This past Wednesday I was at Arizona State University for our Orthodoxy College Fellowship meeting. I am the chaplain for this organization on campus. There was a preacher setting up outside the MU (the student union) and he had a huge sign that said, “God is angry with the wicked everyday.” I wanted to go up to him and question him about his message. This “God is angry” message is not what we see in Jesus Christ and that is not how Saint Paul put it when he wrote to the Ephesians.
Brethren, God, Who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians. (2:4-10)
Mercy, love, loved, grace, kindness, gift. He who loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses he made us alive together with Christ and raised us up…
There is a union with God that is not destruction, or fusion or confusion of the human person. God remains God, the great lover of mankind, and human persons remain free human beings whom He created and loves and gives Himself to us. This self-giving of God in freedom and love is grace. Grace is an activity of God, it is how He gives himself to us. And we, while remaining human beings, are deified. There is two things about grace. It is at the same time to be “mine” and “divine.” Grace must be ‘mine’ otherwise it does not deify. Grace must be ‘divine’ otherwise it does not deify. We become by grace what God is by nature. We become like Him.
Grace might not bring you a huge crowd of angry students shouting at you in front of the MU but it is the Good News. Everybody loves good news.