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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Paradoxical Grace

I was struck this morning by some of the lyrics in the hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing – written in the year 1757 by Robert Robison when he was but 22 years old. The line that caught my ear and my eye this morning was in the third verse (though words and verses today are changed somewhat from Robinson’s original…)

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

It was that third line of the (modern) third verse with its Grace like a fetter that stopped me, bound me

Grace is what sets us free, right?  Grace is what liberates us…
But here we have grace like a fetter – like a chain or a shackle around the feet – binding us, restraining us. 

This is paradoxical grace – both liberating and confining.   But grace that is only one or the other liberating or confining is not really grace.

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