- Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible‘s astounding words about God‘s love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?
- Christians are not perfect, by any means, but they can be people made fully alive.
- Faith is not an insurance policy. Or as Eddie Askew suggests, maybe it is: insurance does not prevent accidents, but rather gives a secure base from which to face their consequences.
- God dispenses gifts, not wages. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us comes close to satisfying God’s requirements for a perfect life. If paid on the basis of fairness, we would all end up in hell… In the bottom line realm of ungrace, some workers deserve more than others; in the realm of grace the word ‘deserve’ does not even apply.
- We tend to think, ‘Life should be fair because God is fair.’ But God is not life. And if I confuse God with the physical reality of life – by expecting constant good health for example- then I set myself up for crashing disappointment.
- Grace, like water, flows to the lowest part.
- One who has been touched by grace will no longer look on those who stray as “those evil people” or “those poor people who need our help.” Nor must we search for signs of “loveworthiness.” Grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are.
- Grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us. Ask people what they must do to get to heaven and most reply, “Be good.” Jesus‘ stories contradict that answer. All we must do is cry, “Help!”
- Imperfection is the prerequisite for grace. Light only gets in through the cracks.
- When Jesus came to earth, demons recognized him, the sick flocked to him, and sinners doused his feet and head with perfume. Meanwhile he offended pious Jews with their strict preconceptions of what God should be like. Their rejection makes me wonder, could religious types be doing just the reverse now? Could we be perpetuating an image of Jesus that fits our pious expectations but does not match the person portrayed so vividly in the Gospels?
- God wants us to choose to love him freely, even when that choice involves pain, because we are committed to him, not to our own good feelings and rewards. He wants us to cleave to him, as Job did, even when we have every reason to deny him hotly.
- Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other.
- The solution to sin is not to impose an ever-stricter code of behaviour. It is to know God.
Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?