grace blog

Whenever I go on social networks, I can’t help but notice that Christians tend to drift into two extremes. Some people are very good at sharing the truth about sin but lousy at demonstrating the love of God. Others are all about loving everyone but do so to the detriment of truth. But truth and love are of equal importance.
The story is about two men who owe a debt a creditor, one 50 denarii and the other 500 denarii. In Matthew 20:2, Jesus uses an example of a laborer working in a vineyards for one denarius per day. So, we can assume that in this parable, one owed fifty days wages and the other five hundred days wages. Each debtor owes a considerable sum for that time period but one owed substantially more than he other. However, in this parable, both debts were forgiven by the creditor, regardless of the amount owed.
“Changed mind equals changed life.” I’ve heard that line, or some variation, many times. They will say that “repentance” is all about turning one’s life around for salvation or promising to turn one’s life around after salvation. “It’s a change in motives,” they say.
My wife and I used to have two cats. They weren’t exactly lap cats. In fact, they didn’t even want to be near anyone’s lap. They were pretty independent. Every once in a while they would come by for an ear scratching or to let you know that they were hungry.
The Greek word translated as “freely” above is “dōreán”. It literally means “without cause”. Romans 3:24 is telling us that we were justified (declared to righteous) without any particular cause in ourselves. In other words, we didn’t do anything to merit our justification (our right standing before God).
Excessive focus on one’s skin color is just another form of idolatry. We tend to think of idols as ancient relics of bygone religions. However, idolatry can be pretty much anything that we give weightier importance than God. When we become more consumed with our racial identity than our spiritual identity, we may be guilty of racial idolatry.
The rich young ruler was not as “good” as he thought himself to be. Jesus was demonstrating to the rich young ruler that he wasn’t really trusting in God at all. He was trusting in his own righteousness, his own wealth and, ultimately, own ability to earn eternal life.