Why I Don’t Believe in the “Doctrine” of Grace ­– Eliezer Gonzalez

Nov 6, 2015 5668


Religious people often talk a lot about grace, but they don’t understand what it is.

Grace is not a doctrine. It is an active, living principle that must underpin every interaction in the kingdom of God. That’s the kingdom to which we belong.

God doesn’t think grace is a doctrine. Can you imagine how it would be like if God thought that grace was a doctrine the same way we do?

God (hypothetically) would enshrine it in some church creed, write lovely books about it, sing about it once a week in church, listen to people speak about it in clichéd terms from the front, pray to receive it for himself… and then go out and reject us all, and save nobody.

Why? Because he’d have to be in control. He’d have to make sure that these sinners really understood how bad their sins are. He’d had to make them suffer his wrath for a while… maybe a good long while, depending on the severity of their transgression. He’d have to set some strict conditions on their being accepted by him. Of course, he’d have to remind sinners on a regular basis of just how sinful they are and how fortunate they are even to be allowed to live and grovel before him. He’d have to make sure that sinners knew that while he still loved them, sin has consequences, and so from now on they would always be second-class citizens; after all, you never know when they would fall again. And he’d have to make sure that sinners knew that if they stuffed up again, that they were playing last chance roulette… there would be no coming back for them if they disappointed him again. That’s how God would treat us if he thought that grace is a doctrine.

But grace is not a doctrine. Grace is a gift. Grace is being willing to let go of all that could possibly stand in the path of complete restoration and acceptance in the fullness of love.

Grace is a gift from God that we only unwrap for ourselves when we pass it on to others. Unless we pass grace on to others, it’s just all wrapped up and looking pretty, sitting on the shelf. That’s the nature of grace. Once received, it cannot be withheld. If we withhold it, we lose it. That’s what Jesus taught in the parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18.

Grace is a gift that cannot be given to the deserving. Grace is only grace when it is given to the least deserving ­– those we look down upon, those who annoy us the most in our lives – even those whom we think are the most evil.

Like so many of the most precious things, grace is fragile in the hands of us sinful human beings. It must be held carefully. There are too many things in this world that are out to kill grace. Politics kills grace. Pride kills grace. The hurts of the past kill grace.

In spite of this, to show grace is the most powerful force for healing and restoration and righteousness in this world. It is also the most difficult characteristic for unregenerate people to demonstrate, though some may couch it in the most perfectly doctrinal and religious terms.

Grace is a personal gift. You can apply doctrines theoretically, but never grace. It is very, very personal. And the ones who need it most are close to you.

Fundamentally, it is the lack of grace is what destroys marriages, families, friendships, churches, and communities. There are too many don’t believe in grace, because they have heard about it from people who believe that its only a doctrine.

There is no black market in the Kingdom of God. The first and central responsibility of the citizens of that kingdom is to deal only in the currency of grace.

Of all the things the world needs most, it needs grace. Start breathing it in… and breathing it out.

­– Eliezer

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