Today’s Scripture: Mark 16:15
“Proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
We’ve loaded down the Gospel of the grace of God in Christ with a lot of “oughts”: I ought to be more committed, more disciplined, more obedient. When we think or teach this way, we’re substituting duty and obligation for a loving response to God’s grace.
As one pastor expressed it, we often don’t make the Gospel “good enough.” We preach grace to the non-Christian and duty to the Christian. As Richard Gilbert has written, “It sometimes seems that there is plenty of grace for you if you are not a Christian, but when you become a Christian then there are all sorts of laws you must obey and you feel like you were better off before you were converted.” Even our terminology betrays the way we dichotomize the Christian life into “grace” and “works” compartments. We speak of the gift of salvation and the cost of discipleship. The “cost of discipleship” isn’t necessarily an unbiblical expression, but the connotation we build into it is. We often convey the idea that God’s grace barely gets us inside the kingdom’s door; after that, it’s all our own blood, sweat, and tears.
I firmly believe in and seek to practice commitment, discipline, and obedience. I’m thoroughly committed to submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life. And I believe in and seek to practice other commitments that flow out of that basic commitment. I’m committed to my wife “until death do us part.” I’m committed to integrity and fairness in business relationships. I’m committed to seek to act in love toward everyone. But I’m committed in these areas out of a grateful response to God’s grace, not to try to earn God’s blessings.
Source: Your Holiness Day by Day | A Devotional by Jerry Bridges