To grasp how grace shapes policies within our churches or ministries, we must embrace the whole truth about grace and the perspective and power that comes with it.
- Truth: We are saved by the power of God’s grace, not by keeping the law or good works. (Rom. 3:20-24; Eph. 1:7-8a; 2:8-9; Titus 2:11)
- But also True: We live as Christ-followers by the power of God’s grace. (Rom. 5:1-2; 15:10; Gal. 2:20-21; Col. 2:6; 2 Tim. 2:1-2; Titus 2:11-13)
- Truth: We are under grace, not the law, and should live like it. (Rom. 6:14; 11:6)
- But also True: Grace is not a license to do whatever we want. (Rom. 6:1-2, 15)
- Truth: God opposes legalism and the pride and hypocrisy that often accompanies it. (Matt. 23:1-29; James 4:6)
- But also True: God opposes licentiousness and the sin that accompanies it. (Rom. 6:14-18; Eph. 4:17-24)
The Total Truth Leads to Policies Shaped by Grace
Put the above realities about grace in the context of a Church Body and you soon see the need for policies to live in accordance with all those truths, not just the first one in each of the above sets of truth. As such, policies shaped by grace go beyond rules and regulations to that which truly helps.
1) We are sinners saved by grace and in need of the power of God’s on-going grace to live godly lives. Because of our own human tendencies that flow from our sin nature, we may not always live for the good of the whole but rather for self.
Policies should help promote Christ-like responses and enhance our lives together as a Body. The policies themselves and the way we enforce them should reflect our need for the power of God’s grace. Consequently, policies shaped by grace serve more as a guide and encouragement to spur us on to reach our potential in the Lord (Acts 20:32; Heb. 10:24), not to constrict and condemn.
2) Very possibly not all in our midst have received God’s gift of grace. They may not all be the scoffers referenced in 2 Peter 3:3. Some may truly be seekers but some may also be those Jesus described as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15), those who masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15).
Policies should help protect us from those who would pervert God’s grace (Jude 1:4) and the liabilities those immoralities bring. Policies shaped by grace provide a framework for protecting the true essence of life in Christ so we reflect Him to the world around us, not for differentiating us as a denomination or downgrading others.