Going Deeper 03.01.2021
Here is an excerpt from yesterday's message...

Perhaps we can understand what Bonhoeffer is challenging here is the all-too-common belief among Christians that Christianity is all about worship (i.e. going to church) and not so much about following Jesus. But in truth, Jesus always comes asking disciples to follow him--not merely "accept him," not merely "believe in him," not merely "worship him," but to follow him.

Bonhoeffer juxtaposes cheap grace with costly grace, which he describes as being costly because it calls us to follow, and 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, it is grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because to cost God the life of His Son… and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us… it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life.”

A few minutes ago, I described the relationship between the two sides of the repentance ‘coin’ as being organic. Here is what I mean. When we are led to see that our following of Jesus as not only our Savior, but also as Lord, has most likely been far from adequate this can create the remorse side of repentance, which prepares us to experience the healing of grace, which then—by the power of the Holy Spirit—fills us with gratitude and love and moves us to respond to grace with a willingness, a desire, to follow and to obey the law of Jesus—the law of love.

This is what some describe as being the circular logic of our theology. It all ties together. One side of repentance moves us to recognize our great need for grace, and the experiencing of that grace moves us to follow the One who saved us. In other words, as we experience Jesus as our Savior, we’re inspired and empowered to follow Him as our Lord, as the One whom we obey.

Finally, here is one more important truth for us to grasp: Jesus does not force or coerce us to respond to grace by seeking to follow Him with increasing devotion. He calls and invites us, and He promises to send His Spirit to facilitate our following, but He will not force this to happen. We must decide. And we must decide over and over and over again... every day!

With You on the Journey,
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington
"Gratefully Growing Servants"