Thursday, March 3, 2011

Grace, One-Way Love

by Paul F.M. Zahl, excerpt from Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life (pg. 36-38)

What is grace? Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of loveable.

Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualification the receiver may personally hold.

Grace is one-way love.

The one-way love of grace is the essence of any lasting transformation that takes place in human experience. . . . One-way love lifts up. One-way love cures. One-way love transforms. It is the change agent of life.

Grace depends on the fact that its origin is wholly outside myself. This is the heart of love; it comes to me from outside myself. Moreover, while it almost always elicits a response, which is my love in return, it comes toward me without any reference to my response. One-way love does not deviate on the basis of its goal. It is determined solely by its source.

One-way love is the change agent in everyday life because it speaks in a voice completely different from the voice of the law. It has nothing to do with its receiver’s characteristics. Its logic is hidden within the intention of its source. Theologically speaking, we can say it is the prime directive of God to love the world in no relation to the world’s fitness to be loved.

One-way love is also irrational because it reaches out to the specifically undeserving person. This is the beating heart of it. Grace is directed toward what the Scripture calls “the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). Not just the lonely, not just the sick and disconsolate, but the “perpetrators,” the murders and abusers, the people who cross the line.

HT: http://www.monergism.com
Source: http://dramaofdogma.blogspot.com

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