Scripture: Romans 2:4-8
Or do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life? You are storing up wrath for yourself because of your stubbornness and your heart that refuses to change. God’s just judgment will be revealed on the day of wrath. God will repay everyone based on their works. On the one hand, he will give eternal life to those who look for glory, honor, and immortality based on their patient good work. But on the other hand, there will be wrath and anger for those who obey wickedness instead of the truth because they are acting out of selfishness and disobedience.
Thought for the Day: Ok, it’s Halloween, and I decided I’d share a passage that was a bit scary to me. Paul speaks of God’s generosity, tolerance and patience, but also wrath, anger and judgement. I think most of us are drawn to the positive attributes, yet Paul does not hold back in regard to those whose life-witness does not appear to model good works. This may sound a bit contradictory in Paul’s theology, for in other places, he claims we are saved not by works, but by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. So which is it? Is my “eternal life” attached to grace or my good works? In the end, I believe Paul leans entirely upon the grace of God, yet as Romans was written much later in his ministry, I can only imagine that he saw folks who cheapened grace by enjoying its benefits and ignoring its demanding call. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who wrote about the cost of discipleship – the expected cost to those who through faith had come to enjoy grace. Yet there were many who seemed unaware of the real cost. Bonhoeffer wrote,
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.
Let us give thanks to God for the grace, the unconditional love and kindness, bestowed upon us, but let us never cheapen the sacrifice this grace required.
Prayer: I love you, Lord, for you have been kind and generous with your love. May I humbly honor the crucifixion of your incarnation – the sacrificial witness that revealed your grace. Encourage me each day to honor your gift through a grace-filled witness of my own. Amen.