Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Relational View of Grace and Behavior in Colossians Part 1

I love M. Night Shyamalan’s movies. My first exposure to this brilliant filmmaker’s work came while discussing his film, “The 6th Sense” with a group of friends. They assumed I had seen the movie and revealed the surprise ending. I was pretty irritated because it was an innovative twist and I would have really enjoyed being surprised in the same way that they had been. Even so, I told no one and watched the movie with my wife and some of our friends some time later. None of them had seen it and (unlike me) they had managed to avoid learning about the twist at the end. The experience was fascinating. Shyamalan has become famous for revealing something in the last few minutes of his movies that actually changes how the viewer sees and interprets the film itself. While watching “The 6th Sense”, my wife and friends would interpret things one way, and I, (already knowing the ending), would interpret them another. I noticed things they didn’t notice. They locked in on details that I knew to be inconsequential. We were viewing the same film, but through different lenses.

As strange as it may sound, one of the most hotly debated and even divisive issues among Christians is the subject of grace. On one end of the spectrum are those who believe that God’s grace saves us completely and our works, actions, or behavior have nothing to do with obtaining or maintaining our salvation. On the other end of the spectrum you’ll find those who believe that our works, actions and behavior qualify us for God’s grace. Moreover, these things can disqualify us from His grace at any moment. To make things even more difficult, those on both ends of the spectrum (and everyone in between) can point to scriptures that do indeed seem to validate their contradictory cases. I believe that, much like Shyamalan’s movie, the problem may lie in the lenses that we are looking at scripture through to start with. Is it possible that that no one on “the spectrum” has a “right” answer because it’s the wrong spectrum all together?

No comments: