Grace and Will

| | Comments (1)

Perhaps this reminder is only for me, but perhaps there are others out there who are secretly lured into the waters of quietism--I don't know. However, when I pause to think that I can do nothing by myself except sin, the temptation is to do nothing whatsoever, because at least in so doing I won't be sinning. This isn't a realistic attitude, it is fatalistic, and it comes upon us when we forget the dual mechanism of Grace and Will.

It is true that I can do absolutely nothing on my own except sin, that grace powers every good thought or action. Grace inspires them and grace sees them through to completion. Explained that way, it almost seems as if a human mechanism were not required at all. If grace is doing all this stuff, why do I need to be involved at all.

The fact is, grace causes and completes all of these actions, BUT no action is done without the cooperation, however weak, of the will. True, grace supports even this cooperation--nevertheless, at some point along the line we must say, "I will it, let it be so."

Forgive the inept analogy, but grace and will are akin to a person who has long been laid up in the hospital or in a rehabilitation facility. Grace brings a wheelchair to the door, opens the door, puts the wheelchair where we can sit in it, walks around to help us lower ourselves into it, and then simply waits until we decide that we will actually do so--will. Every motion of the will is fostered, supported, and enshrouded by grace, but grace doesn't come and push us into the wheelchair. Grace waits. Not wishing to cripple us and make us less than our human selves, grace never forces the issue, it simply makes available every possible help to accomplish the actions of the will that correspond to God's will. God is the Divine Physician, and grace is His nurse. This is not to imply two different sources or a separation of grace from God, but rather the role grace plays in our healing--helping, aiding, constantly attentive and supporting.

Grace always works to move our will to where it should be. Just as the nurse getting the patient into the wheelchair will say, "Okay, everything is ready, now just slowly lower yourself. . . that's it, keep going, almost there." The nurse may hold the patient's hands or support the patient in some other way as the patient, aided by all of this seeks to comply.

I cannot do anything good of myself. Grace inspires all, supports all, completes all. But the good that I do, I must will to do and I must, at a minimum, cooperate with grace. (I won't go into the fractal nature of this process pointing out that even our cooperation with grace is supported by grace, because it becomes too mind boggling.) Grace makes everything possible even to the point of carrying us when all we can say, is "I want to do it." However, grace of itself cannot accomplish anything in the person who resists it. When we remember this key, the threat of quietism disappears. We can't sit around and wait for grace to do it all, we must move as she coaches.

Bookmark and Share


(Yes, I meant to shout).



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on March 16, 2006 8:39 AM.

Fear of the Lord was the previous entry in this blog.

Reflection on the Rule III is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll