their connection with the covenant community, and yet the blessing turns to a curse because it is not combined with faith. (Hebrews 4:2). Many Israelites who did not know the Lord were delivered out of slavery and came through the Red Sea. Jesus uses the experience of a man freed from a demon to make the same point. If he does not fill the void left by his old master, he is in for a greater disaster in the end. Men were not made to be their own masters. That’s a delusion of the fall. And Satan and his demons love nothing more than such a deluded emptiness.
Living in the Light of Grace
So, there are three negative responses to the coming of the King. You can reject him. You can hesitate. And you can receive the benefits of His coming without actually receiving Him. But there is only one response that will lead to life. We not only put off the old man, we put on the new. We not only gain freedom from our old master, we swear fealty to our new Master. We embrace the gospel, not in one fitful moment of desperation, where we pray a “sinners prayer”. Rather, we embrace the gospel day by day, moment by moment. As you received Christ Jesus as Lord, so you must walk in Him.
It will do you no good to be surrounded by light if your eyes cannot see it. You must have your eyes changed. And then, with eyes wide open to the grace you’ve been shown, eradicating every corner of darkness in you … not through your own efforts of sheer willpower, but through reflecting on the wonder of the gospel, you will, yourself, be able to illuminate the path of others. Don’t take the grace you’ve been shown and hide it. Let the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ find your sins … all of them … and give you grace and peace.
Being in the Christian community is extremely important. None of us were meant to live the Christian life alone. We need one another, and the blessings of the community are vital. But apart from a living, personal faith in Christ, they do nothing but sweep an empty room and set it in order for Satan and his minions to take advantage. Don’t let that happen. Don’t be inoculated to the gospel through a little un-nurtured exposure to it. Inundate yourself with the grace of God, by living in the light of the gospel every day.