Over the weekend I attended part of the IF:Gathering locally at a friend's house. I wasn't sure what to expect exactly. It's been a long time since I've been to a "women's retreat," and let's just say traditional evangelical women's events haven't really been my thing. I've felt, often, like I don't quite fit. So I was surprised when I was impacted during the weekend's first event.
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.
Regardless of how I felt about it at the time, the message I heard last night is good, and summarized well by Bonhoeffer's quote: for Jesus' mercy to mean anything good, it has to be given. I can't take it, earn it, behave well enough to fake it. I walk through the door of repentance first. And once I do I am given the keys to freedom. But it's always through the door of grace, with the message of repentance on my lips first. But I also don't need to stand at the door, year after year, with the same sin on my lips. Jesus has already invited me inside.
Last night I was reminded of the doors of repentance I walk through to get Jesus' grace--repentance. And now I get to believe what he can do in light of his mercy and love.