KEEP THE BALANCE.
Extremes are easy. I have long since believed and promoted that reality. What is difficult is gaining and then maintaining balance between extremes. Crossing a ravine on a very narrow foot bridge involves undivided concentration. Falling one way or the other is easy. Keeping one's balance requires focus and effort.
I see this is true when I think about the difference between "grace" and "works". There is a delicate balance here that must not be compromised by extremes. To focus too much on grace is to upset that delicate balance. Equally, to major too much on works also upsets that balance.
When Peter wrote the 2nd letter that bears his name, he is calling for his fellow Christians to apply themselves to growing in their faith. For example,
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith......" (2 Peter 1/5)
When it comes to growing in our Christian lives, we are obviously not passive in that process. We do not simply float along and leave it all to Jesus. That is called drifting. And that is never a good thing.
Yet, being exhorted to "make every effort" can set off alarm bells because it might be misunderstood as an appeal to live our life based upon works and we know that can't be right because we are told in Ephesians 2/8,9 NIV
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
This is where the issue of balance is so critical. Either extreme is destructive. To make "grace" the reason for doing nothing is a destructive extreme. Similarly, to make "works" the basis of our acceptance with God (initially or progressively) is also destructive. Both grace and works are needed but in a balanced, healthy manner.
Some will want to challenge this premise and say that these two truths - grace and works - are mutually exclusive. To try and reconcile them is futile. Such people treat this struggle as an "either/or" situation whereas I see it as a "both/and" dynamic. The "either/or" people see this as being confronted with a choice - you can have grace or works. You can't have both.
I beg to differ. You must have both.
Now that I have emphasised this truth, I want to develop this phrase further "...make every effort...." in Part 2 on my next post. Meantime enjoy the grace by which you have been saved, are being saved and will yet be saved.