We Christians are a funny bunch. We love to talk about how we are saved by grace, only grace, by faith alone, not by works. We passionately belt out the words to “Amazing Grace”, joining our voices to proclaim that grace has brought us thus far, and grace will lead us home. When we share the gospel with Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses or Muslims, we use various tactics and strategies to pin them down on whether salvation is by works or grace.
But when it comes to actually living the Christian life, we tend to muddy the clear waters of grace.
I see this most clearly in the way many Christians respond to teaching that places a heavy emphasis on God’s grace and less emphasis on our efforts. Without fail, some people will cry “foul”, complaining that proclaiming grace without equally talking about effort leads to spiritual laziness. They protest that a message of pure grace does not lead to sanctification.