Gleanings – Grace Meets Us Where We Are and Refuses to Leave Us There

1 Peter 1:1-12

“Chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ.”

Sanctified for obedience? This expectation for ourselves and other followers of Jesus is out of favor these days. I am following a blog that is considering known and admitted misconduct, like marital infidelity. When it is said that those engaged in it should step down from church leadership, it is met with a righteous indignation. An undeniable biblical teaching of loving discipline that leads to restoration is all but dismissed out of hand. After all, it is argued pastors are not police and grace trumps all. And of course if someone is held accountable in one local church, he or she usually has the option of moving to another church, perhaps within the same denomination, down the road. Pastors receive them without question based upon grace or the need to pay bills or some novel tertium quid.

But that is cheap grace. Bonhoeffer famously defined it this way:

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”


Cheap grace, the content of feckless preaching when there happens to be any content, tickles the ear. You can draw a crowd with cheap grace. But you can’t make disciples with it. Because grace isn’t cheap. And cheap grace does not transform. And what we offer transforms! “Sanctified for obedience!”

The church without discipline is not the church. Having said that, restoring discipline begins with restoring an expectation of obedience. Jesus does not redeem us for freedom but for freedom to live the life God desires from us, freedom for obedience. And given the height of the challenge Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to make us climbers with increasing measure.

In other words, it is said that Jesus loves us enough to meet us where we are (even in our sin) and loves us too much to leave us there. That is biblical grace.


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