Most of us have seen the youtube videos of deaf people hearing for the first time. Sometimes the person involved lost his hearing at a young age and hasn’t heard for many years, and sometimes the people were born deaf. In any case, they have had some kind of procedure that now allows them to hear, such as, I suppose, a cochlear implant.
These are such emotional events, and I am sure that those who watch these videos often cry as they watch the joy on the faces of these people who hear the voice of their loved ones for the first time.
But there is always a problem. The medical people ask the deaf person how things sound. The person always says that the voices sound strange. He says that the sounds are loud or echo, or the person describes them in some other strange way. The joy of hearing was mixed with confusion.
The medical people assure the patient that it will get better. They tell the deaf person that it takes time. The person’s brain has to adjust to what he is hearing. It can be said that learning to hear takes practice.
My daughter Kathryn and I have watched some of these together. She remarked to me that this is a great illustration of how many people respond to Free Grace teaching. She is absolutely correct.
Grace often sounds strange to unbelievers. The gospel of grace goes against their view of religion. But grace teaching can also sound strange to believers.
The Lord says in Rev 2:7 that as Christians we need to open our ears to what He teaches the Church through His Word: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” But this takes time.
But for many, it also takes practice. How did you respond when you first heard Free Grace teaching? Perhaps you came from a legalistic background. Perhaps you came from a church that taught Lordship salvation. Perhaps you attended an Arminian church.
But then you heard, for the first time, the truth about grace. Someone explained James 2 or phrases like “you will know them by their fruit” and “take up your cross and follow me.” Then you were taught the truth about the parable of the four soils or about eternal rewards. In the case of unbelievers, what about the first time somebody told them they could be absolutely sure they had eternal life and that eternal life was something they could have now?
In your case, what did that sound like? Do you remember? I can guess. It sounded strange. It was confusing. It was like you were hearing something for the first time. It was like the youtube videos of people with new cochlear implants.
But you know what happened. You put this new hearing to work. You practiced hearing it through personal study and hearing grace taught. And it got better and better. You developed an “ear to hear.”
How sad would it have been if you had not done that? Imagine how strange it would be if one of these people with a new cochlear implant told the medical people, “Look, it sounds too strange. I don’t want to listen any more. I just want to remain in silence.” That is what it would have been like if we had rejected the truth of God’s grace. God’s grace opened our ears to the truth of the Scriptures.
We need to keep that in mind when we help others on that path. Most of us have experienced this. We tell others about grace. We tell them about eternal life as an absolutely free gift. We tell them about the wonders of God’s grace and assurance. With a believer, we might teach them about eternal rewards. In all of these cases, we are often told, “That sounds so strange.”
Remember to have patience. Encourage them. As long as a person is willing to listen, the teachings of grace will soon not sound strange at all, but will make a beautiful sound.