Friday, January 23, 2009

CHEAP Grace v. COSTLY Grace


A few weeks ago I began reading my second book written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Those of you who do not know his story, I would ask you to do some research.  I would not do it justice if I tried to tell you who he was and what he did, but when I think of him I think of the great "cloud of witnesses."  

I hope to make a few posts on the profound things I read in this most recent book I'm reading, THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP.  

He begins the book speaking of "cheap grace" v. "costly grace."  He writes:
"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, 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.
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell 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 calls him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which his disciple leaves his nets and follows him."
Have you been shown grace, been born again, and adopted into the family of God?  If so, what is the grace costing you?  He goes on to say:
"The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ.  Such a man knows that the call to discipleship is a gift of grace, and that the call is inseparable from the grace."
And the Word of God says:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10)
I would ask you to consider how discipleship is used as a means of grace -- that God would use to equip us to walk in the good works that God has beforehand prepared for us... understanding that we in fact were "created in Christ Jesus."  Makes one think of "the new man," does it not?

More later, LORD willing.  Till then, may the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Repentant Faith???

The two great graces essential to a saint in this
life, are faith and repentance. These are the two
wings by which he flies to heaven...

Moist tears of repentance dry up sin—and quench
the wrath of God. Repentance is the nourisher of
piety—and the procurer of mercy.

- Thomas Watson

Certainly all who are orthodox Christians will understand the importance of having repentant faith -- for there are none who are children of God without it.  Thus, the name of my blog stresses the importance of both sides of the coin which must rest in the palm of the justified believer.

The great saving faith which the Holy Spirit will wrought in the heart of every one of God's elect will certainly produce repentance, because one who trusts and follows his LORD can no longer follow after their lusts and passions and desires of the flesh.  And because of the power of the remaining flesh, daily repentance is required as we continually look to the One who sought us and bought us with His redeeming blood.  When one is found in Christ, repentant faith is their mark.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Memorizing God's Word

Greetings to all who might stumble across my new blog.  It was only months ago that I discovered what the word "blog" means, and I am still not sure I know the accurate definition.  But at any rate, I hope to share my thoughts and musings about various topics that come up.  

I suppose many in our great land make resolutions at the beginning of the new year, and I am no exception.  I made the lofty goal for myself (at least for me it is) to memorize more of Scripture this year -- shooting for one new verse a day.  I know that may sound crazy to many, but can it really be that tough?  Well, here it is the 19th of January and I have somewhat memorized 16... so I'm not that far behind.

If you'd like to join me and write more of God's Word on your heart, here are my techniques.  Pick a subject... like humility, service, holiness, etc... and then find verses in the Bible that speak to your heart and that teach important things on that subject.  Write them down on 3x5 cards or a pocket-sized notebook.  

When memorizing, do this:  Read aloud the subject, the scripture reference, then the text, then again the scripture reference.  Do this 10 times.  Then try it without looking 10 times.  Then throughout the day try to recall it again.  Keep your notebook or a few of the cards with you at all times, so when you're in line somewhere, or put on hold on the phone, or stuck in traffic, you can work on your memory verses -- and hence, you can prepare your minds for action (see 1 Peter 1:13).  


"SERVICE, Mark 10:45, For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many, Mark 10:45."

I hope on Sundays (as one way of obeying God's 4th commandment) to review all the verses I've learned from the previous week.  And on the 1st Sunday of each month, review all other verses from weeks prior.  (I hope that made sense.)

Hope to hear from anyone who has taken this on before.  I'm always looking for advice on how to grow in holiness and respond appropriately to the grace that has been given me.  May this be an encouragement for you to do the same.

Till next time, may the grace, love, and fellowship of the Triune God be with you all.