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What's the opposite of grace?

The opposite of grace is reciprocity.
You owe God nothing: Obligation isn't a part of grace. Love is, but not obligation.

The opposite of grace is pardon alone. 
The version of Christianity we have today is cruel: It amounts to pardon without palingenesis [i.e. regeneration].   [- Pull that puppy out at your next gathering and you're sure to impress. ] 

"Palin" means "again." "Genesis" means 'birth.' Grace without restoration is cruel; like releasing a man from prison without giving him new internal desires and capacities. Grace has gone beyond forgiveness (pardon) to giving the Christ-follower a new and supernaturally-good heart.

The opposite of grace is rationalization.
Rationalization and self-defense only inhibit our ability to receive.

The opposite of grace is self-improvement.  Growing into a new God-given goodness and radiance, yes.  Even professional mastery, yes.  But efforts at improving our core nature, no.  Why try to be loving when God has made you loving? 

New behaviors [outward signs of an inward renovation] will flow when we cooperate with God as he releases our new super-natural goodness. 

"When you clean the inside of the cup, the outside will also be clean."  - Jesus. 
[Behavior follows heart.]

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Reader Comments (4)

Interesting, but don't you think we need to put out effort (or am I missing the point). God gives us grace, but we have to choose to live it. It's a free gift - I agree. But for me, my meager human attempts at self improvement go hand in hand with the love and gifts God has given to me.

May 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Hi James. I do think that we need to choose grace, to choose the God-given resources of our new heart. God will never remove that choice from us.

However, choosing is different than white-knuckled striving, in which the focus unfortunately shifts from God's power and resources [including those he has placed within our new hearts] back onto us and our ability to make it work.

May 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterJim Robbins

Dear James and Jim, grateful for the post and thoughts. If I may comment that it seems white knuckles may be a sign of fear and a clinging to old ways ("can't put new wine in old skins" nor fill a cup that is already full - God wants ALL parts of us (renewal of heart and mind=soul) and will lovingly flush us out of every hide hole we take false refuge in....white knuckles may be an indication that there are fragments that have not yet been surrendered. He wants to make us whole and heal those "white knuckle" places and will do so provided we come to the place where we choose to surrender them at the foot of the cross and thereby receive versus trying to provide that which we can not, on our own, provide no matter how disciplined, strong willed, etc we are. We NEED Christ. We need to be DEPENDENT on Christ, this is why, (this has been revealed to me) the world has trained us from infancy that the goal of our development as human beings is to be independent. Dependance is a dirty word in western culture, the culture that is dominating the world. So to be independent means to be IN IN IN (there is no option to bold the in!!) A STATE OF DEPENDANCE ON THE WORLD vs to be DEPENDENT on Christ. As Shakespeare said, "to be or not to be, that is the question"!

love in Christ,

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterc.w.mason

Hi C.W.,

I would agree; dependence isn't taught in our culture because self-righteousness requires requires it. We often confuse maturity with independence.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbins

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