For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭GNB‬‬

Jesus Christ came to die for the sins of the whole world, but not everyone believe and receive the free gift offer of salvation. They think God really is all about making justice stick, and they think there is no way the death of Jesus Christ really has relevance to real-life sticky justice. So they believe that ultimately God is just and merciless and cold, and by rejecting the free gift of Christ, they leave God no choice but to relate to them under that rubric. He does not fundamentally relate to them from that place, but that is the universe they live in and that is all they want to hear. If God wants to relate to them at all, it has to be on the basis of justice and guilt because that is all they want to hear. And that’s exactly the way they relate with everyone around them, they talk about grace in theory but trust in the law on the functional level.


Grace in Relationships means Everyone Has to Believe in Grace

“A lot of the problem with the dynamics of relationships based on a belief that grace defines us rather than our adherence to some expected standard of behavior is that not everyone believes in or even understands the dynamics of grace. So one party may be trying to interpret the other in terms of the power of the blood of Jesus over the other, but the other party is still all about measuring up to expectations.

This works out in unexpected ways in the real world. Obviously, if someone only has a perfunctory belief in the gospel but holds their neighbors functionally to a standard of law, then when people fail to measure up, they are prone to judge. However, since their only functional paradigm is judgment, if they perceive that they themselves have failed to measure up, then they will read judgment into the mindset of the grace-believer, and it will prove to be impossible for the grace believer to overcome that belief. They simply can’t believe that there is anything but judgment in anyone else’s mind. So the only dynamic by which the relationship can exist at all is a relationship based on judgment, even if the grace-believer fights strongly against this. There is no escape from the assessment that Jesus so astutely makes, that if you judge you will be judged. Living in the universe of judgement, more commonly known as “the kingdom of this world”, nothing besides judgment is possible to communicate.

If both sides of a relationship believe in lavish grace for each other, that is wonderful! But if one side believes in lavish grace while the other side believes in holding people responsible and somehow making them comply or pay, how does the relationship go forward?” Jim McNeely