I am working on my Integrating Motif for my Senior Statement of Faith for Bethel Seminary (a requirement to graduate). Below is what I have so far (it is due on Friday) and I would be open to critique. We have to pick a major theological concept that has come to serve as an integrating motif for our faith, and will then use that motif as the frame work for our 18 page statement of faith (basically a summary of our complete theology). All of this goes before review by our professors/faculty at the Seminary. It’s how they keep the heretics from graduating :-)

The word xaris in the Greek New Testament is translated as “grace”. We see from Romans 3:22-24, 5:15-16 that grace by definition is not something we have earned, it is given without expectation of repayment. We have not done and cannot do anything to compel God to give His grace. When we experience God’s grace we find a freeness to know God in our relationship to Jesus Christ (John 1:16-17).

The central theme to the Bible is God’s grace. We find this from the beginning to the end of the Bible. Genesis 1-2 tell of God’s gracious act in creating the world for the welfare of mankind. From there on we can trace the grace of God through the way He first dealt with sin in Genesis 3:16-22, to Revelation 22:17 where God is still inviting people to receive His grace.

God continually shows that He is a gracious God, forgiving people’s sins, sending his Son to die on a cross for people’s sins (John 3:16-17), and delivering those who do not deserve such kindness from their sins. God in grace enters into covenant relationships in the Old Testament as testaments to His grace (Noah in Genesis and Abraham in Exodus for example). In many other places as well God showers humanity with grace. Scripture continually reminds us that grace is a blessing given freely by God to those He has created.

Christ is the core expression of God’s grace for humanity. Through Christ’s atonement for our sins we are freed by God from the judgment and wrath that would rightfully be ours as a result of our sins. Christ’s work on the Cross fully reconciles through grace all those who would trust in Christ as Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:8).

The role of grace in my own life cannot be underestimated. I daily need to rely upon grace as I continually sin. From this first hand experience of God’s grace I am able to understand how God’s grace plays out in other people’s lives, and in the church. The foundation of Christ’s church rests solely on God’s grace. The very nature and mission of the church is defined by grace. Without this grace the church falls into either legalism or liberalism, both of which reduce or remove the power of the work of Christ. The church (and thereby God’s people) is God’s chosen way to bring grace into the world.

God’s grace through Jesus Christ needs to be the central focus of my ministry. I need to teach, preach and model grace in ways that lead others to embrace and grow in grace. I desire to create an environment in my church where others can experience grace, and learn to share it with others. Through this multiplication God’s grace will be spread much further than I could ever do on my own.

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