Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bono on Grace

I joined with a few other men from our church last night for a small group Bible study. The content of what we covered was very familiar material for me as it was stuff that I have gone through dozens of time to help others get established in their relationship with God. It is the core, foundational truths of how our sins are forgiven, how our relationship with God is established and the difference between placing our faith in Christ versus trusting our own good works.

But what is good to remember is that I will never be mature enough and be old enough in my faith to have "moved beyond" the foundational beliefs of Christianity. It is always good to revisit this basic material because it is easy for us to think we've got it down and don't need the gospel anymore. But the truth is that the gospel is for believers as well as non-believers. I need to be reminded each and every day that apart from Christ, I am a sinner dead in my transgressions, but that God's tremendous love offers another way.

Our group camped out on Ephesians 2:8,9 for a bit and discussed the concept of grace. With it being a free gift and unmerited favor, grace is something that is hard for our brains to wrap around. It just doesn't make sense that in spite of our ourselves and our own sin and shortcomings, God still offers this free gift.

When thinking about grace, my mind took me to an interview that I read in which Bono, the lead singer of pop group U2, shares about his Christian faith. While some Christians question the sincerity of Bono's faith, I think this interview clearly shows that he is a devoted follower of Christ and that he actually understands the gospel message better than most. Some highlights:
"But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you're a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross."

"It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people..."

"You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that 'as you reap, so you will sow' stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff... I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity."

"The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled… . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven."
You can read the rest of the interview here.

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