Scott Sauls brings us a fresh perceptive on grace, God’s grace.
When I heard the news of this man’s conversion to Christianity, for a brief moment I thought to myself, “I’d almost rather be damned than spend eternity with someone like that.”
With self-hatred written all over him, Lou asked boldly, “Pastor, do you really think there could be room in Jesus’ family for someone like me? It seems so impossible.”
It’s hard to believe that this bully resembling Hitler ended up writing one-third of the New Testament, isn’t it? It’s hard to believe that through grace, his violence was transformed to gentleness, his vitriol to tenderness, his sword to a healing salve, his racism and violence to reconciliation, and his rage to love. It’s hard to believe that eventually he, too, would be imprisoned and mercilessly executed for his faith in Jesus.
So then, there are really two possible “Christian” responses to a perpetrator:
On the one hand, if a perpetrator demonstrates no sorrow or restitution for her or his abuses, the faithful response is to keep a safe personal distance while also confronting the evil by all means possible. Victims can also prayerfully celebrate that God, who will ultimately judge all and punish all evil, will achieve a complete and satisfying justice in due time… …
On the other hand, if a perpetrator demonstrates proven sorrow – a sorrow that endures, and that is accompanied by restitution, wherever possible, of what has been taken from the victims – she or he may be viewed as a candidate for grace… …
More from Scott Sauls on grace and forgiveness here.
Costly grace and why it costs go much from Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.
Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.
Perspectives on grace from Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship):
Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Cheap Grace from Got Questions dot Org,
Cheap grace seeks to hide the cost of discipleship from people. It seeks to claim that as long as we make a profession of faith, we are saved. God’s grace covers all our sins. Again, that is a wonderful truth! The apostle Paul says as much when he writes, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21). Yet, right after writing that, Paul follows it with this: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). Salvation by grace alone through faith alone is so much more than simply mouthing the words “Jesus is Lord.” We are not saved by a profession of faith. We are not saved by praying the Sinner’s Prayer. We are not saved by signing a card or walking an aisle. We are saved by a living and active faith (James 2:14-26), a faith that manifests itself in repentance, obedience and love of God and our neighbor. Salvation is not a transaction; it’s a transformation. Paul says it best when he says we are “new creations” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). There is nothing “cheap” about grace!
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Eternity: a vast concept to contemplate. But there is more, He put eternity into man’s heart. What does that mean, to have eternity in our hearts? How deep is that? How vast? How awesome?
It is mysterious–definitely! God, in putting His truth, His wisdom in us, blessed and anointed us.
None of us know the ways of God, but from this simple passage we understand that He pursues and puts in our hearts something of value to Him. “Eternity in our hearts” is the all-encompassing, vast plan of God. We are included. We are blessed because we are included. Relish that today.
3:11 The Message
True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going.
Guess what Dan Allender throws at you here: God, too is focused on the Hearts of Men and He is coming after you! His coming is good and gracious. Believe it! Believe Allender.
I Need the Every Hour! Do We?
Listen to the end–grandiose finale. Read more of this post