Ordinary is not so Ordinary
December 27, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
At Reformed and Presbyterian churches, like Oak Hills, we like to talk about the “ordinary means of grace.” The phrase is adapted from the Westminster Standards, like Question 88 of the Shorter Catechism:
“Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?
- The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.”
The phrase and this question are addressing one of the most important aspects of Christian living. If God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3), how has he given us “all things” and how do we make use of all these things? The “ordinary means of grace” are the conduit of God extending his powerful grace into our lives.
The word “ordinary,” however, is so… ordinary. We want extraordinary. We want eye-catching. We want original. We want uniqueness.
But ordinary is so good for us. Let me explain.
- The Word Ordinary Emphasizes that God’s Grace is Dependable. God does not play hide-n-seek with his grace. There are no special incantations to make his grace work. God’s not waiting for us to perform just right before his extends grace. God is more committed to our spiritual success than we are. His grace is dependable because God is faithful and trustworthy. His grace is ordinary.
- The Word Ordinary Emphasizes that God’s Grace is Accessible. 2 Peter 1:3 goes on to say that “all things that pertain to life and godliness” are available “through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory.” God makes his powerful grace accessible to everyone through knowing him. Shorter Catechism Q. 88 mentions “Word, sacraments, and prayer” as means to know God and his saving power through Christ. God’s grace is accessible through these ordinary avenues.
- The Word Ordinary Emphasizes that God’s Grace is Everyday. God ‘s word and prayer are dependable and accessible everyday to us. We don’t have to wait for Sunday, or a favorite worship song, or a well-preached sermon, or a missions trip, or a special conference (although church is a necessary ordinary means of grace for God’s people). God has established these ordinary avenues, accessible everyday, to extend his grace to his people.
The Ordinary means of grace…. God’s extraordinary kindness is making his grace dependable, accessible and daily for us. Do you avail yourself of the ordinary access to God’s extraordinary grace?