The Congruence of Grace and Discipleship

The Congruence of Grace and Discipleship

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1Co 15:10 ESV)

I believe in gospel grace. Free undeserved grace. God’s saving grace. Grace personified in Jesus. Grace that forgives and grace that transforms.

I also believe in gospel discipleship. Costly and demanding discipleship. Obedient discipleship. Life-altering and life-consuming discipleship. Discipleship that rejoices in suffering. Discipleship that says no to sin and yes to holiness. Discipleship that loves the outward facing mission of God.

I believe in the congruence of grace and discipleship. Grace that gives birth to discipleship. Discipleship that flows from grace. A grace and discipleship that are intimate friends, inseparable companions – one is never found without the other. Bound together they are a missional grace and a missional discipleship – rooted in the gospel.

I see a counterfeit claim to grace. A grace that exists without humility. A grace with an air of self-righteousness. A grace that leaves one in bondage. A grace that tolerates sins. A grace lying stagnant in mediocrity. A grace that knows no discipline and no discipleship. A religious grace, not a gospel grace.

I also see a counterfeit claim to discipleship. A discipleship without joy. A burdensome discipleship. A formulaic discipleship – compelled from without. A powerless and ineffective discipleship. A discipleship without mission. A discipleship without gospel grace.

I believe in a gospel grace that matures. Grace that fosters greater humility. Grace that grows in gratitude. Grace that loves and obeys Jesus more. Grace increasingly overwhelming us with the saving goodness of God. Grace undiminished by time. A growing grace fostering a greater discipleship.

I believe in a gospel discipleship that matures. A discipleship that invests more and sacrifices more for the gospel. A discipleship growing in love for the church. A discipleship increasingly agonizing for the lost. A discipleship that knows grace, loves grace, reflects grace.

This is the life to which Christ calls us – a life experiencing and growing in the congruence of grace and discipleship, for a life without gospel discipleship is a life without gospel grace and a life without gospel grace is a life without gospel discipleship.

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On September 10, 1970 I came to understand the great love of God for me, a sinner and a rebel. That evening I received God’s forgiveness and a new life through Jesus Christ, who died in my place and rose again to offer forgiveness and new life. I have been senior pastor for over 30 years planting two churches in Buckingham, PA and Queens, NY and serving two other churches in Brooklyn, NY and Roslyn, PA. I am currently the lead pastor at Grace Church of Philly.

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