Well, the terrible news has come out this week that Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, has confessed to having an affair and has stepped down from the pastorate. I have met him and talked to him personally a number of occasions at some of the conferences I go to, and I really […]
And so He has lavished grace and eternal mercy on all of us who believe. Our mutual sins are lavishly forgiven as a whole. This works because it really is our trespasses which are the problem. My sins were not born in isolation.
The law demands that we seek God, but the gospel declares that God seeks us! Death can’t even stop Him! We are so distracted, so sinful, so fearful, and so bad at persistence. We never seek with enough genuine fervor. We have not really striven to find God or obey Him (Hebrews 12:4, 1 John 1:10). But even death can’t distract Jesus Christ.
There is a transformation that happens to us right exactly when we believe. However, it is not the transformation we were looking for, having been immersed our whole lives under the threat of the law. The real change is a shift in trust away from self to God. If the change were a change in success at keeping the law instead of a change of trust, why would we need the new testament imperatives?
We will in all likelihood find it impossible to see change in one another on a day-to-day or even a week-to-week basis. Genuine growth happens slowly, like trees, and not everyone is even a healthy tree in the first place.
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.