Have you ever been doing something that reminded you of another time or place? Sunday morning as I was leaving my house and driving down the road, it just seemed more like Christmas than Easter. As I thought about that, I realized, it was Christmas. From a humanistic view of receiving gifts, it was truly Christmas. Jesus Christ had given me the gift of Salvation and eternal life with Him.
John 15:13; “No greater love (gift) has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
With a gift, it really isn’t a finished gift until it is given and received or accepted. Here in the gospel of John, Jesus is saying the gift of His life for us is the greatest out showing of love for a friend. But in the next verse He tells us what we have to do to receive this gift. To be His friend and therefore receive and accept this gift we must obey His commands. Yes, we must act on His gift.
John 15:14; “You are my friends if you do what I command.”
Too often we take the grace of God for granted. We feel that because we could never be good enough to earn salvation, then we just get it handed (gift) to us. This is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer meant by “cheap grace”. In his book, “The Cost of Discipleship”, he said: “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
Jesus Christ tells us that we are to be “in the world” but not “of the world”. People must be able to see we are different. As Christians, we must stand out as different, as distinguishable from the world.
John 15:19; “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen (called) you out of the world.”
As a Christian are you “different” or are you just willing to look and act like others?