Forgiving Grace

In traditional moral training, how do we teach people to be honest? How do we encourage them not to lie? It goes something like this. We say, “Don’t lie, or you’ll get caught.” “Don’t lie, or society won’t work.” The more religious approach is, “Don’t lie, or God will punish you.”

Therefore, in traditional moral training, you’ve only restrained the heart, not fundamentally changed the heart. You haven’t changed its character. Instead of dealing with the roots of dishonesty, you’ve just jury-rigged it so it makes people honest. But it’s artificial and temporary. Only for a heart that feels absolutely loved is a lie unnecessary and therefore unnatural.

Therefore, it’s only an experience of grace of God through Jesus Christ that changes the heart rather than restrains the heart.

We’re looking at the marks of a supernaturally changed heart and how each one is cultivated in Christ. Paul makes a list of these marks of a supernaturally changed heart, and we now come to patience. So–why do we need patience? What is it? How do we get it?

This sermon was preached by Rev. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on January 20, 2002. Series "Practical Grace; How the Gospel Transforms Character". Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35; 1 Corinthians 13:4,6.

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