The Lens of Grace

Walking Around Blind

Recently, I found myself surrounded by literally thousands of eyeglasses frames at a local optical store in Duluth, Georgia. As I shopped around independently, I was somewhat overwhelmed at all of the various styles, shapes, colors, and options associated with just the frames. I tried on about two different styles that fulfilled my personal selection criteria to define my image: cool, contemplative, and contemporary.

As I removed my own eyeglasses to try on these two potential new glasses, I quickly had to remind myself of two things.  First, how blind I was without my glasses, and next, that whatever frame that I liked, the most important aspect of those frames were missing, the corrective lens!

Even though I was looking good, I would be walking around blind.

Identity Crisis

In his classic book, “Mere Christianity,”[page 38] C.S. Lewis notes that “If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is helpless again.”

Lewis above probing question is his attempt at exposing an invisible force [sin] that has disabled human beings from birth, the ability to see, know and experience this absolute goodness. He further implies that if not for corrective measures, all that we do is futile for until our distorted view of God and ourselves change. All of humanity is an enemy of the Creator of heaven and earth. The essence of the human condition is that without God, we are suffering from an identity crisis!

Question one, exactly what lens do you use in order to shape your identity? [gleaned from All Together Different, by J. Brian Tucker.]

  • ethnic origin
  • gender
  • culture
  • nationality
  • wealth or the lack of
  • age
  • religion  or the lack of

The good news is that C. S. Lewis reflected how the Holy Scriptures depict our plight as helpless, yet we are not hopeless. Only a loving and all-knowing God fully understands our human condition as we all battle the sin nature of our being in the now. If not for His divine intervention on our behalf through the ultimate revolutionary freedom, healing, and liberty that is in The Messiah, we would indeed be hopeless.

Not only do humans find freedom, restorative healing, and liberty in The Messiah, the Holy Scriptures are the divine source to seek and rediscover our stolen true identities. Here we all will discover that three major factors contribute to our identities if not designs: How the Creator design us, how human culture shapes and molds us and the distortion that sin plays in our human experience.

New Testament professor Klyne Snodgrass states that “Scripture is about identity formation.” The finality of the whole discussion about the authority of Scripture is about identity. [“Introduction to a Hermeneutic of Identity,” Bibliotheca Sacra 168 (January-March 2011):5.]

Question two, do you allow Scripture to tell you who you are and who you are to be?

Corrective Lenses

When I return back to the optical store sometime in the near future, I will have to submit to have my eyes examined in order to purchase new glasses. It has been ten years since my last eye exam and I am long overdue. It is very easy for me to assume that my current glasses and my overall eye health is fine yet in order for me to purchase new glasses, I will do what is needed.

As a God-fearer, what lens is it that I have used in my life in Messiah to affirm my Biblical identity?

It is the lens of Grace!

The Holy Scriptures without God’s grace on my account has defined me very unattractive. There is nothing cool, contemplative, and contemporary at all about me as I stand before a holy God who in His Word is depicted as a consuming fire.

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.” [Eph. 2:4-5]

Everything about who I am and will be is made possible through the willful actions and covenants of God’s goodness,  and His initiative toward redeeming me. Man, I am so very happy that I am not helpless and hopeless. God my heavenly Father has not only granted me a purpose now but has promised me a future forever.

More importantly, now I see clearly that I am a child of God and I am thankful that I am not an enemy of God!

In closing, I wish to only encourage you that we are above all else, created spiritual beings that are made up emotionally and physically. Beware not to permit this current world system and everything that is ungodly, to keep you in darkness as to who our Creator has made all living souls to be: in His image and likeness. Please permit the eternal light of Messiah to free you to the wonderful things that God has promised and has delivered to those who will accept them all on His terms.

The motivation, inspiration and subject matter associated with this blog post is the results of my visit to 2018 Visiting Scholar Symposium in Columbus, Ohio. The Messianic Studies Institute hosted this event with Dr. J. Brian Tucker this year instructor. 

I strongly encourage you to consider reading Dr. Tucker’s book: All Together Different: Upholding The Church’s Unity While Honoring Our Individual Identities.

Grace and Peace