He Was Dead…But He Got Better!

I have been thinking about grace, the Christian life, and improvement in light of the […]

Jacob / 5.6.09

I have been thinking about grace, the Christian life, and improvement in light of the movie poster for Crank, High Voltage. Despite all of the Oscar Buzz surrounding Jason Statham for his role as Chev Chelios-this statement is dripping with sarcasm-the tag line on the movie poster jumped out at me: “He was dead…but he got better.” This line resonates deep within me because for the longest time this was my impression of Christianity. That Christianity is about just finding Jesus for the purpose of making my life better. Unfortunately, everyday I make the theological error of believing that while yes a sinner, I am actually morally neutral. It actually offends me to think that ‘sinner’ is not the title given to me because I have failed to do the law, but ‘sinner’ is actually the title given to me born as a human.

“Christianity is not a religion for good people to get better; it is a religion for bad people to cope with their failure to be good” (PZ). Under the law of God alone, we are actually killed by God, he puts the part within us which wants to be better (which is the whole of us) to death. This is because God doesn’t want a better you. As if you, riddled and tainted with sin, just needed a daily touch up here and there that a quiet time could fix. Instead, God takes that which he has justly killed and graciously makes us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a new creation. Thus bringing the dead to life and reconciling us back to Himself (2 Cor. 5:17).
Christianity then is not the mechanism that helps us get better in a moralistic sense, rather it is the redemptive balm which enables sinners to daily let go of their control, accept death, and be born again. Therefore grace is actually a verb and not a noun. Grace no longer is the HIGH VOLTAGE Jesus Juice in a Chev Chelios sense, which I the sinner, who is getting better, needs an “extra measure of” to see me through my rough day. Instead, grace is a verb; it is the active pronouncement that my sins are forgiven on account of Jesus Christ’s all sufficient work on the cross and that, because of that great work alone, while still totally sinners, we are rightly pronounced as justified in the eyes of God.