In my last article on grace, I wrote about Prescriptive Grace and the way that grace is always applied specifically according to God’s desires. In this post, I want to talk about grace in a slightly different way, but first I want to clarify some things. Because this post is about why God chooses to bless certain things I don’t want to give the impression that I believe that we can control or even manipulate God, however, because God has told us that He is a God of order and because He has revealed a great deal about Himself through His Word and through the world, there are things that we can know about His behavior and that we can, through faith, respond to. Of course, God can do anything He chooses at any time and is not bound by anything other than His own nature. As C. S. Lewis writes of Aslan in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe: He’s not a tame lion.
I’ve titled this post analogous grace, because I want to deal with how God uses things He has created to reveal aspects of himself and how he works through these roles in the world around us. To give an example of what I mean, think about the following words/titles/roles: Father, Wife, Husband, Lord, Church, Shepherd, Bride, Son, King, Priest, etc. Each of these words are well known to us and have strong and definite meanings. Each of these words are also used by God to describe either Himself or something that He relates to in an important way.
As before, in this post, my goal is not to convince you of a Sovereign God, but to bring together separate ideas. If you believe in a God who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, outside of time, and who sustains the world, and this God refers to Himself as our Father and us His Sons and then institutes a human role of father and son, then it is hard to avoid the idea that the role of a Father is representative of certain aspects of God.
Let me take this idea one step further and say this as well, a father is different from a king,which is different from a church elder, which is different from a father, and so on. What I mean to say by this, is that while each of these roles may have some overlap between them in what they do, they are each different from one another specifically because they represent different aspects of God. This also means that what is good for a father to do, may not necessarily be good for a government to do, may not necessarily be good for a church to do, may not necessarily be good for a son to do, and so on. Because God has invested some aspect of Himself in each of these roles, it is reasonable to believe that He would tend to bless when someone in one of these roles is acting in a way that represents Him correctly.
This is why churches must be very careful to not supplant the role of family and or government, why government must be careful to not supplant the role of church or family, and why family must not supplant church or government. It is why a husband must not become the wife, and why the wife must not become a husband, why bride and bridegroom are important distinctions, and so on. Each of these specific things bears witness to God and the relationships that He has established to teach us more of him. And because grace is tied up in the specific work that God is accomplishing, we should not be surprised that he would bless certain actions if performed by a father and curse them if performed by a church. And that is the heart of what I mean by analogous grace, that God has drawn analogies for us to better know Him, and we had best be mindful of them.
What do you say? Is this off the mark or does it have the ring of truth? Let me know.