Those who fear that a rich embrace of grace always leads us to be careless about following Jesus only illustrate how fear distorts reality. Grace is not—nor ever was—permissiveness. In the center of the story, Jesus dies upon a cross—because the Father’s perfect law required every sinner’s death, or the death of the only One who could atone for them. Grace is not—now or ever—forgiveness without consequences. Lashed and beaten, Jesus bore the punishment we earned, the wages of our sin. “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isa 53:5). Grace is not—nor ever will be—a declaration by the Father that rebellion doesn’t really matter. If nothing less than Jesus’ sacrifice could make us whole, trust me—no, trust Him: nothing matters more. It’s the deepest proof of the Father’s unfathomable affection for us that He whose law was terribly offended also offered us the way to be restored to Him. And it’s the greatest evidence of our sanity that we choose Jesus, healing, and renewal. Grace is what God says it is—love defeating brokenness. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
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