Sonshift Study – Chapter Seven

This is the eighth week of our discussion on my book, Sonshift: Everything Changes in the Father’s Embrace. Today, we’ll be looking at chapter seven titled, “Grace Shift.”

I invite you to respond to some or all of these questions. Also, please give additional comments on the chapter that my questions don’t address.  My only rules are that you’ve actually read the chapter and that your answers are brief.  Okay, here we go!

Chapter Seven: Grace Shift

It’s appropriate that we look at this chapter after finishing my series, “Jesus Christ: Savior of the World” because that’s what this chapter is all about! Grace Shift happens when we stop eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (rebellion/religion) and start eating from the Tree of Life (Christ’s life). When we don’t make this critical shift in appropriating grace, we risk running on a performance treadmill until we burn out or give up. I should know, I was a card-carrying member!

“Like most other believers I knew, for 23 years of my Christian life my perspective on being a Christian amounted to pursuing the fruit of Spirit-filled living instead of pursuing the Source of Life living in me that produces the fruit. The first thing I did after I gave my heart to Jesus was get a Bible and begin an absurd journey of attempting to obey what it said. I was only doing what everyone else I knew was doing. The sad thing was, I probably felt more freedom in my former rebellion.” (p. 151-152, Kindle loc. 2487)

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is it important to understand that grace is more than just what got you saved? What is the danger of not knowing this?
  2. The author used the story of the father and his two sons (Luke 15:11-32) to show that spiritual orphans (rebellious or religious) don’t understand pure grace.  Why is this related to how we see our relationship with God?
  3. What are some ways we might show we’re actually a “grace-hater” in our relationships?
  4. Why do you think that moving toward the Law causes us to move away from grace?
  5. What are some of the problems with living behind a “fence” of behavioral modification and moral restraint? How is this different than being managed by the Spirit?
  6. The author states that while God is not holding our sins against us anymore (2 Cor.5:19; Heb.10:17-18), it has its own punishment. Why is seeing this important to our freedom from sin? Why is this important to how we treat other people?

As before, if these questions didn’t address something you think is important, please add it in your comments. If you would like to make any comments offline, please email me at mwild@ceuturytel.net.  Thank you!

Now, it’s your turn!

*******************

NOTE: Because of Easter, the next Sonshift book discussion post will be on Monday, April 24th.

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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6 Responses to Sonshift Study – Chapter Seven

  1. 1. If we don’t clearly understand grace, we won’t ever accept the pure grace and unconditional love of God. Our own worth – and everyone else’s – will always be in question. Our relationship with God will always be performance based.
    2. We will still have a slave mentality – whether slaves to sin or slaves to law, it’s still performance based, we still have to earn our way to love. Grace isn’t about earning – it’s about accepting.
    3. When we are resentful of the grace others receive, when we judge who and how much grace others receive, that’s being a grace-hater.
    4. Living by the law causes us to judge, to put conditions on performing and to valuate people based on what they do and who they are – the opposite of grace, which is free and equal for everyone.
    5. Behavior modification and moral restraint is based on the power and control of our own judgment to “fix” ourselves and others. It’s the opposite of trusting the power of the Spirit. (Just scheduled a post on this for Friday.) It also prevents us from fully accepting and surrendering to God’s unconditional love.
    6. The importance of this is FREEDOM. Once we can accept the value God has assigned us, and accept the gift of His radical grace, we DESIRE to refrain from sin simply because it screws up our life. It’s like gaining knowledge about a hot burner on a stove; you avoid it at all costs not because you’ll be punished, but because if you don’t, you know it will burn the crap out of your hand if you touch it. 😮

    • Mel Wild says:

      Awesome, Susan. Thanks for taking the time to answer these!

      I loved the last sentence you wrote on seeing sin properly, why would we want to touch the stove and “burn the crap out of our hand.” Amen! That’s good theology. 🙂

      Btw, I’m starting another book discussion at our church after Easter, which is part of this project, so your comments and input here has been very helpful. Blessings.

  2. dawnlizjones says:

    Pastor Wild,
    Before I start on the questions, let me just say that I have chosen to use the “pink” highlighter in the Kindle app as I read through your book; as such, this chapter on grace is looking like cotton candy at the fair grounds…

    The chapter helps confirm a journey I’ve been on for a long, long time, a scary one. And a childhood memory surfaces at the end of today’s reading when I pray, “Father, I want this”:

    I was very young, and my family was on vacation. Dad and I were walking together on a sidewalk in some downtown area unfamiliar to me, and as we about the cross an alleyway, I saw a car coming. I stopped to allow the car to pass, but my dad kept walking. After the car got by, I ran to catch up with Dad who gently rebuked me by saying, “didn’t you trust me?”

    Your chapter is affirming to me that yes, indeed, my good Father is fully trustworthy to help me live in this freedom of Biblically defined, New Covenant grace. Let’s roll…

    1. This question is expounded upon deeply in this chapter and is difficult to put in a few words. “Grace is more about empowering who God made you to be in Christ rather than about getting what you don’t deserve.” This quote sums up what is at stake for others, not just myself, if I am not aware of the freedom God has provided to me.
    2. Both sons were still thinking on the level of self-preservation, rather than on their inheritance being the relationship.
    3. Personally, clinging to my fear of making a wrong “moral” decision (for fear of God’s rejection). Add fear of people’s reaction to that list also. All about self.
    4. It views the Law as being unfulfilled, and also as an entity that I can actually understand and navigate in every situation in my own wisdom. (Tried that. Didn’t go so well. Zoloft.)
    5. Power to change, and wisdom to know what to change.
    6. As a nurse, the analogy of the choice of health or toxicity is very helpful, like the Poison Center “YUCK!” symbols. It also gives me a sense of freedom that I am not responsible to be the Holy Spirit in someone else’s life. He might use me, but that is all.
    (PS, in light of this chapter, can you speak to the issue of Ananias and Saphira in the book of Acts? Or link to a post where you may have already addressed it?)

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Dawn. It’s those memories, like the one you had with your dad, that shapes us. We need to let Jesus redeem them and help us to learn to trust more. Loved your answers again.

      About Ananias and Sapphira, it’s a bizarre story that’s been debated for 2,000 years. All we can know for sure is that God did not kill them. That would totally contradict the whole New Testament. First, here’s an article by Paul Ellis on this question…
      https://escapetoreality.org/2015/04/09/what-about-ananias-and-sapphira/

      Also, here’s what Kris Vallotton said about it. I would totally agree with him here….

      “I heard someone prophesy that God was bringing back the days of Ananias and Sapphire. They were the only two Christians that God killed in the Bible. How many other Christians do you think lied in the book of acts which, covered 28 years of the early church history? Do you realize that the most famous liar in the Bible was questioning them, (Peter) who lied about knowing Jesus three times? How many people would be left in your church if God killed everyone who lied even about the amount they sold their property for? How arrogant do you have to be to think that you would be exempt if God started killing people who deserved to be judged? How hard is it to understand that you and I did not get into the kingdom through our works but we got in through His? Why is it that people are prone to create a culture from a verse that’s an exception to 28 years of history? On my part, I’m like the servant who owed the king a million dollars and received mercy because he couldn’t pay. As for me and my house, we will extend mercy to everyone because we received mercy.” Kris Vallotton

      Blessings.

    • dawnlizjones says:

      Good word, thanks.

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