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Saved by Grace

February 18, 2013

“The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!”[1]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is telling those of us who are church attending Christians something the world at large already knew: we are sinners (Romans 5:8, 19). But there is more to that. We are not only sinners, but we are sinners saved by grace (Eph 2:5, 8). That makes us new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). As such, we should strive to no longer act like our old selves.

One of the reasons young adults are turned off from the church is the hypocrisy of the faithful. David Kinnaman spends a whole chapter in his book unchristian: What a New Generation Thinks About Christianity and Why it Matters, to this topic. Most of the people he interviewed actually spent some time in the church and had seen the hypocrisy firsthand. The hypocrites live in their sin while proclaiming perfection from on high. Would that be different if we strove to act like a new creation?

This is a critical issue. We are all sinners, each and every one of us. If we understand we are sinners, and we are saved by the grace of God, then we need to live like it. We need to live like we really believe we are a new creation. How do we do that? Extend grace to someone else. How can you extend grace to others this week?

To those who are crying “hypocrite” and avoid the church because of believer’s behavior, keep trying to find one you feel at home at. Become part of a church body realizing it is full of imperfect people striving to become more Christlike. Become part of the solution.

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Life Together. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1954. 110

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