No Strings Attached?
Holy Spirit, replenish my heart today, direct my whole being toward You.
Read 2 KINGS 21:1-26
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1906-1945).
After eight years of marriage, Louis confessed to his wife, Sarah, that he had regularly been unfaithful to her before and since their wedding. He told her he wished to remain her husband, but also to keep on having sexual relations with other women. Sarah, understandably shell-shocked, admitted that she still loved this man, but what would genuine love require of her under these circumstances? If her love was unconditional, should she not accept Louis on his terms? Or should authentic love from Sarah not demand that Louis ask his wife’s forgiveness and choose her over his illicit affairs? (This was an actual case the writer encountered as a church-planter in Paris, France. Only the names are fictitious.)
Manasseh was Judah’s worst king. Idolatry, immorality, blasphemy, even child sacrifice–not only was he guilty of such heinous sins himself but he also caused his people to commit them (2-9). God had set his affection on the Israelites out of pure grace, promising them abundant blessing (Deut. 7:7-8), but that blessing was conditional on the Israelites’ obedience. Now that Judah and her wicked king had forsaken God, doing “more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed” before them (9), they would reap the harvest of destruction they had sown. Their kingdom would soon exist no more.
Manasseh did eventually repent (2 Chron. 33). Consequently, he attempted to reform Judah. Tragically, it was too late! The rot he had instigated had penetrated so deeply into the heart of the nation that it could not be eradicated (2 Kings 23:26-27). If we ever choose to talk of God’s “unconditional love” for sinners, let’s be careful not to make it look like cheap grace!
How would you explain the connection between forgiveness and repentance to a seeker?
Loving Lord, my sins have been an affront to You. I am ever so grateful that You restore me to You when I take ownership of my sins and release them to Your forgiveness.