Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This week we follow our Christianity Explained course theme of Repentance: Ezekiel 36:25–27;Psalm 130; Acts 17:24–31; Mark 8:34–38 (Common Lectionary themes for Sunday 32 can be found here )

Dietrich Bonhoeffer tells us there is no such thing as Cheap Grace
"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, (it is) 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."
What do we make of the promises that we have been thinking about that come to us as free gift from God?
God is not just toying with us.
He is not suggesting that there is no such thing as a free lunch,
or that there is always a catch
but rather that now, having heard the promises of God:
For example the new heart promised by Ezekiel's God, or the washing away of sin,
the gift of abundant and eternal life
promise by Jesus to those who are born again
If we are to live out of these promises
then we are to live rather differently.
We cannot have a different quality of life
and just go on living as though nothing has changed.
This is Bonhoeffer's point... no cheap grace...
there are consequences
not because God is tricky
but because God wants us to live our lives well
If we want forgiveness, then we must act as if forgiven
We must live differently, we must forgive,
we need to confront our own darkness: sin, selfishness and evil
If we want God to be close
then we must live close to God
..prayer, worship service
will be the watchwords...
let's not play games.
Quality relationships?
Then let's love unconditionally.

This repentance, is about making a choice to live rather differently.
Not just about dealing with the bad stuff
(though it is that)
but also about living the faithful, humble, life of Christian integrity.
Stop playing games.

We remind ourselves again
God who is rich in mercy
out of the great love with which he loved us
even when we were dead through our trespasses
made us alive together with Christ.

May we choose to live out of that promise

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