DayBreaks for 8/10/16 – What Love Really Means

DayBreaks for 8/10/16 – What Love Really Means

From the DayBreaks Archive for August, 2006:

Matt. 5.43ff: Ye have heard that it was said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you, that ye may be sons of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.

From The Cost of Discipleship by Deitrich Bonhoeffer: “Here, for the first time in the Sermon on the Mount, we meet the word which sums up the whole of its message, the word “love”.  Love is defined in uncompromising terms as the love of our enemies.  Had Jesus only told us to love our brethren, we might have misunderstood what he meant by love, but now he leaves us in no doubt whatever as to his meaning.”

APPLICATION: Have you ever really thought of love in those terms?  Isn’t the love that we have for those who are our enemies a much greater measure of our love than what we feel for those who are our friends?  It’s easy to love friends and relatives (usually!!)  It is another matter entirely to love those who see you as a weak person and who ridicule you for your faith, or who might even persecute you because they believe you are dangerous and your ideas about right and wrong might cramp their style or contradict theirs.

Wasn’t the love of God for His enemies (that’s us) the real measure of His love?  We expect Him to love His son.  What was unexpected was that He should love us as He does.  And indeed, in the passage from Matthew, it is the love for our enemies that he says causes us to be sons of our Father.  If our Father loves that way, we must be that way, too, if we are to bear the likeness of the Father.

What enemy are you having a hard time loving today?  Is it someone who slighted you?  Someone who laughed at you?  Someone who treated you unfairly at work – maybe taking credit for something good that you did or possibly blaming you for something they did wrong?  Is it a someone competing with you for a promotion?  A competitor for someone’s affections?  Perhaps a relative who wronged you?  Identify someone that you need to love with the love that the Father has shown us.  Pray about it.  Ask the Spirit to show you how you can show love for them in a way that will bring glory to our Father.  And then – do it!  God will be pleased and you’ll have the peace that comes from knowing you are walking in the Father’s footsteps!

PRAYER:  We all have enemies, or at the very least, we confess we have those who we don’t love the way we should.  Help us, Jesus, to turn our enemies into loved ones.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

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DayBreaks for 8/16/11 – Cheap Grace, Costly Grace

DayBreaks for 08/16/11 – Cheap Grace, Costly Grace

If it's cheap, it's not grace....

I have been thinking a lot about grace lately.  I’m preaching a series on it.  One can scarcely deal with the subject of grace without touching on the concept of cheap versus costly grace.  Grace is free to us – a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-10), but it was not free to God.  It was exceedingly costly.  The grace we experience should never be thought of as a forgiveness “credit card” that lets us just do as we please and run up a bill.  Someone has to pay the bill – Jesus paid it on the cross – but every abuse of grace breaks his heart.  Today, I just want to share with you some of what Deitrich Bonhoeffer wrote about grace in The Cost of Discipleship, without further comment:

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing….

Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God. In such a Church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin….

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. 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, living and incarnate.

He then turned his pen and thinking to the opposite of cheap grace: costly grace!  Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man’ will gladly go and self all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is 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, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “you were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.

Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs. It is therefore the living word, the Word of God, which he speaks as it pleases him. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus.

PRAYER: Let us never abuse Your great grace, Lord Jesus!  Correct our sinful and foolish thinking about sinning in expectation and anticipation of Your forgiveness.  When we are tempted to cheapen Your grace, open our eyes so we see Jesus’ agony that enabled Your grace to be given to us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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