“The proclamation of grace has its limits. Grace may not be proclaimed to anyone who does not recognize or distinguish or desire it…The world upon whom grace is thrust as a bargain will grow tired of it, and it will not only trample upon the Holy, but also will tear apart those who force it on them.” – Bonhoeffer
We are chasing after the world with the most precious thing we have. When they disagree with what is required to possess this precious gem, we break that part off, and offer it again. When they say they do not want to wash themselves of their filth, we say, “Ummm…that’s okay. Take it as you are.” When they do not want to change and insist that a loving God wouldn’t judge them,” we say, “Hmm…I guess you have a point.” And offer it again. And when that is still not enough, we continue to compromise.
The interesting part is this: we commend ourselves for our evangelistic success, but do we ever turn around and assess the appearance of those that we have thrust our cheap grace upon? Too many Christians look NOTHING like the Christians defined in the Bible. They are not producing the fruit of The Spirit; Christ in them is not changing them. And perhaps this last part is the most telling.
Throughout the New Testament, we see that Christ in us changes us! It causes the naked wild man to put on clothes and be of sound mind and then witness to his city. It causes the whore at the well to leave her life style and evangelize her entire town. It causes wealthy men like Matthew to leave their fortune and follow a man they have just met. If the jewel they possess does not change them, then what we gave them is not the grace of God our Savior died for, but simply the compromise of man.
Bonhoeffer points out that grace has limits, and when we try to force it beyond those limits, the ones who loose are those who first re-shaped it. There is no doubt; the Holy has been trampled on. If we assess what has come from our cheap grace, what we will see are people holding large stones ready to hurl them at us. And if we look closely, we will see that these stones were created by our compromise.
Two hundred and eighty-eight of the 300 members of the Nicean Council were mutilated for their unwillingness to compromise. They gathered, because they knew the damage a compromised gospel would create. It is time for us to stand up and be The Church. Not the church the world says is okay, but the church Jesus died for.
Will you do your part to stop the compromise?