Now although everyone knows what is meant by Beauty, Goodness, and
Truth, it is impossible to visualize them as absolute values. We can
visualize a beautiful thing, but not beauty; a good man, but not
goodness; a true fact, but not truth. -
Phillips, J. B., Your God is too Small, MacMillan
Publishing Co., 866
Third Ave, New York, NY 10022, p. 72
Gradations of Grace in Christendom
We can, of course, say the same thing as above about grace.
In its development of theology during the last two millennia, Christianity
has generated about a handful of doctrines with different levels of
grace for God.
G0 - The first level of grace in God is not much grace at all. God is seen as
a God of justice to whose will we must submit and obey. At some point we
must become perfect in our obedience and performance. Almost no Christian believes
this, or will admit it.
G1 - The second level of grace is that God forgives sins of weakness
indefinitely as long as we are striving, which demonstrates his grace, but he does not forgive
deliberately considered or planned sins.
G2 - The third level of grace is that God will even forgive deliberately
planned sins, when the person sincerely repents, but we must continue to
strive for perfection of behavior. He cannot ever
forgive alienating the Holy Spirit.
G3 - The fourth level of grace has God forgiving anything and everything
when the person fully acknowledges that he was, is, and will be a
sinner, and then accepts the substitution of Christ's merits for his own.
God's grace continues as long as the person somehow stays on the path of
sanctification, growing more righteous in his behavior.
G5 - The fifth level of grace has God not giving up on anyone, and
having a plan to ultimately save everyone.
Every human being has merit and unlimited potential merit. Merit is not
the issue. It is our sin, our wrong concept of the nature and character
of God and our perverse clinging to it, that must be eliminated, and no
sham bookkeeping entry of righteousness or pretension of justification