Wednesday, May 31, 2017

COSTLY GRACE

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2 Corinthians 5:15 (NET)
And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised.


The capitulation of the German church to Hitler in the 1930s was shocking. How could the "church of Luther", that great teacher of the gospel, have ever come to such a place?

The answer is that the true gospel summed up by Bonhoeffer as costly grace, had been lost. On the one hand, the church was marked by formalism. That meant going to church and hearing that God just loves and forgives everyone, and so it does not really matter how you live. On the other hand, there was legalism, or salvation by law and good works, meaning God loves you because you have pulled yourself together and are striving to live a good, disciplined life.

Both of these messages made it possible for Hitler to come to power.

As one church, the German church lost hold of the brilliant gospel that Martin Luther had earlier expounded - "We are saved by faith alone, but not by faith which is alone". That is, we are saved, not by anything we do, but by grace. Yet, if we have truly received grace, it will change what we do and how we live".

By the time of Hitler's coming to power, much of the German church understood grace only as abstract acceptance "God forgives; that's his job." But we know that grace comes to us by costly sacrifice. And if God was willing to go to the cross and endure such a pain and absorb such a cost in order to save us, then we must live sacrificially as we serve others (Rom 12:1). So anyone who truly understands how God’s grace comes to us will have a changed life. That’s the gospel, not salvation by law, or by cheap grace, but by costly grace. Costly grace changes you from the inside out. Neither law nor cheap grace can do that.

[An excerpt of Tim Keller's Foreward to BONHOEFFER: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.]

Go into today asking the Lord to help you always live in the light of His true gospel. Pray for the Church in your nation.
-Dr Ebele UzorPeters
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