The costly grace of Jesus in Luke 14

In the gospel reading for Trinity 12 in Year C, we complete our navigation through this section of Jesus’ intermingled teaching and action until we hit the landfall of the ‘parables of the lost’ next week in Luke 15. The double focus on the crowds and discipleship, the drawing together of teaching found in different places in the other gospels, and the lack of specific location all continue as hallmarks of Luke’s record of Jesus in this section.

The first saying here, about ‘hating’ one’s kinship group, is found in Matt 10.37–39, following on from the saying about bringing division and a sword that we heard earlier in Luke 12.51–53. In both Luke and Matthew, it is immediately followed by the saying about taking up one’s cross, which echoes the pivotal saying in Mark 8.34 = Matt 16.24 = Luke 9.23. The middle pair of sayings, about the person building a tower and the king going to war and first assessing the cost of the respective projects, is found in Luke alone—which is interesting, since when I first read it, it seemed so familiar I was sure it was in the other Synoptics as well. It isn’t. The final saying in this section, which belongs to it but is cut off by the arbitrary snip of the lectionary scissors, is found in Matt 5.13 connected to the sayings about the disciples being the ‘light of the world’ and ‘salt of the earth’.


As is common in this section of Luke, the scene shifts abruptly without any explanation or any attempt to locate accurately the place where this teaching happens. Jesus has been at dinner in the preceding verses, and teaching about the kingdom of God in relation to the table; now it appears he is on the road again. Crowds follow him on the road, as they have done previously—but once more there is a distinction to be made between the crowds and the disciples of Jesus. The crowds form the potential pool of those who might ‘follow’ him in the stricter sense, but for many that decision of discipleship has not yet been realised.

Jesus then repeats one of many ‘anti-family’ sayings sprinkled through Luke’s gospel (Luke 8.19–21, 9.52–69, 12.51–53, 18.29, 21.16), but it is also worth noting the implicit connection with the politics of the table in the previous episode. If the kingdom of God and loyalty to Jesus are going to redraw the boundaries of honour, social stratification and kinship allegiance, then traditional ties of family are going to be strained by the demands of discipleship.

The language of ‘hate’ sounds very disturbing to the ordinary reader’s ear—but in fact Jesus is here deploying common Jewish hyperbole to contrast two different attitudes. The roots of this language are found in the OT: in Gen 29.31, Laban’s greater love for Rachel is described (in Hebrew and Greek) as ‘hatred’ of Leah. (See also the similar comparison in Deut 21.15–17). Jesus is insisting that his disciples ‘must put Jesus so strongly at the centre of their thinking that they will appear to others as despisers or haters of their closest relatives’ (Danker, 1988, p 272 cited in Parsons, Paideia, p 229).

Jeff Robinson over at The Gospel Coalition explores this:

Matthew 10:37 may provide the interpretational key to unlock what Jesus means by “hate” here: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Yes, we are to exhibit deep affections for our closest earthly kin, but Jesus is saying we must love even them less than we do him if we would prove to be genuine disciples. Of course, it’s also true that I will love my family and friends well in direct to proportion to the depth of my love for Jesus.

Jesus is not demanding that you literally hate your family. He is using hyperbole to illustrate the steep cost of following him. Any prospective follower must be glad to give up everything, to love him unreservedly—to sell all in order to have him as your highest treasure (Matt. 13:44–46). Our affections for Christ must be of such an intensity and quality that, by comparison, all other loves seem like hate.

This is the first of three sobering warnings in Luke 14:26-33 against making a hasty decision to follow Jesus. A genuine disciple must:

  1. Love Jesus even more than your earthly family (v. 26).
  2. Take up your cross and follow him (v. 27).
  3. Be willing to lay down everything—even your life—and go hard after him (v. 33).

The image of bearing one’s cross is not at all connected with putting up with natural burdens, as is suggested by the common use of the saying now; crucifixion was an everyday reality, and if you saw someone carrying their cross you knew that their life had come to an end. (‘Every criminal condemned to death bears his cross on his back’, Plutarch Sera 554A–B.) Note the personal emphasis in Jesus’ saying: each must carry his or her own cross.

The twin illustrations of building a tower and going to war would have been easily understood by Jesus’ listeners, and need not imply anything about the context or the audience. Towers were not only built to protect city walls, but were a common site in fields for use as a look-out to guard crops from those who might steal them. Some commentators focus on the question of humiliation; after all, the person with an incomplete tower would look a fool, and a king who sued for peace without the strength to fight a war might find him and his people enslaved. To follow Jesus might also involved humiliation, as Jesus himself was humiliated on the cross, so the stories could be read as an invitation to ‘choose your humiliation’. But surely the more important point is this: that neither the builder nor the king actually achieved their goal. If we do not count the cost of discipleship at the point of commitment, then we are in danger of missing out on the goal of following Jesus at all—which is eternal life in the kingdom.

The final saying about saltiness makes less sense to us than to Jesus and his audience, since we cannot quite imagine salt becoming unsalty. But salt from the Dead Sea was in fact a mixture of all sorts of things, salt itself only being one ingredient. If the salt crystals themselves were dissolved away, then the remaining residue would be useless, fit for nothing. ‘The Lukan Jesus is here concerned with commitment, not with chemistry’ (Parsons, p 231). (Note that the final summary to pay attention, ‘Those with ears to hear, let them here’, parallels the saying at the end of each of the messages to the seven assemblies in Revelation, yet another connection between the two works.)


There are a number of very practical implications of Jesus’ teaching here, both for the wider church and for each of us as disciples.

First is the question of crowds. Numbers matter, because numbers represent people. Crowds are good, if that means that many will hear the challenging invitation to hear the good news of Jesus and to follow him. You might not yet be planning to install a helter-skelter or a mini golf course in your church building, but if you do then the crowds will come. The question, though, is what you do with those crowds. Will some of them make the transition to become disciples? If not, want was the point in creating a crowd in the first place?

Second is the question of grace. There has been some controversy about the message of Nadia Bolz Weber, and her call that we should cast off the moralistic burden of purity culture and feel no shame about sex and sexuality, even if that means have multiple sexual partners. There are some serious questions to be asked of her approach, but I was struck by a comment online by a good friend whom I respect:

I think it’s wise to take time to reflect on the discomfort she creates and to appreciate the good. She is certainly right about being more honest – the lack of honesty for generations is a key issue in all C of E arguments about sexuality. I liked this quote: “I believe in grace so much that I have no shame in admitting why I need it, so there are very few things that I really carry shame about in my life. Not that I haven’t: I have, but I just believe in grace.” She talks very openly about the grace that she has discovered in God, and that is appealing to many people.

Radical forgiveness undoubtedly is an essential part of grace—but on its own it is not grace. If it were, then the Jesus of Luke 14 is not gracious, and that is a problem, since consistently in the NT Jesus is the measure and the embodiment of grace. This grace, if it really is the grace of God, moves beyond forgiveness and calls us into the life of Jesus. ‘The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher’ (Luke 6.40). If the life of grace was costly for him, then it will costly for us too if it really is the grace of God.

The third point follows on from this, and relates to the way we understand Jesus’ costly call to us. Jesus does not demand our totally loyalty because he is some tinpot despot, who will remove the party whip from us if we do not vote for him in every motion. He demands our totally loyalty because he loves us, and knows that this alone is the path of fulness of life that he longs for us to walk. If Jesus really is ‘the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14.6) then if we refuse to follow in costly obedience, then we are actually refusing his gift of grace.

When I came to faith in an evangelical church, I was taught the mantra ‘If Jesus is not Lord of all, he is not Lord at all’. The aim of this saying was to challenge us to total commitment to Jesus in every area of our life. But I wonder now if it has a different significance: if we don’t follow Jesus in every area of our life, we are in danger of missing out on the life that his Lordship brings. There are two kingdoms: the kingdom of this world, which is passing away, and the kingdom of God, the world to come that is breaking in in the ministry of Jesus and is made real by the Spirit at work in our lives. Jesus here teaches us: you cannot have joint citizenship. You belong in the one kingdom or the other—and only one leads to life eternal.

‘The cross is laid on every Christian. It begins with the call to abandon the attachments of this world… When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die’ (Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, p 73). Thus German theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer captures the stark demands made by the gospel. This radical obedience and absolute allegiance may sound harsh and impossible to most contemporary Christians in the West. And yet the history of the church is filled with those who have heard this call and responded with utter abandonment. (Parsons, Paideia, p 231).


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26 thoughts on “The costly grace of Jesus in Luke 14”

  1. Challenging though it is, sexual flourishing is not some kind of entitlement for everyone – any more than financial flourishing is. Indeed, at the heart of Christian theology is the idea of ‘denying self’, taking up our cross. It is self-denial.

    NBW seems to be creating what might be called a ‘sexual prosperity gospel’ – except the promise this time is not monetary wealth but sexual fulfilment. However, the New Testament never promises ‘the fullness of our erotic selves’ for all who want it. And to offer it is to set people up for as much disappointment and disillusion as the financial prosperity gospel – or any other culturally-corrupted form of Christianity.

    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/nadia-bolz-webers-call-for-sexual-reformation-do-we-need-to-hear-it/133141.htm

    Oh very good. I think I’m going to bookmark that.

    Or, as it was put by a guy who knew things:

    Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
    All his boasted pomp and show;
    Solid joys and lasting treasure
    None but Zion’s children know.

  2. “Last week, a group of Church of England bishops issued an open letter warning against the perils of a ‘no deal Brexit’. Is it too much to expect them to speak out on this issue in their own house too – especially given that NBW has spoken in an Anglican Cathedral in the capital, thus lending her views an apparent air of official credibility?”

    Sadly…. Probably, it is too much to expect. But why is this? Is it the narrowness of press reporting or has the church agenda just gently glided away from proclaiming Jesus? Has the “good become the enemy of the best”?

    • But why is this? Is it the narrowness of press reporting or has the church agenda just gently glided away from proclaiming Jesus? Has the “good become the enemy of the best”?

      Well, I can see that, the shameful thing having happened, you might not want to draw any more attention to it and hope that you can get away without the mainstream media ever noticing.

      But that’s the charitablt reading. I suspect the real reason is that, yes, the church agenda has shifted from proclaiming Jesus to, ‘God has a crush on you and wants you to feel good!’.

          • God may be all manner of things. And adults crush on those they love, S. Or I hope they do. I know I crush on my wife. I hope, even at the age of 90 I will. Fidelity. Attraction. Knowing the person. Delighting in them. Caring for them. Desiring them.

            But you’re right: you have a right and an integrity to understand God as you encounter God or believe in God.

            Nevertheless I encourage you not to discount the possibility that rather than seeing you as some wretched object of sin, God made you, and knows you, and sees your beauty, and is so delighted and in love with you and your journey of becoming that it may sometimes take God’s breath away.

            Because God has feelings too.

            Finally, teenage schoolgirls are sometimes more open to spontaneity, feeling, life, than people are when they grow old and hurt and cynical (not attributing that to you, just the general statement). Teenage girls have a huge capacity to feel love and open to it. I know. I’ve worked with them for more than 25 years and had two of my own. There is nothing shameful if sometimes God is like a teenage girl.

            Wouldn’t you like it, S, if God actually crushed on you? I know I do.

          • Fidelity. Attraction. Knowing the person. Delighting in them. Caring for them. Desiring them.

            ‘Crush […] d. A person with whom one is enamoured or infatuated; an infatuation; so to have or get a crush on, to be enamoured of, take a strong fancy to. slang (originally U.S.).’

            An infatuation. A fleeting teenage fancy. Feelings without depth. Gushes without sincerity. That’s what a crush is. The God I believe in does not have ‘crushes’.

            But you’re right: you have a right and an integrity to understand God as you encounter God or believe in God.

            No I don’t. I and everyone else has a responsibility to try to understand God truly. If what we believe in is not the truth then we have the responsibility to discover and correct it.

            Finally, teenage schoolgirls are sometimes more open to spontaneity, feeling, life, than people are when they grow old and hurt and cynical

            I know. That is why I avoid the awful screeching creatures as much as possible.

            Wouldn’t you like it, S, if God actually crushed on you?

            Irrelevant. What I like, and what you like, and what anyone likes, has nothing to do with what is true. Truth is truth whether we like it or not (and it’s usually not; be suspicious of anything that you think is true that you would like to be true, because you’re probably just fooling yourself).

        • No, Susannah.

          A crush is at least an admiration, and a putting on a pedestal.

          God’s love for the world and for us is entirely different. It is a love for the essentially unlovely:

          But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

          We are loved not because we are lovely, but because God is love.

          The elevation of erotic and romantic love to be almost a god leads to bad theology. Kierkegaard had it right. Read his ‘Works of Love’.

          G.K.Chesterton said something the effect to that Jesus taught that we should love our neighbour and love our enemy because very often they are the same people. That love for neighbour and enemy is a reflection of the love which God has for us. We don’t love our neighbour because they are attractive, because we have a crush on them. We love them because they live next door. All this applies a fortiori for our enemies, of course.

          The wonder of grace is that is that we find ourselves loved when we know that we are not lovely. This is something which the modern world cannot comprehend.

          • We are loved not because we are lovely, but because God is love.

            Yes. Absolutely. The fact that God loves us does not mean that we are lovable. It means that God’s love is so great that He can love even the most despicable of creatures, like us.

  3. “Last week, a group of Church of England bishops issued an open letter warning against the perils of a ‘no deal Brexit’. Is it too much to expect them to speak out on this issue in their own house too – especially given that NBW has spoken in an Anglican Cathedral in the capital, thus lending her views an apparent air of official credibility?”

    Sadly…. Probably, it is too much to expect. But why is this? Is it the narrowness of press reporting or has the church agenda just gently glided away from proclaiming Jesus? Has the “good become the enemy of the best”?

  4. I think we need some grown up thinking on sexuality and Christian faith.

    For so long Christians have isolated sexuality as being ‘for the purposes of procreation’.

    That is certainly one possible purpose in some sexual relationships.

    However, the idea that sexuality, setting aside the issue of procreation, can be tender, intimate, life-enhancing, kind, ennobling, wonderful, committed, fun… and the possibility that God actually ‘gets’ that and maybe even knows that and feels that as God… these things have tended to be repressed, and policed, and moralised about.

    Most important is opening to the flow of the love of God, and in doing so, opening to God.

    I think faith is about opening the heart, and letting God touch and heal our hardened hearts, and softening to the flow and compassion and givenness of God’s dear love.

    Healthy and decent sexuality – which, for the record, I don’t think is always limited to ‘inside marriage’ – is one of many ways we may open to the flow of God’s tenderness, kindness, intimacy and love.

    And don’t forget: God also longs for intimacy with us too – because, yes, God does indeed crush on those God loves… very much so.

    But grace supercedes our fallibilities and sometimes shambolic lives. And I certainly think that far too much guilt has been piled on people about their sex and sexuality by some Christians. For example, most people who seek a church wedding these days have been living together before their marriage.

    It is not the end of the world.

    If they are unloving, selfish, and unkind… that arguably does lead towards death by indifference. We so often dodge the challenge to *love*, by relying on our moral self-affirmation instead. Even when we believe that grace has saved us. That is only the beginning. The actual love we open to is always the most important, and God deals with each person along the unique pathways of their life.

    Taking up the cross is opening to the love of God. It does indeed have repercussions, but it’s more to do with the costly nature of loving other people, than our own self-righteousness and purity. Love, more than anything else, is what makes us pure. Love, as in the love of God within us, and the purity of God who loved and loves us to the point of no return.

    I’m fine with people having sex outside of marriage, if they are careful, and show respect, and seek tenderness and care, not just self-interest and carelessness for the other person.

    I think we need to grow up and stop policing other people’s sexuality, as if any of the rest of us aren’t adulterers, who’ve lusted after men or women ourselves. The key question is often not others’ sexual guilt, but our own moral self-righteousness and shortfall of love.

    • I think we need to grow up and stop policing other people’s sexuality, as if any of the rest of us aren’t adulterers, who’ve lusted after men or women ourselves. The key question is often not others’ sexual guilt, but our own moral self-righteousness and shortfall of love.

      If you read about Jesus saying that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committeed adultery in his heart, and your take-away is, ‘Hey, look, Jesus doesn’t think adultery is that big of a deal!’ then I think you may be beyond help.

      • ???

        S, I haven’t defended adultery at all.

        I believe in marriage. I think it such a lovely institution when it’s honoured with love, kindness, companionship, sacrifice, devotion to a person you love.

        That’s why I’m married.

        • S, I haven’t defended adultery at all.

          No, but you did rather trivialise it by writing: ‘I think we need to grow up and stop policing other people’s sexuality, as if any of the rest of us aren’t adulterers, who’ve lusted after men or women ourselves.’

          After all, would you write:

          ‘I think we need to grow up and stop policing other people’s wife-beating, as if any of the rest of us aren’t murderers, who’ve been needlessly angry with our brothers ourselves.’

          ?

    • ‘I think we need some grown up thinking on sexuality and Christian faith.’

      – there lies the problem: if a Christian holds to the ‘traditional’ view of sex and marriage, then you’re being ‘childish’ and unsophisticated. In reality, the opposite is true.

      ‘For so long Christians have isolated sexuality as being ‘for the purposes of procreation’.
      That is certainly one possible purpose in some sexual relationships.’

      – that simply isnt true. If it was then the majority of Christians would have huge families – they dont. I think you’ll find that most Christians today enjoy sex within marriage because it is, well, enjoyable. But regarding procreation, you’ll find that a man’s body is made for a woman’s body and vice-versa, and biologically procreation is the normal outcome of sexual intercourse. So procreation is an important part of sex (not just ‘one possible purpose’), but not the be all and end all. But as I said, few today believe that it is the be all and end all.

      ‘However, the idea that sexuality, setting aside the issue of procreation, can be tender, intimate, life-enhancing, kind, ennobling, wonderful, committed, fun… and the possibility that God actually ‘gets’ that and maybe even knows that and feels that as God… these things have tended to be repressed, and policed, and moralised about.’

      – nonsense. Again, I would suggest the vast majority of married couples would concur with your description. As for God, He designed our bodies with those physical and emotional sexual feelings so He certainly ‘gets’ it. Have you not read The Song of Solomon?

      ‘Taking up the cross is opening to the love of God. It does indeed have repercussions, but it’s more to do with the costly nature of loving other people, than our own self-righteousness and purity.’
      – Jesus clearly closely connected taking up one’s cross and denial of self. By definition, denial of self includes not indulging in your own desires. And that has direct consequences for one’s ‘purity’, sexual or otherwise.

      ‘I think we need to grow up and stop policing other people’s sexuality, as if any of the rest of us aren’t adulterers, who’ve lusted after men or women ourselves.’

      – I think you confuse ‘policing’ with expecting a standard of behaviour if you are part of the body of Christ. The church isnt supposed to judge those outside but it does inside – Jesus Himself said that. But that doesnt mean the church should not point the rest of the world in the right direction. And I think you’ll find that many people do not lust after others apart from their wife or husband. They might let the birds fly around their heads, but they dont let them make a nest in their hair.

      • Well I have to say: you have a healthy view of sex. You just think that some people are excluded, by nature of their orientation or because they haven’t got married yet.

        Yes, I adore the Song of Songs.

        • Well I have to say: you have a healthy view of sex. You just think that some people are excluded, by nature of their orientation or because they haven’t got married yet.

          Assuming you meant ‘unhealthy’ but mistyped, you seem to think that someone not having sex is awful, calamatous, the worst thing that could befall someone in the world. A life without sex? Scarely worth living!

          Seems to me that means you’re the one with the unhealthy obsession.

          • No, I pick up the vibe that you have a natural and healthy view of sex.

            I meant what I said.

            Nor do I think that someone not having sex is bad, if that is their calling. I wouldn’t. I belong to a convent fellowship and I’m Carmelite in my spirituality. The call to chastity is a profound calling. It’s not, though, something to be imposed on people with healthy sexuality who do not feel called to that way of life.

            I don’t think I have an obsession about sex, thank you. I am just a normal married person. I think marriage is lovely, but I respect couples who are not married, or cannot be because their church won’t marry them.

            Shall we change the subject now, and look at the issue of taking up our cross: being baptised with the baptism Jesus was baptised in, by which he meant his death, burial, and resurrection. Givenness of our lives to the love of God.

          • “No, I pick up the vibe that you have a natural and healthy view of sex.”

            Correction: I was addressing PC1 with my comment. Then afterwards, I realised it was you who was intervening, S, but as I said originally I think PC1 has a healthy view of sex.

            Can we leave it there?

          • The call to chastity is a profound calling. It’s not, though, something to be imposed on people with healthy sexuality who do not feel called to that way of life.

            Chastity is merely the name of the virtue which means proper relationship to sex. How is it an imposition to expect someone to behave correctly? Should honestly not be imposed on those who would naturally steal?

            Many people live their entire lives without having sex not because it is their ‘calling’ but because they simply never happen to meet the person they are meant to marry. Are their lives somehow stunted? Lesser? If not, then sex is not necessary for a proper life and refraining from it in situations where it is improper (ie, outside of a lifelong monogamous married relationship) is no imposition.

            Shall we change the subject now

            You’re the one who brings sex into everything!

          • I was picking up on Ian’s reference to Nadia, and without endorsing or critiquing her views, I was offering input on the need for more recognition of grace and open-mindedness when it comes to Christians and sexuality. But I will say no more right now. Far more interesting is the whole issue of the Cross, and spiritual baptism.

    • “And don’t forget: God also longs for intimacy with us too – because, yes, God does indeed crush on those God loves… very much so.”

      I’m not sure where to begin with what you have said. There’s so much to disagree with and so little time! To be fair it’s your normal view I think.

      ” crush ” that’s a terrible word. This isn’t live. It’s usually the description of a one sided infatuation if a child with an adult… Certainly its not a looked for / responded to love.

      • “Certainly its not a… responded to love.”

        That’s the thing, I think. God totally adores us, but how seldom we respond to that love and longing God must have for us.

        I don’t see “crushing” as limited to children. I definitely crush on my wife. By which I mean: I love her, I admire her, I desire her, I feel tenderly towards her. Sort of like that first romantic falling in love, but deeper.

        I think God feels the same way about us.

  5. “Our affections for Christ must be of such an intensity and quality that, by comparison, all other loves seem like hate.”
    I appreciate this is the way this passage in Luke has traditionally been interpreted but I am sure it is missing something because we are afraid of all the negative connotations and images of hate. These are some of my thoughts when it was my turn to preach on this lectionary passage 3 years ago in the cycle:

    “You would think that love and hate were complete opposites but in fact they are complementary. Love is a very important human emotion but hate is also an important human emotion: they work together to bring balance to our character. Where there is love without hate, love achieves little. Where there is hate without love, hate becomes destructive, especially to the person feeding on the hate. We are often made aware of all kinds of hate in the world. This makes it something we tend to veer away from. But as we heard from Jesus himself, hate is a very important emotion if we are to be a true disciple” …

    “Josephine Butler was a Victorian reformer. She was a passionate Christian who was appalled at the treatment of young girls especially in the way they were traded for prostitution. She was the driving force behind getting the age of consent raised from 12 to 16 to give girls protection from sexual predators. And where did her energy come from: a hatred of the way girls and women were abused” …

    “The key to understanding this passage is the reference to self: a Christian disciple must learn how to hate his or her own self-life. This is completely opposite to our natural human way of thinking. Instinctively we are motivated by self-love, self-interest and self-importance; but the Holy Spirit will teach us how to hate all these things in ourselves. Let’s be clear that this is not self-loathing or self-harming – those are destructive, and in fact self-centred things. Jesus taught that we should love others as we love ourselves: love and hate balance one another. If we want to love others then first we must love ourselves. If we want to hate the wrong in others then first we must hate the wrong in ourselves” …

    “It’s a passage which can be misused to create division in families. But hating is not the same as hostility. My Dad hated my Christian faith: I hated his atheism – ‘we’re no different to pigs’ he liked to tell me. But I only had feelings of love and respect for him” …

    “Maurice Reuben was part of a wealthy Jewish American family. But after reading the New Testament he heard the voice of Jesus calling him to become a Christian. Immediately his family rejected him. He lost his share of the business; his brother and his own wife literally turned their backs on him; he couldn’t see his new baby son for 12 months. They even had him sectioned in a mental institution until he was released by a court order. None of this prevented him from becoming an effective Christian evangelist. He was putting Jesus first and hating his family. But he continued to love them and after 3 years his wife became a Christian too and supported him in his ministry” …

    Sorry to preach but it seemed the easiest way to make a point.

  6. I’ve never yet heard a sermon on salt that doesn’t mention flavouring and preserving but Jesus refers to neither. The salt Jesus referred to is potassium chloride which is abundant in the potash-rich salt beds around the Dead Sea. That’s why he says it’s good for the field and the dung hill; it is a natural fertiliser (sodium chloride or table salt is ruinous for plant life) and a disinfectant. Jesus is talking about the promotion of healthy spiritual growth and the repelling of all that is evil or false among his followers.

    Speaking of the need for disinfectant in the church: Nadia Bolz Weber is archetypical of the demonic plan to poison the church by shamelessly promoting unfettered carnal appetites and sexual immorality. Romans 16.17-18, Jude 3-4 and Revelation 2.20 are examples of plain warnings in the New Testament about such false teachers and how we should respond to them. Why she is given any air time at all by Christian publications and conferences is utterly bewildering.

  7. Legalism and liberalism, antinomianism, of lawlessness, of self acceptance masquerading as Christianity that argues that a gracious loving God doesn’t require obedience, that can not comprehend that the law, instructions, is a wonderful gift of God have the same root: unbelief in the Goodness of our Triune God, bound up as it is in the boundaries set by Him, His Holiness, His Righteousness, his Judgment(s)
    The cure for both legalism and antinomianism is the Gospel, writes Sinclair Ferguson:
    ” The gospel is designed to deliver us from this lie (of the Serpent) for it reveals that behind and manifested in the coming of Christ and his death for us is the love of a Father who gives us everything he has: first his Son to die for us , and then his Spirit to live within us…There is onlt one genuine cure for legalism. It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ himself. This leads to a new love for and obedience to the law of God.” The Whole Christ.
    “The root of both errors are the same , the cure is the same- to lift up the essential goodness and love of God by recounting the gospel, thereby making obedience a joy. The remedy for both is a fuller, biblical, and profound understanding of the grace and character of God….
    It is the way to give honour and pleasure to the One who saved by grace”… Tim Keller’s forward to “The Whole Christ.”

    “Grant what You command, and command what You desire” Augustine- Confessions

    Psalm 51 https://youtu.be/LrZvD3Ih8Kw The Sons of Korah

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