Grace Always Comes as a Contradiction
God’s grace always, always, always comes as a contradiction to what makes natural sense to us–it always comes as a but, not a therefore.
The wages of sin is death…BUT the gift of God is eternal life. (Rom. 6)
We were dead in our trespasses and sin…BUT God made us alive. (Eph. 2)
By works of the law no flesh will be justified before God…BUT now the righteousness of God has been revealed…(Rom. 3)
Not long ago a gentleman approached me after a talk I had delivered and said, “I’m 60 years-old and have had great success as a businessman and I’m here to tell you from experience that grace doesn’t work in this world.” My immediate response was, “Well maybe it appears that way only because grace isn’t from this world.”
This quote from Robert Kolb makes the point beautifully:
God promises righteousness and freedom to sinners. That promise contradicts ordinary human expectation. Sinners ought to receive punishment rather than pardon, incarceration rather than freedom. But by the double work of his law and gospel, God teaches sinners to close their eyes to ordinary human expectations and the conclusions of common sense and to open their ears to the promise which offers life and freedom.