Grace is a double reflex. It is like the Olympic swimmer who at the same time as he touches the wall at the turn he pushes himself off the wall for the next length. When the Christian is welcomed into the Kingdom of God by God’s grace through the work of Christ, repentance and belief kick in, in the double reflex, and we kick back off to become grace givers.
Grace is the way into the Kingdom of God but it is so much more. It is the energy that fuels the energy to live the life of the Kingdom and it is the very constitution of the Kingdom. If we remember the parable Jesus taught about the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25: -
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
On the surface this could contradict grace as the way into the Kingdom. Surely this tells us that we get in through doing things for others. No! When we get Jesus’ context right we see this as the other side of the double reflex. This is the kicking off the wall into the next length. This is the constitution of grace that we now live. The marginalised don’t do anything to earn our response. This is Jesus explaining how to live as grace givers. It’s what a grace receiver does if the genuine double reflex of grace has occurred. If not. If we just hit the wall and stop then James has it right in his epistle; “faith without works is dead.”
John Mayer has a song called Love is A Verb.
“When you show me love
I don't need your words
Yeah love ain't a thing
Love is a verb
Love ain't a thing
Love is a verb”
Grace is a verb. It is an action word. In the genuine double reflex of grace the grace receiver becomes a grace giver. If grace doesn’t become a verb and we just hit the wall and stop then James has it right in his epistle; “faith without works is dead.”
We lived the grace we are blessed with
And loved as we have been loved
What would that look like in practice, not just thought?