Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin
The introduction contrasts “Joe” and “Ralph.” Joe has spent 45 years of his Christian life very up and down with respect to conventional morals, but he clings tenaciously to faith in God’s grace in Christ. Ralph has spent his whole life in the church but you could scarcely find a worse example of a personality that seems to be utterly characterized by lovelessness and constantly tearing other Christians down. Have you know people like these?
The first and largest section of the body develops the contrast between the Pharisee and tax collector in Jesus’ world. No one was ready for Jesus’ declaration that the later was justified rather than the former. The second, somewhat shorter section, develops the contrast between Peter and Paul. It also introduces Martin Luther’s own thoughts about doing good in hopes of earning something from God vs. out of gratitude for grace received we could never have earned, with an excerpt from a sermon in 1532 delivered in Worlitz, Germany. the third and shortest section notes the character of God as reflected in Psalm 111.
The conclusion summarizes what we’ve seen with a quotation from Ken Davis: “I’m not ok, you’re not ok, but that’s ok; God loves us anyway,” appropriately unpacked.