Thursday, December 04, 2008

Narrative Identities

Yesterday I was reading an article in the latest issue of Christianity Today.  It is entitled, "The Advent of Humility:  Jesus is the Reason to Stop Concentrating on Ourselves," by Tim Keller.  

I have read the following paragraph over and over -- its simple truth drawing me in:

There are two basic narrative identities at work among professing Christians.  The first is what I will call the moral-performance narrative identity.  These are people who in their heart of hearts say, "I obey; therefore I am accepted by God."  The second is what I will call the grace narrative identity.  This basic operating principle is, "I am accepted by God through Christ; therefore I obey."  

For too many years, I operated under the moral-performance narrative.  During those times, my spiritual life was dry, going through the motions and unmotivated.  In more recent years I have accepted the grace narrative identity.  As a result, I believe the fruit in my life to be more genuine, and the peace and presence of God much more obvious.  


Jeff said...

Amen. I have struggled for years with my obedience and lack of obedience and my standing with God. Only recently have I come to understand my standing with God (captured in His love, mercy and grace) leads me to want to be more obedient. It has been and continues to be an incredible journey as I realize His deep love for me.

Josh Ross said...

Good words.
I like the two competing narratives.

Anonymous said...

Understanding that salvation is not performance based is liberating! Living a grace-filled only makes our lights shine brighter.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Please add the word "life" after grace-filled in my previous comment.

Kyle R. said...


Of all world religions that I am aware of, Christianity is the only religion that has a doctrine of grace. That puts the teaching of Christ and the Bible in a unique category. Other world religions as I understand them all say heavenly salvation (or their version of heavenly salvation)is a human works oriented transaction.

This unique Christian teaching of grace just screams TRUTH!

Judaism says God accepts jews because they keep his law. FALSE

Islam says Allah offers muslims heavenly rewards for jihad. FALSE

Hinduism says nirvana awaits hindus with lifetime(s) of good karma (works). FALSE

The truth of Christianity is that people can't do enough raw obedience to get in contact with God. That intimate contact is only offered as a gift of his grace through the blood of his Son. Acceptance of that gracious gift motivates me to faithful obedience.