Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Set Free by Grace to Follow

To be a disciple is to be an apprentice or student of Jesus in Kingdom living. But today evangelicals may even farm the making of disciples out to parachurch organizations and assume that the local church is not necessarily in that business.

In fact, we now are somewhat at a loss as to what discipleship is. That is partly related to some theological developments. The teaching of salvation by grace through faith has, in many quarters, brought people to a condition where they really don't know what they are supposed to do. This is no wonder . . . We may preach to you for an hour that there is nothing you can do to be saved, and then sing to you for a half-hour trying to get you to do something ("come forward," profess your faith) to be saved.

Currently we are not only saved by grace; we are paralyzed by it. There is deep confusion. We find it hard to see that grace is not opposed to effort, but is opposed to earning. Earning and effort are not the same thing. Earning is an attitude, and grace is definitely opposed to that. But it is not opposed to effort. When you see a person who has been caught on fire by grace, you are apt to see some of the most astonishing efforts you can imagine (1 Corinthians 15:10).

-- Dallas Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus' Essential Teachings on Discipleship

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