We’ve been looking at The Gospel Gap over the past three weeks. The Gospel Gap leads to several types of blindness – blindness of identity, blindness to God’s provision, and blindness to God’s process.
Blindness to God's Process
The New Testament is clear that our acceptance into the family of God isn’t the end of God’s work in us, but the beginning. God has not called us to a life of “I have spiritually arrived” or “I’m just waiting for heaven.” Rather, he calls us to a life of constant work, constant growth, and constant confession and repentance.
Making us holy is God’s unwavering agenda until we’re taken home to be with him. He’ll do whatever he needs to do to produce holiness in us. He wants us to be a community of joy, but he’s willing to compromise our temporal happiness in order to increase our Christ-likeness.
Any time we find ourselves in difficulty or trial, it’s easy to think we’ve been forgotten or rejected by God. This is because we don’t understand the present process. God isn’t working for our comfort and ease; he’s working on our growth.
At the very moment we’re tempted to question his faithfulness, he’s fulfilling his redemptive promises to us. After all, it’s not like there are only some people who really need to change. Change is the norm for everyone, and God is always at work to complete this process in us.
The Theology of Uncomfortable Grace
Peter uses a very descriptive word picture to help us see God’s process. It's the picture of mining or metal work: “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7)
When a miner finds an original piece of metal in the ground, he finds it in an ore state. Ore isn’t very attractive or useable because ore, in its natural state, has imperfections in it. Those imperfections rob that metal of its strength and rob it of its beauty.
Would you ever give your husband or wife ore for a birthday or anniversary? Of course not! You give them beautiful jewelry, which has been refined by a metallurgist. This metalworker has added a catalytic agent and white-hot heat to liquefy this metal, boiling out its imperfections so it reaches a higher stage of strength and a higher state of beauty.
Now here’s the connection to God’s process - when you come to Christ by His rescuing grace, you’re an ‘orerific’ Christian (I didn’t say horrific!) As a sinner saved by grace, you have ‘orerism’ in you. This ‘oreism’ robs you of your beauty and it robs you of your strength.
It would make no sense for God to mine you from the mass of humanity by His powerful, selective, transforming grace and leave you in your ‘oreism.’ So God, in the grandeur and glory of His relentless love, will refine you. That’s His process.
Here's the theology: “God will take you where you haven't intended to go in order to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own.” I call it the theology of uncomfortable grace. There’s so much more I could say on this, so I'll leave you with six-minute video. Reflection questions are below the video.
Paul David Tripp
- What difficult life circumstance (relationship, job, health, etc) are you facing right now?
- Have you been tempted to question the goodness of God during this difficult life circumstance?
- How does the theology of uncomfortable grace change the way you view that difficult life circumstance?
- How can you live a more God-honoring life in the midst of that difficult life circumstance?
- How can you counsel other believers facing difficult life circumstances?