I have heard people say “There but for the grace of God go I” many times. I must admit, I hate that phrase.
I imagine there are many who think it is biblical.
The reason I bring it up is because I was reading a commentary that said:
“And Paul goes on to say that when we see a man fall into a fault or sin, we would do well to say, ‘There but for the grace of God go I.'”
That irritates me because that quote isn’t from Paul, yet is worded to make it appear as though it were.
The main reason I don’t like this statement is because it makes sin God’s fault. God’s grace prevented me from sinning, but apparently God’s grace wasn’t given to you enough, so you totally blew it. Aint I special?!
This quote impugns God, displaces blame from the sinner, and turns the non-sinner into a self-righteous snob.
Now, sure, grace helps us overcome sin, don’t get me wrong, but not all overcome sin and it’s not the fault of God’s grace when sin wins out.
The phrase smacks of fatalism. I know it’s trying hard to be humble, but as with most admissions of humility, it is quite arrogant.
The phrase has been attributed to John Bradford, John Newton and Philip Neri, none of whom are the Apostle Paul, nor authors of Scripture.