“If we really believe the gospel we proclaim, we’ll be honest about our own beauty and brokenness, and the beautiful broken One will make Himself known to our neighbours through the chinks in our armour – and in theirs”
In September I wrote about The Furious Longing of God, by Brennan Manning, whose revelation expresses the mind-bending truth that Abba “loves us as we are not as we should be”. The full truth of course is that none of us are as we should be.
“All Is Grace” is a moving autobiographical account of Manning’s life including his deep struggle with alcohol addiction. The account is so transparent that it served to kindle again the fire of grace in my life. Sometimes this fire might simmer down in all of us to something more resembling a glowing ember, and so it needs the stoking of testimony and of revelation.
There are three absolute gems that I’d like to make a note of from the book and then let you hear/see a song I wrote and recorded earlier this year that gives a voice of worship to these glowing, but ignitable, embers of the fire of grace.
Gem One – “God Loves Us As We Are Not As We Should Be”
This inexhaustible phrase is a statement of truth that seeps through the human psyche only by faith. When it does, it begins to permeate all of our living as the reality of His unconditional love becomes our felt experience. I have been the kind of Christian who says that I believe in a love like this but who rarely feels it by personal experience. But this is changing – I am ‘Daddy’s little boy’ – period. Let us be aware of this sounding to us like a wooly emotional crutch for the weak or the ‘needy’. This is the gospel and, I’m convinced, the key to all of our living. As Mike Bickle says, “I am loved by God therefore I am profoundly successful”
Gem Two – “Gulping and Sipping”
In the foreward of the book, Philip Yancey refers to Manning’s ‘gulping of grace’ as his way of life. It caught my attention because all too often I know that my drinking (or receiving) of His grace is much more like a sipping. In Jesus, Abba has made provision for our constant gulping of these waters and we honour Him as we do so in every single minute of every hour of every day. We need to and He is glorified as we do. There is a tendency for all of us to default back to a surveying of our ‘track records’ or ‘current performances’ as the true indicator of our standing with God – there is something very strong within us that wants to be justifiable by ourselves not justified by a Saviour. We must resist this to grow in grace.
Gem Three – “Banana Peels and Fairy Tales”
Right at the end of the book, Manning highlights that this kind of grace will be like a ‘banana peel for the orthodox foot‘ and ‘a fairy tale for the grown up sensibility‘ – in other words, something that makes them fall on their butts or something that they reject as a made-up story. This makes me want to be neither orthodox or grown up! Why? Because I don’t want to waste my life sipping nervously or uncertainly from the infinite grace of Abba by labelling it as ‘cheap’ if I fall. Or wasting my life worrying about my weaknesses and all the while not experiencing the fulness of the Father’s love. It’s not cheap grace, says Manning, it’s free grace! Instead of a person who is gulping from grace being called a ‘cop out’ couldn’t we live increasingly with the understanding that when we do sin we have an Advocate in heaven interceding on our behalf and that, regardless, we have an Abba who loves us furiously? But God does mean that our gulping will result in our healing from sin (1 John 2:1).
“It’s Your Grace”
is a response from my life to the reality of being constantly touched and kept by grace every minute of every hour of every day that I’m alive. I’d like to think that if Brennan was to hear it that he’d worship Jesus along with me. I hope you will too.
© Nick Franks 2011
9 thoughts on “All Is Grace”
Grace has saved me, grace sustains me, it’s his grace that found me, his grace that keeps me…. Love it! Thanks for word-music-heart ministry brother. Let’s be gulping grace.
It’s amazing isn’t it! Help us take it in, Lord! Speak soon bro!
Just seen this on the same theme of His amazing love for sinners: http://christthetruth.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/he-rescued-me-because-he-delighted-in-me-repost/
Hey Nick Franks, had a spare few mins this afternoon so I scaned down you site and found this entry, I Love it! I did worship Jesus along with you! Your song was beautiful, loved the words (I’ve played it a few times, I’ll probably come back on your site just to play it again).
You are so right, living out of complete dependency in his Grace is the only way to go, It puts you in a constant state of thankfulness too which changes your whole perspective on life.
Grace isn’t just ‘not cheap’ it is so expensive it’s priceless! freely given, I Love Jesus.
Thanks for this post.
Please keep putting the love in your heart into song, God will do great things with it.
(sorry accidently logged on as my sister before) 🙂
Thank you, Ruth! Very kind of you to read/listen and comment! Grace, grace, grace, grace…He loves us because He loves us, because He loves us, because He loves us….
Reblogged this on Firebrand and commented:
Having recently revisited this blog for a sermon on Sunday about ‘Grace’, I thought it might encourage you to engage with with the Person of Grace again. He’s our Constant help in times of need!
I know this sounds like advertising [which is a bad thing I’ve heard] but I must say it anyway since you are a full-bore Christian – like me. You can do as you see fit with it. Delete it at this point now if you wish. Anyway; here it is…..
I wrote a page about who I am and I’d really like you to read it. It’s called “Who Am I?” and it tells more about who I am and a quick synopsis of my life. I would especially like you – as a like-minded Christian like me – to read it. I have seen Jesus, as fully in the flesh as one can get – one world to another. There are 2 “Pages” on top that tell the story of how I met Him in 1982. Also there is a page about feeding finches that really deepened my faith in God & Jesus.
Hi there, thanks for your comment and thanks for reading my blog – I would love to read yours.
Cheers and God bless