Letters From Paul The Parishioner (Letter 2: Pastor Pete's Response, We Live By Faith)

Dear Paul,

Thanks for your handwritten note that you gave to me this last Sunday.  It would've been nice to be able to visit with you more on Sunday, especially if I would've known about your concerns.  Regardless, here are some thoughts for you to munch on.  

Repentance is acknowledging sin and this happens every time we confess our failures.  The heart of repentance is an attitude of contrition that is brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word of the Law.  For example, repentance happens in our church body every week as people confess their sins of: broken marriages, pornography struggles, pride, mistakes, legalism, lawlessness, envy, mess ups in parenting and past instances of spiritual abuse to other parishioners.  I have heard it once said that “grace-filled people become free to admit their failures.”  

Here is another way to think about it, when an alcoholic confesses “I am an alcoholic” we don’t have to see this as a mark of despair but one of hope.  It is false optimism that brings ultimate despair. Being honest about the way things are awakens the one thing that can help, the desire for the humility to seek the grace of Christ.  This is living grace out.

In answering your other question of, “how do we live in the fullness of grace?”  We live simply as children depending on Christ, simply as beggars receiving the bread of life and simply trusting and confessing to Christ, “I need you to live in and through me because I cannot do it in my own strength.”  And what does “living out the Christian life look like?”  It looks like love. Love for God and love for our neighbor, love even for our enemies. Or as Paul says, the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.  No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (Gal. 5 and 1 Cor. 13)

May God richly love us through the Cross of Christ, for one cannot properly love others until they have first been loved by God.  I look forward to seeing you next Sunday in person so we can visit some more.

God’s Richest Blessings to You,

Pete The Pretend Pastor