Receptive Grace

What we’re looking at is not the moral behavior Christianity requires, and which to a great degree other religions require, but what we’re looking at is the supernaturally changed heart–the traits or characteristics of a new heart that only the gospel in its peculiar way of relating us to God can produce.

The trait we now come to is what the world calls tolerance. And we have to confront a very, very urgent question. The question is how should you relate, how can you relate to someone whose views and values and practices offend you, distress you? How can we relate to people with whom we deeply differ?

The world says we need to be tolerant, but I want to show you here that Paul says the mark of a supernaturally changed heart is to go way beyond tolerance. There’s something greater than tolerance, something I’m going to call gospel-receptivity–a loving, peaceful receptivity toward people with whom we deeply differ, which is different than tolerance. It’s better than it. It’s greater than it.

What is this receptivity, this receptive grace? Let’s figure out what it’s not, what it is, and how do we develop it.

This sermon was preached by Rev. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on February 10, 2002. Series "Practical Grace; How the Gospel Transforms Character". Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:4-11; Romans 15:1-7.

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