It is the persistent love of God which keeps beaming at us regardless of our performance or degree of transformational success which transforms us.
So, you may say, McNeely DOES preach forgiveness without repentance! We caught him! However, the real perspective is this: I caught you, friend of Bonhoeffer! You are preaching forgiveness based on “repentance.” You are preaching justification based on something other than mere belief.
This is exactly how behavioral righteousness works under the gospel. People think the basis of the gospel is moral pressure because it is written that it many times results in righteous behavior. However, the basis of the gospel has nothing to do with this.
16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. 19 He […]
Saying that we need to balance grace with works is similar to saying that we need to balance breathing air with suffocation. There is no balance; you either breathe air or you die. People try to grasp some of these concepts about God by introducing the idea of balance in a nonsensical way.
Think about it like a normal person for just a second: how can you say He was sacrificed for sins and then say that if you sin, the sacrifice is no good?
People are proud of their idealism. They believe that their high standards and their perfectionism are a sign of integrity and success. Actually our ideals are weapons that will ultimately turn on us and kill us. What we need is a rescue and an escape from our ideals. We need to be seen and loved and accepted and forgiven as we really are, and we need a way to love others the same way. This is exactly what the gospel offers us!
Here is some counsel I gave someone who is a true and beautiful believer but who is having trouble, perhaps because of some bad teaching in their past, accepting that their faith in Christ is true: When Jesus died and said “it is finished”, it was finished. It is not dependent on some change in […]
“Someone died for this slightly off-base irritating brother. He is Abel offering his blood sacrifice, and love says I count his offering as sufficient.” From the book Grace in Community by Jim McNeely I wanted to return to the very powerful and fruitful story of Cain and Abel as it pertains to the idea of […]
We, as a group, are a community of sinners who have mercy and grace in His blood. We are new creatures in Christ, but sin still lives on in us as a kind of living dead zombie presence. We should be very very clear that the heart of the gospel is not that we are personally transformed. It is that we are justified. We are redeemed. We are reconciled.