Charis | Notes

Preston Sprinkle. Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace For Us. David C. Cook, 2014. (192 pages)

 


NOTES


Foreword

Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. … Grace is one-way love– Paul Zahl

Grace is recklessly generous, uncomfortably promiscuous. … It is a liberating contradiction between what we deserve and what we get. Grace is unconditional acceptance given to an undeserving person by an unobligated giver. (10)

Preface

The Old Testament is a kaleidoscope of grace. And this book will admire its beauty. Genesis, Exodus, even Judges and Kings–they’re all greedy to be read by tired Christians seeking rest. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea–all singularly fixated upon God’s stubborn grace. The Old Testament is one thick, adventurous narrative of God’s reckless love toward unlovable people. Grace. Charis.

[via: It’s clear that the reference is to χαρις, but there are two concepts in the OT, חסד and חן to which this grace could refer.]

Charis

JESUS LOVES CANNIBALS

UNLEASHED

But grace has no leash. It’s untamed, unbound, and runs wild and free. (23)

…divine grace is more than leniency, more than allowing exceptions to a rule. (23)

Divine grace is God’s relentless and loving pursuit of His enemies, who are unthankful, unworthy, and unlovable. Grace is not just God’s ability to save sinners, but God’s stubborn delight in His enemies–yes, even the creepy ones. (24)

CHARIS

charis simply means “gift.” When we say “gift,” the ancients would have said “chairs.” (25)

The Old Testament is all about grace. You can’t understand grace apart from the Old Testament, and you can’t understand the Old Testament without understanding grace. If you read the Old Testament and aren’t kindled and confronted by the scandal of grace, then you need to go back and read it again. You missed it. (27)

Instead of reading the Bible morally, we should read it theologically. (28)

YOU CAN’T MAKE GOD LOVE YOU

2 Creator

TRANSCENDENCE

CRACKED MIRRORS

But what does the “image of God” mean? In what way do we reflect God? Above all, the image of God means that we have an exalted status above everything else in creation. (38)

GRACE IN THE GARDEN

If Genesis 1 emphasizes the transcendence of God, then Genesis 2 (specifically 2:4-25) highlights the intimacy of God. (39)

DIVINE MUD PIES

CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR

God creates (Gen. 1) and God relates (Gen. 2). Both are essential to God’s character. We can’t sacrifice either of these truths for the sake of the other. If we see God only as transcendent, God will seem cold and distant. And if we see God only as intimate, then we belittle (42) Him–making Him our friend but not our Lord. (43)

SEX BEFORE SEVEN

FREEDOM TO LOVE

3 Patriarch

SNAKE KILLER

Instead of squashing Adam and Eve or zapping them with lightning, Yahweh forgives them. (50)

[via: Where?]

ABRAHAM: FAITHFUL SAINT OR TROPHY OF GRACE?

GOD WALKS ALONE

UNILATERAL CHARIS

PORN STARS, PROSTITUTES, AND THE SCANDALOUS GRACE OF GOD

GENEALOGY OF GRACE

4 Tent

LOW AND DESPISED

ESTROGEN

DELIVERANCE

The Israelite slaves are freed from the clutches of oppression because God is moved with pity for His people. (68) … God’s power is released on account of His compassion, not Israel’s righteousness. (69)

HOLY TENT

WEDDING NIGHT AFFAIR

If God’s covenant with His people is like a marriage, then the Israelites are committing adultery on their wedding night. (72)

The chairs of God furiously pursues wicked people. Charis stubbornly delights in repugnant rebels. And God’s chairs moves Him to descend with joy into the tent so that He can be in an intimate relationship with His image-bearing–albeit calf-worshipping–masterpieces of creation: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exod. 40:34). (73)

| God’s presence–the “cloud of glory”–now resides with His people, and the smell of Eden wafts through the desert. (73)

JOURNEY BACK TO EDEN

The only times “work and keep” are used together in the Bible are in Eden (Gen. 2:15) and the tabernacle (for example, Num. 3:7-8). When you think of the tabernacle, you should think of Eden. (75)

The tabernacle is designed to represent the garden of Eden, the place where Creator and creation enjoyed harmonious fellowship, perfect relationship, utopian shalom. (75)

GOD IS ALWAYS DOING HIS DEVOTIONS

Grace is what compels God to find a stubborn delight in dwelling with calf-worshipping sinners who committed adultery on their wedding night. (76)

5 King

HOLY HOODLUMS

FROM EGYPT TO CANAAN

WARRIOR

GRACIOUS EVIL

IMMIGRANT

The story of Ruth should not be reduced to a Cinderella-like love story of a peasant who wins the heart of a prince. Neither should it be moralized. Though Ruth is a woman of excellence and seems to have a good heart, she’s not exactly a perfect model for girls to follow. I would never tell my daughter to soak herself in oil and snuggle up with her half-drunk relative in a barn. (Ruth 3:3-5). (88)

| Whatever Ruth and Boaz did that night is beside the point. (88)

MUSICIANS AND MONSTERS

FURIOUS FAVOR

For some reason we love to define people by the sin in their lives–even past sin in their lives–rather than by the grace that forgave it. (92)

6 Whore

SEX AND SALVATION

EZEKIEL 16 REMIXED

HOMESCHOOLED WHORE

It’s one thing to write a story about grace and quite another to embody grace by marrying a slut. (104)

HALF-PRICED WHORE

7 Tattoo

CARVED BY GRACE

GRACE: FROM DAVID TO EXILE

PROPHETS OF DOOM AND GLOOM AND GRACE

PRONE TO PURSUE

PLASTIC CHRISTIANS

CUTTING, STARVING, STRANGLING

GRACE EMBODIED

STARVING FOR GRACE

8 Manger

GRACE UNDER A BRIDGE

GRACE IN A FEEDING TROUGH

JOYFUL PAIN

KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LOSERS

JESUS TABERNACLED

HUMAN JOY, HUMAN PAIN

9 Thug

the Last Supper by Peter Howson

THE TWELVE THUGS

BULL IN A CHINA SHOP

ANGER MANAGEMENT

SUICIDE BOMBER

TRAITOR, THIEF, THUG

FRAT PARTY

CREEPY BAG LADY

CHARIS–THE STUFF THUGS ARE MADE OF

I think many Christians are willing to put up with social outcasts and misfits, but this isn’t grace. It’s tolerance. Where there’s no pursuit, no stubborn delight, there’s a superficial Christianese grace (“bless this food to our bodies”), but it’s not charis. God aggressively and delightfully values and uses thugs and misfits to build His glorious kingdom: abrasive, thickheaded people like Peter, hotheaded racists like James and John, violent brawlers and extortionists like Simon and Matthew, and mentally deranged bag ladies like Mary Magdalene. (158)

10 It Is Finished

AMISH GRACE

ENEMY LOVE

NAIL, CROWN, AND GLORY

IT IS FINISHED

REDEMPTION

Epilogue: Where Does Obedience Fit In?

HOW MUCH SIN CAN I GET AWAY WITH?

ENERGISM

The word energism was coined by the New Testament scholar John Barclay. He came up with it after studying Galatians 2:8, where Paul said that the same God who “worked [energesas] through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked [energesen] also through me for mine to the Gentiles.” The word worked translates the Greek word energeo, from which we get the word energy. Here, Paul talked about God working in and through Peter and Paul in their ministries. And in the very next verse, Paul described these same ministries in terms of “the grace that was given” to both Peter and himself. (177)

Energism, therefore, refers to God working in and through us to do His will. If we talk about obedience as our response to God–God does His part; now we do ours–this places too big of a wedge between God’s work and ours. When we get saved, we become united with Christ and indwelt by the Spirit, so that it’s impossible to untangle Christ’s empowering presence, the Spirit’s transformative work, and our own regenerated response to God. (177)

GRACE WORKS HARD

WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION

Energism. When you do something good, it’s because grace is working in you. When you obey, that’s grace doing its job. The instant that desire flares up in your soul to do a good deed, that’s grace too. Because grace doesn’t just park at salvation, get out, and hand you the keys. (179)

Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection don’t just take care of your past sins, giving you a fresh start. Rather, Christ’s work is the energy, the fuel, the ongoing power to do the impossible: render joyful obedience to your Creator. (180)

CLOTHED WITH CHRIST

ABIDE AND OBEY

THE VINEYARD

Our obedience doesn’t determine God’s love toward us, any more than grapes force the sun to pour out its heat upon the vine. It’s the sun’s heat (God’s love), the rich soil (Jesus’s death and resurrection), and the abundant water (the Spirit) that produce grapes. (184)

About VIA

www.kevinneuner.com

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