Brennan Manning: God's Grace

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In the words of Brennan Manning, “something is radically wrong.” As American citizens, we find the Gospel of Grace burdensome. God’s grace seems to be some ephemeral promise that sounds phenomenal but cannot possibly be authentic. We grasp the concept in words but we act utterly opposite. Hidden in our subconscious is the supposition that we must earn all that we receive and that anything given to us freely is of no worth. We believe things such as “There is no free lunch”, “You want love? Earn it”, and “You get what you deserve.” We have sold ourselves into a “no pain-no gain” spirituality downplaying God’s grace but emphasizing our own personal efforts. Brennan Manning put it this way: “Though the Scriptures insist on God’s initiative in the work of salvation – that by grace we are saved, that the Tremendous Lover has taken to the chase – our spirituality often starts with self, not God.” So what does God’s grace actually entail and why is it so difficult for us to accept? (Manning) defines grace as “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” While this is true, the scriptures have no set definition of grace. In the Old Testament, it was mostly used in the way of expressing God’s favor to humans; however, in the New Testament is used in several different ways. Paul intentionally uses the term “grace” in many of his greetings in order to demonstrate the seriousness of his letter (Trotter). He also uses the term in Romans 15:15-16 to write about God giving him the gift of ministry to the Gentiles: “…because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles.” While there is no set biblical definition, a clear picture of what grace looks like ca...

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