December 20, 2014

iMonk Classic: Preaching Grace is Risky Business

Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said that if we didn’t get complaints that we’d gone too far and said too much, then we probably haven’t really preached the Gospel of grace. That’s been my experience. Almost every time that I preach a strong sermon on justification by grace through faith, by Christ and apart from the works of the law, I get complaints. I just thought I would say a few things about that.

1) Young people have a difficult time understanding grace. I think that young people are so used to living in a world of rules and grades, so used to competition and being told to be good/do right, that the Gospel is hard for them to understand. I’ve been around youth evangelism my whole life, and I believe about 98% of the “decisions” I’ve witnessed were brought about by messages that were legalistic and moralistic, not Gospel centered. These are kids who think about the Christian life as “living for God,” not as “Christ died for me and I will never deserve that.” They are like the workers in the Vineyard who are really hacked off that the owner paid those last minute workers the same wage.

2) Another reason young people struggle with the Gospel of grace is that they’ve been the primary focus of all the cultural warfare Christians talk about. It’s in their lives that all the issues of morality and cultural decline really come to the forefront. When you hear that sort of “do good/be good/don’t be like the world” message, the Gospel of God justifying sinners really sounds dangerous.

3) I think it’s provable again and again that what we are comfortable saying to an unbeliever, we aren’t comfortable saying to a Christian. The Gospel is for Christians, too. We love the story of the Prodigal son. Now, what about the day after the party? What if the son messed up again in a week? What if he doesn’t live the life of a grateful son? Or to be more realistic, what if he sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t? Does that change the Father? Does the older brother get to come back into the story and say “Aha!! I was right!” Christ died for the sins of Christians, and we need to hear that over and over again.

4) We really don’t believe grace can conform our lives to Christ more effectively than law. I mean we don’t. We think we need the law to keep us in line. Especially, we think we need the terrors of the law to frighten us into being good Christians. It’s the “law/grace/law” model. This kind of legalism just overruns Christianity. It usually comes in a less than recognizable form, saying we need “exhortation,” etc. because we have a tendency to drift back into sin. I’m reminding of Paul’s words to the Galatians: 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith. 6 just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness? I’m not sure we get it yet.

5) Here’s one always sure to get a rise out of evangelicals. “Once you are justified by faith, you can do what you want. And if you want to do all the things you did before you knew Jesus, then you just don’t get it.” The idea that we can do what we want just gets everyone nervous. But what is the alternative? Being somehow forced to do what we don’t want to do? I sin because parts of me still want to sin. I obey Jesus because parts of me really want to do that. It’s a bummer. (Read Romans 7) I believe there is some hope the situation will change, but not until I’m dead! The prodigal came home and did what he wanted. So did the woman in John 8 who Jesus said he didn’t condemn. So did Peter when he denied Jesus and then repented.

6) How does grace change us? The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart, the mind of Christ, new affections. We are changed and the promises of sanctification and perseverance are true. But the law can’t PRODUCE anything worthwhile in my life as a Christian. It’s either there because Jesus is my treasure and I choose him over the world and the flesh, or it’s not worth being there at all. The law can really do a great job on the externals, but grace gives me Jesus and only cares about fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit. Sorry to all the preachers and Christians trying to control people. I suggest you give up.

Comments

  1. Great post. As Tullian Tchividjian often says, “If you want to make people mad, preach law. If you want to make people really mad, preach the Gospel.”

  2. > 1 Young people have a difficult time understanding grace.

    This is also just part of the natural narcissism of youth. If I look back at my own ‘religious life’ when I was young there is a lot of “Really?” When you are young it is very hard not to believe you are terribly terribly important and awesome [while at the very same time loathing yourself[. I do not miss youth, it was exhausting.

    > 2) …young people struggle with the Gospel of grace …they’ve been the primary focus of all the cultural
    > warfare Christians talk about….. the Gospel of God justifying sinners really sounds dangerous

    Absolutely. American Church like often sounds like an episode of any given ABC Family network show. But preachers and theologians need to be more careful – and up to date – with their language. Saying “the Gospel of God justifying sinners” with the modern meaning of “justifying” I don’t think says what they think it does. That translates to “God says Bobby is not responsible for how he treats Susan”; that is what “justify” means. Nobody is going to buy that message – because it is not true. And it isn’t the Gospel. When I “justify” myself I am making a claim that responsibility lies elsewhere, that I have no moral foul. Justify == excuse. The word is not longer appropriate.

    > 3) I think it’s provable again and again that what we are comfortable saying to an unbeliever, we aren’t
    > comfortable saying to a Christian. … Christ died for the sins of Christians, and we need to hear that over
    > and over again.

    Yep. But then there is the victory-over-sin sermon. How come *I* don’t have victory over sin? Those are the ultimate guilt trip sermons but wrapped in positivity

    > 4) We really don’t believe grace can conform our lives to Christ more effectively than law. I mean we don’t.
    > We think we need the law to keep us in line..

    Or we at least need to the law to keep the other guy in line.

    > 5) Here’s one always sure to get a rise out of evangelicals. “Once you are justified by faith, you can do what
    > you want….

    This is where evangelicalism / post-evangelicalism gets into the weeds for me; and why I am probably neither.
    (a) I could do whatever I wanted before, this scenario makes salvation seem like it exists in the details.
    (b) “I sin because parts of me still want to sin. I obey Jesus because parts of me really want to do that. It’s a bummer.” A bummer? I take sin more seriously than that. Sin hurts people. It isn’t just about me [which may be the real root of my break with evangelical theology]. My sin casts pain and darkness on everyone around me. The very much saved alcoholic who slams his car into the lady getting her mail isn’t a “bummer”. Grace is big, in part because sin and evil are big, making lite of evil makes Grace small.

    > 6) How does grace change us? The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart, the mind of Christ, new affections. …
    > the law can’t PRODUCE …Sorry to all the preachers and Christians trying to control people. I suggest you give up.

    Well put.

  3. “The Gospel is for Christians, too. We love the story of the Prodigal son. Now, what about the day after the party? What if the son messed up again in a week? What if he doesn’t live the life of a grateful son? Or to be more realistic, what if he sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t? Does that change the Father? Does the older brother get to come back into the story and say “Aha!! I was right!” Christ died for the sins of Christians, and we need to hear that over and over again”

    Bingo! Good timing on this post. Just had a slew of doubt the other night, wrote in my journal:

    I have a question. My heart has been overwhelmed with all the ways I have failed to live out my faith. When I placed my trust in Jesus, accepted Him into my heart, all my sins were banished, forgiven…Wonderful.
    What haunts me now are the sins I have committed as Christian.
    Is is possible that I am cut off from grace because of all the sinning I have done as His child?
    Looking back tonight on my journey with Christ I feel much regret & sorrow.
    I keep thinking: I should have known better, I should have done better… What if I pushed God too far?

    Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

    • “Is is possible that I am cut off from grace because of all the sinning I have done as His child?”

      No.

      Luther has this great notion that we are simultaneously saints and sinners; justified (I’m still using thy word even if it no longer means what I ink it means) and fallen. It means that even though we are new creations in Christ we are still children of this world, still apt to make the same bad decisions and still miss the mark over and over again regardless of our intentions. Grace still comes to us. Grace still envelops us. God is the father who promises to love us no matter what – and does.

      We are not magically made perfect in thoughts, words and deeds by following Jesus any more than the apostles were. What we are promised is grace. I find that comforting beyond all measure because I screw up pretty much every other minute.

      • B.C. Kemp: I find it comforting also… I will ponder what you have said, seems to good to be true, yet so full of hope that my heart is enveloped by wonder.

    • Bill Metzger says:

      In Romans 7 Paul is speaking in the PRESENT TENSE (participle: continuous, on going action). He’s writing Romans AFTER he became a Christian, and yet he simply cannot stop sinning. He WANTS to be pure an obedient, but he’s not. The two Greek words used in Romans 7 are PRASSO ans POIEO- to practice or do sin. Paul isn’ tmerely feeling sinful tendencies, he’s actually sinning. It’s the reality of what Luther calls SIMUL JUSTUS ET PECCATOR- we are sinners and saints at the same time. Romans 7 follows Romans 6, where Paul asks the question,”Shall we go on sinning so that grace will abound? By no means! We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?” And yet in chapter 7, he says that he can’t stop sinning! As long as sin is a battle against your will, the Holy Spirit is alive and dwelling in you. And yes, you ARE a Christian! I struggle with this daily. What a comfort. Romans 5:20!!!

      • Bill,

        I’m listening!

        Romans 5: 20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more

    • Your sin can NEVER cut you off from Christ. Never. Anybody who tells you otherwise is the voice of the devil. Except one; the once sin that can cut you off is unbelief. Now it stands true that all sins are an expression of unbelief, BUT as Christians who are simultaneously saint and sinner, we are also simultaneously believing and doubting. Its an awful tension to live with, but rest assured that as long as you are not ok with your sin, it is because you still believe what God has said. Your faith has made you well.

      Make every effort to be around things that strengthen faith. Churches who focus on Christ build faith, those who focus on anything else undermine it. Having somebody you can talk to about your doubts, fears, and failures who will always accept you at your worst and assure you of full forgiveness in Christ can be a tremendous aid. If your pastor can’t do this, for the love of God, find one who will.

      • Miguel,

        Thank-you!

        This: Your sin can NEVER cut you off from Christ. Never. Anybody who tells you otherwise is the voice of the devil, you are the second person in the last 24 hours that has said that…

  4. “We really don’t believe grace can conform our lives to Christ more effectively than law. I mean we don’t. We think we need the law to keep us in line.”

    NO! NO! NO! We all know we don’t live by the law. It’s ‘christian living principles’ that we live by!! Christian finance, christian health, christian ‘christianity’ … all principles to live by to be a better christian. Change your actions and your heart will follow and you will get good rewards (2 Chor 5:10).

    • Randy Thompson says:

      “Christian living principles”?

      Hmmm. Same legal song, second verse.

      As to actions changing one’s heart, Jesus tells us it works the other way around. What you actually do reflects your heart. Sometimes that’s encouraging; often, it’s not. The only thing that really changes hearts is God’s love, and that comes from taking the time to cultivate a relationship with God, not in mastering principles. As motivators, principles get old, and get old fast. God’s love doesn’t get old.

      • + 1

      • > As to actions changing one’s heart, Jesus tells us it works the other way around. What you
        > actually do reflects your heart.

        No, I disagree.

        (a) this notion conceptualizes the “heart” as a unified thing. But the human heart isn’t. It can desire competing things, it can drive and action at the same time it regrets that action.
        (b) There *is* real truth in ‘parochial morality’. The be-good-and-good-things-will-happen-to-you. To deny parochial morality is absurd. If you keep quiet, study, work hard, behave in a chaste manner – things may very well go better for you than otherwise. It is not causal, it doesn’t mean they will. And it doesn’t mean you won’t get hit by a bus tomorrow morning or be diagnosed with cancer. But it contributes to a better life more so that being a lay-about, a drunkard, a thug, or a womanizer. For those there often *is* a real natural comeuppance. I’d go so far to say ‘usually’, just not always [being in a position of power is certainly useful in avoiding the natural consequences of one’s actions, here parochial morality very much falls down]. Parochial morality is true and good, but only for so far as it goes.
        (c) Everyone who trains, practices, or exercises devotions of any kind knows – actions DO change the heart. They can change your automatic responses – that is what training is for. And what you choose to watch, read, etc… will drive you, albeit sometimes very slowly, in one direction or another. Those things will not rewrite the heart, but the heart can be changed by action.

        But, ultimately, salvation is an act of Mercy. Mercy is not about what someone deserves, it is about what they need.

        The problem with the split lens of grace/law or faith/works theology is that it gets twisted into knots trying to deal with reality. There are some who can articulate it very clearly (some of those on this site certainly qualify) but in the hands of most expounders / orators it becomes a tangled mess – or they get fuddled into saying things they don’t mean, such as letting evil off the hook or excusing sin. I just wonder how really useful it is, after ~20 years of reading and listening to the saved-by-works-vs-saved-by-faith debate [and various groups playing the my-message-is-more-gospel-than-your-message card].

    • Pshaw on your “Christian” finance! Why, we only do “BIBLICAL” finance. Biblical health. Biblical Christianity,…

      • Now, the new buzzword is Gospel finance, Gospel community, Gospel missions, Gospel living – once one word gets over-used, the editors just slap on another one.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Like “Political” in classic Marxspeak?

        • GOSPEL is the new BIBLICAL!

          In reformed circles. In Charismatic circles, it’s SPIRIT LED. Into the junk drawer they go with other universal adjectives who no longer retain their original meaning. Like four letter words.

    • Bobson,

      I need some help here I don’t know what book your are referring to. What is: 2 Chor 5:10.

      And for the record, I did change my actions, for about fourteen years. I was disciplined in prayer, fasting, bible memorizing, serving, blah blah blah and Jesus didn’t change me. I was skilled at: Pretending that I wasn’t a mess.

      While spending time with Christians/believers that portrayed that they were finished products. Jesus had made them better, or at least, that is what they presented. I now suspect now that we were all trying to be biblical while choking back tears, doubts & fear. If I have misread what you said, then I am sorry. But your words came across a tad harsh.

      Bobson, Have you ever considered that when you get behind the scenes of any life, that there is just human humanity, doubts, and struggle? Especially if God allows unimaginable pain, a Christian daughters rape a darling husband who has suffered for years from a chronic disease… I could go on & on…. Just wondering. Is it as simple as changing my actions?

      • > And for the record, I did change my actions, for about fourteen years. I was disciplined in prayer,
        > fasting, bible memorizing, serving, blah blah blah and Jesus didn’t change me. I was skilled at:
        > Pretending that I wasn’t a mess.

        Why the derogatory term “pretending”? Of course you are a mess, we all are. But minus the disciples would you me even messier [of course we won’t know]. Did you get *nothing* out of them? Part of the role of devotions is mess containment and to illustrate to us our messiness.

        And as for “serving” – your fellow man and society thank you. The world would be a tangibly better place if more people served their communities. So I at least say: Thank you, for whatever you did.

        > While spending time with Christians/believers that portrayed that they were finished products.

        That is sad. But I also don’t see an upside to people constantly vomiting their issues and problems at every turn into every situation. Those circles aren’t healthy either. Decorum serves a purpose, and it is not merely “pretending”.

        > Jesus had made them better, or at least,

        Perhaps he had.

        > that is what they presented. I now suspect now that we were all
        > trying to be biblical while choking back tears, doubts & fear.

        No doubt.

        Can’t both these things be true?

        • Sure, both can be true. I wasn’t trying to use the word pretending as derogatory… Forgive me, I am not as quick on my feet as I was when I was younger. There is no way you can truly understand my life or my story with Christ. There is no way you can know the years I tried so hard to serve/please Him and failed to measure up to the perfection standard at the church I attended.

          Just as I do not know where you have walked… Please, just extend some mercy, you don’t know me.

          I debated rather to respond to you.

          I hold onto to the thin string of hope that God see’s everything, He knows your heart through & through and He knows mine…

          If I didn’t hold that in mind I would lose hope. He once did one of those wonderful or odd ways in which He spoke to me after I cried out:

          Why do you complain, Jacob?
          Why do you say, Israel,
          “My way is hidden from the Lord;
          my cause is disregarded by my God”?
          28 Do you not know?
          Have you not heard?
          The Lord is the everlasting God,
          the Creator of the ends of the earth.
          He will not grow tired or weary,
          and his understanding no one can fathom.

          His understanding no one can fathom…

          You asked: Did you get *nothing* out of them? Part of the role of devotions is mess containment and to illustrate to us our messiness.

          Maybe I did, but I just can’t see it. I am a slow learner. But, I kept keeping on, even though I felt He had shut me out, or perhaps He was disappointed in me, cause I just couldn’t make the grade…. Heck I don’t know. All I knew was life just kept bringing it on, one damn thing after another… And if that sounds like vomiting, I needed folks who have suffered, and would let me share & cry and folks who had been through the mill to speak… Please just pray for me.

        • I guess my response to you ended up in moderation…

    • Bill Metzger says:

      NO ONE lives according to Christian principles. Just another lie of the Law.

      • Well, we do live according to some of them, some of the time, and the results are generally good for us. Having refrained from murder and theft has kept me on fairly good terms with society at large. The problem is that the Bible is too often used as a secret codebook for successful living. “Follow these tips and it will go well with you” is simultaneously true and false. To the extent we can avoid sin our lives are better off, but no good deed goes unpunished, and we pretty much suck at avoiding sin anyways.

    • I was allergic to “Christian Rules And Principles” (a just acronym, to boot!) until I heard a sermon by arminian Adrian Rogers. I hate that approach to theology, but he gave a sermon on 5 principles on something, and it was outstanding! Here’s why: 50 years ago, “Biblical principles” were TRUTHS ABOUT GOD. They were foundations of reality which you could build your life on. These days, when people talk about “Biblical Principles,” they mean “easy steps to a good life.” It’s not about God anymore, it’s about us. It became Christless spiritual prosperity narcissism. Not sure when the switch happened.

      • It makes me think of that worship song making the rounds, which has the refrain “God works all for MY good”. Other than than, it is a nice song, but that is not an accurate rendering of Romans 8:28.

  5. People get mad when they hear that “Christians can do what they want”.

    But in reality, everyone pretty much does that anyway.

    Those who say, ‘but you just can’t live anyway you want!’ certainly live anyway that they want.

    • Good point. You might even say “you can’t live any way you don’t want!” In order for our actions to follow suit, we have to desire something first.

  6. I think the real reason why many Christians avoid grace and embrace legalism is becuase it becomes a pedestal from which they can boast about themself. It allows them to be elitest and condescending. That’s why many straight evangelicals harp about homosexuality. They are not gay so it’s easy to rip on something they don’t deal with. It’s also why males harp on abortion…they are not the one who will care the child long term, and they can harp in some patriarchial mindset and condemn the female.

    • “That’s why many straight evangelicals harp about homosexuality. They are not gay so it’s easy to rip on something they don’t deal with.”

      Unfortunately, this is probably true.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Don’t remember where I read this one, but…

        “We reserve Our Righteous Anger for those sins we have absolutely no chance of every committing.”

        “Homosexuality? Tobacco? Alcohol? No prob. But shift to Caffiene Addiction and I start defending the Separartion of Church and Starbucks.”

    • Actually, I know more men who are pro-choice because they don’t want to pay child support. My experience is women are less reticent to care for a new life then deadbeat dads are to man up and pay. Most women I know who have had abortions were pressured into it by the father. Why do you suppose that is?

      I new life is not an inconvenience, it is a gift. I think women more readily recognize this. The situation I most often see is a couple gets a pregnancy and the women thinks “great! we’re a family now” and the guy thinks “dam, the fun is over. head for the hills!”

      I know it’s not all black and white, there are many career minded women who don’t have time to raise kids. But of the many people I know who have had abortions, none of them fit that mold. Just my experience.

    • It’s sinful, human nature. If we save ourselves, then we call the shots.

  7. One other thing I didn’t hear when I was a Christian is the importance of grace. And I would think grace becomes more important to a person when they age. Why…? You have to live with your mistake. For example…it’s one thing if you get someone pregnant and pay for an abortion at 25. It’s another thing to be 55 and still be carrying the guilt from that abortion 30 years late. I’m amazed that grace isn’t taught as much.

    • Perhaps older ministers do this better, but our cultural obsession with youth generally prevents them from having the kind of platform a tall fit dude in his prime can enjoy. Wherever you see celebrity worship displacing pastoral care, odds are grace isn’t what’s selling the franchise.

  8. “Once you have been justified by faith, you can do what you want”. It seems like more needs to be said about this, like the sentence isn’t quite complete. You can do what you want and still…what? Get into heaven? Is that what is implied by the statement? Of course Christians can do what we want – we all have free will – but what is the point being made?

    • Wed are free in Christ. “All things are lawful” (for the sake of righteousness)

      ‘The good we do won’t save us, and the evil that we do won’t condemn us.’

      All because of Jesus and His Cross. That’s why it is Good News!

      • I believe sin is something that not only needs to be forgiven by God, but it is something that we need to be healed of. So the freedom in Christ involves no so much the removal of guilt caused by sin, but the removal of sinfulness itself. That’s why it is confusing to me to say that “we can do whatever we want”. We certainly will sin after becoming Christian, but sin must be repented of and struggled against in order for true healing to take place, which is salvation.

        • I agree, Clay. We do struggle with sin and repent of it. But we will continue in it, all throughout our lives.

          If we are able to squash one, another popes up in it’s place. The real problem ‘sin’, has been dealt with by God. “It is finished”. But the symptoms, ‘sin(s)’ persist until that day when we are translated into Heaven.

    • The good we do will not save us. And the evil that we do will not condemn us. (in Christ)

      That’s the point.

  9. Galatians: 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by *works of the law* or by *hearing with faith*? *- added

    Can someone explain why, since we are saved by grace (God’s gift to us), and we receive the Spirit by “hearing with faith” (not works of the law), do Calvinists (perhaps Lutherans too, I don’t know) seem to link any sort of Spiritual revival with repentance. First, that sounds so formulaic and legalistic and secondly, I have been to a revival where absolutely none of that was required to receive the Holy Spirit – in fact, it was after people received the Holy Spirit that some felt convicted to ask for forgiveness, not prior. It has always struck me as odd for people to preach non-law attained Grace/Spirit, then turn around and insist on repentance to access the Spirit. Perhaps that is another reason why youth don’t follow the grace teachings. First, we are saved by Grace alone, next we must do x, y, or z to actually access this type of Grace.

    • Calvinists? Lutherans? I recognize the scenario you are painting, but I found it in the Wesleyan-Arminian-Revivalist camps. Lutherans absolutely do not do revival stuff. Calvinists were very involved in the Great Awakening, but the bait-n-switch of FREE SALVATION – now get to work – is something I ran from in non-reformed circles.

      • I am not sure exactly how each denomination lines up so I’ll just give my experiences- first, it was a Calvinist-Baptist youth/young adult leader (back in the late 90s) telling us kids we needed to repent first.

        A new youth/young-adult leader at our church, who was a Calvinist/Baptist guy told us this. With the former youth leader we had had what I guess you could call a huge revival in our youth group. So, when we got the new guy we were not that impressed. He told us “you need to repent for God to come” stuff. And we were all sitting there scratching our heads, since we had never been made to sit around and repent before praying for each other before. I was younger and not too wise. Now, I see that this new guy had no clue about how to bring a revival, impart the power we were used to, honestly, who would? But at the time, we just did what he said, and then we were annoyed with him, since we never got beyond repenting in a circle (not that we were taking it that seriously, we were waiting for the prayer time to begin and viewed his stuff as a distraction, the new pastor viewed what he was doing as the main event).

        Since then, I have never heard of having to repent/clear the air before the Holy Spirit can come down from non-Calvinists (Vineyard – Canadian), the other churches I have gone to have not sought any sort of revival/Holy Spirit movement type prayer.

        Lately, I have heard this again from Calvinists, about a year or so ago, our very YRR-loving Calvinist pastor told us that if we would come to the front and repent we could have a revival. I have heard this from a few Calvinist on-line sites/comments too and just thought it didn’t line up well with their general idea that G_d does what he wants and we can’t cause him to do anything.

        It is Interesting you have heard this from non-Calvinists, I have never heard this except from Calvinists. Maybe it is just coincidence then, or not specifically Calvinist teachings about revivals?

        Why wouldn’t Lutherans do revival? Not even a Lutheran revival?

        • Revivals are predicated upon the idea of free will and influencing people to make a decision for Christ. Lutheran theology rejects free will in that sense. We would say that apart from the work of the Holy Spirit repentance is impossible.

          Always be wary of what Baptists tell you about the Reformed faith. They’re not the genuine original, even if they’re very Calvinish. Real Reformed baptize infants and have church synods.

    • Both Lutherans and Calvinists teach that regeneration precedes faith. And the regeneration is monerigstic. It is a regenerated soul and has faith and repentance.

      • that has faith and repentance……sorry

      • If by “faith” you mean the believers response to God’s grace, then I agree. However, Lutherans confess that we cannot in any way by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ or come to him. It is only the action of God – what Luther calls faith – that brings forth the new creature in each of us, freely justified by grace. Yes, it is monergistic if you want to use the term. To equate the faith God works in the believer with the Calvinist Ordo Salutis and the resulting understanding of regeneration, though, goes beyond what Luther and Lutherans teach. It is a small but important distinction, and given the weight of theological terms we ought to treat those distinctions carefully.

        • I would agree with you but would also say that Luthers thinking on the subject in the Bondage of the will is much closer the the Calvinist Ordo Salutis than most Lutheran thought today.

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “It’s a risky business going out your door, Frodo. You never know where it might take you.” — Bilbo Baggins

  11. Rob Grayson says:

    And this is why I miss Michael Spencer so much.

  12. Knitting Jenny says:

    Another reason young people struggle with the Gospel of grace is that they’ve been the primary focus of all the cultural warfare Christians talk about. It’s in their lives that all the issues of morality and cultural decline really come to the forefront. When you hear that sort of “do good/be good/don’t be like the world” message, the Gospel of God justifying sinners really sounds dangerous.

    Some of the most self-righteous and judgemental people we have in our church are college students. They have such a big problem with grace that every time one of them comes out of a spiritual valley they get rebaptized.

  13. Interesting. Of course the Reformers didn’t try to give up controling people. Remember, Luther supported expelling Jews from their homes and burning their synagogues if they didn’t convert. And Calvin—Geneva was a model for trying to control people after the consistory took over. So the Reformation doesn’t help us here.

  14. When grace is bought and paid for, we want to add our part with effort. We have been tought that when you receive a gift we should give one in return. The problem is Christ gave his life and we don’t want to give that much back. Therefor we think our action under the law should be enough.

  15. Thankyou and here is another article which I enjoyed that addresses Grace

    http://www.thechristiannetwork.com/cheap-grace-dietrich-bonhoeffer/

    God Bless

  16. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you – Jesus Christ

    I suggest listening to Christ not men (in any form). Jesus treats sin VERY seriously. Gouge your eye out if you continue to look at women with lust like their a bit of meat for your pleasure. You would be better to do that than end up in hell. Cappernum (hometown) think your going to heaven? NOPE your going to hell. You didnt repent even when miracles where done – you lot are toast.

    Woman about to be stoned. Jesus doesnt stone or condem her…but leaves her with the ommenece warning… now go and elave your life of sin.

    I promise you Jesus Christ doesnt say its ok just keep sining nothing can be done the law is worthless. No He dies to set you free from sin. He then expects you to obey. If you dont then your answer is in his words above or outlined in Hebrews clearly.

    As Christ says..any on the day of judgement will say Lord Lord, but only those that actually do Gods will are getting in.

    Beware nomalism. The devil gets more through nominalsim than those confessing saved by works. Even though we are by the way recreated TO DO good works. Just as CHrist does ..morning till night.

    Spoken by the Editor of http://www.thechristiannetwork.com (an ex alcholic womaninsing drug addict soldier/business man – who know through the obediance associated with COSTLY grace, now no longer drinks takes drugs womanises and crys at the mere thought of sin. Now a nurse and Pastor) Real GRace is not cheap. Real Grace is not a dont worry be happy notion. Real Grace is realising your headed for hell bucko. Now what are you going to do? Kneel Confess, repent, weep and change through Gods given power. Or sit on your fat backside, watching TV giving an ant while sawlloing a camel and preaching the cheapest notion of Grace every taught.

    As Billy Graham rightly stated – It Cost God is Son, It cost Jesus his life, it will cost you your life. It is not free. Its given when you deny your sinful life take up your cross and follow. See Peter (crusified) Paul (beheaded) Bonhoeffer (executed) , Hudson Taylor (lost family members), David Livingstone (lion bit off arm), as just a few role models. The blind will follow the blind. Choose your guide carefully.

    Hearing a message of give up you cant not sin is not the message of 1John that states if God is in you wont continue to sin. Maybe I should just go back to having sex with good looking women and drinking and driginv a sorts car? (all the way to hell). Ill choose the Holy life thanks and yes Heaven waits. The wages of sin is death and Paul speaks (as many theologians also testify) of his life BEFORE Christ in Romans Chapter 7, THEN introdu es the cure in Chapter 8.