Looking for Grace in all the Wrong Places

The problem today is that many Christians are not looking for God’s miraculous activity where he has promised it, namely, through his ordinary means of grace.  Through these means, he has pledged to raise us from spiritual death, to forgive sins, to assure us of God’s favor, and to conform us to Christ’s image.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 139-140

When We Tasted That, Our Hearts Were Transformed

When we are wronged, a little divine tuning fork rings in our hearts telling us that the balance of justice in the universe is off.  We feel nigh unto deity when we are righting the wrong.  We think when we restore the balance of justice, everyone will start behaving properly again.

That is a lie.  Is that how God changed us, by punishing us for our sins?  No.  God changed us by pouring out undeserved kindness on us.  When we tasted that, our hearts were transformed.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 115

Your Sins May Feel Innumerable

Your sins may feel innumerable and overwhelming to you, but they were all known to God individually before you existed.  Each one was specifically paid for before you ever thought or willed to commit it.  The sins you have not yet committed are already wiped out, atoned for and paid in full.  Jesus paid it all!

– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 196

The Collective Need to Repent and Confess

To be clear, I absolutely believe in our collective need to repent and confess our sins to one another (James 5:16).  I am only cautioning against doing so outside the context of the countervailing, scandalous nature of God’s unconditional love.  It is, after all, “God’s kindness [that] leads you toward repentance” (Romans 2:4), repentance being nearly synonymous with honesty.  The confidence that “there is no no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) is the engine that fuels honesty with one another, about both our ongoing sin and our ongoing suffering.  Fortunately, this is the good news that lies at the heart of the gospel.  But I disagree.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 71

Do Unto Others as has Been Done to You…

Are you in Christ, then God has forgiven you for all of your sins, past, present, and future. Jesus Christ shouted from the cross has his final words and triumphant victory, “it is finished!” At that moment, sin  was atoned for and sinners were forgiven.

Do you accept your forgiveness in Christ? Do you appreciate it? If so, then you should extend forgiveness as Christ did.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 157

In Christ, We Are Free From the Power and Penalty of Sin

Thankfully, in Christ, we are safe from our sins and the consequence of death. Because Jesus died, each of us come with a new life as a new person with new desires for the things of God, free from the penalty and power of sin. Because Jesus rose, we live spiritually alive and will one day rise physically from death, like Jesus to be with him and like him for ever.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 70

Now Hear This: Sin Cannot Be Managed With Proper Strategies

In this reconstruction of the problem, sins are deflected to others.  Even when we discover them in ourselves, they are easily treated merely as self-destructive behavior that can be managed with the proper strategies.

– Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 50

Now That’s Evangelism

And insofar as I do “deal with it” (allow him to love me by accepting his gift of forgiveness – free sins), something strange happens to my attitude toward them.  I find myself (despite myself) loving the other sinners, robbers and scoundrels who need love as much as I do.  And when I let it show in places where one doesn’t expect a Christian to show up, its called evangelism.

– Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At YouHoward Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 2391

God With Us

One of the names given to Christ Jesus was Emmanuel, or “God with us.”  Christ lived into his name.  He was “with us” in that he took on human flesh and walked among us.  He was “with us” in carrying both our sins and our sorrows to the cross.  When God raised this man, Jesus Christ, from the dead, he didn’t take away his scars.  These scars testify to his pain, to his love, and to the extent to which God will go to conquer the evil of the world through the active suffering of forgiveness.  Only through such active love can such scars of horror be transfigured into emblems of triumph…Pain does not have to have the last word.  Forgiveness can push out the borders of what we believe is possible.  Reconciliation can offer us a glimpse of the transfigured world to come.

-Catherine Claire Larson

as quoted by Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 843

The Evil Ways of Little Sins

Greater sins do sooner startle the soul, and awaken and rouse up the soul to repentance, than lesser sins do.  Little sins often slide into the soul and breed, and work secretly and indiscernibly in the soul, till they come to be so strong, as to trample upon the soul and to cut the throat of the soul.

– Thomas Brooks

as quoted by Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 210