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Jon Walker‘s  Costly Grace, is a contemporary view of German pastor, theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s well-known work, The Cost of Discipleship.

Chapter 13 is called “Becoming Like Jesus When Facing Enemies”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:

“Love is defined in uncompromising terms as love of our enemies.  Had Jesus only told us to love our brothers, we might have misunderstood what he meant by love, but now he leaves us in no doubt whatever as to his meaning.”

Walker put it this way:

The Sermon on the Mount can be summed up in one word: love.  Jesus said we should love God, love our neighbor, love ourselves–and also love our enemies.

The author, referring to Steve Pettit (Director of One in Christ Ministries) , writes that the love of God is a love that need no “because.”

God doesn’t give his love because of something we’ve done; he doesn’t give his love because of something he might gain; and he doesn’t give his love because we deserve it.  He just gives his love–because.  God’s very nature is love.

Every Christian should know that God’s love is a love beyond our comprehension.  God gave his own son as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins. God’s love in us and flowing through us is the only way for us to truly love our enemies.  This “extraordinary love” proves that Christians operate in the kingdom of heaven.  Christians believe that even their worst enemies are not beyond the power of God to transform.

However,

Fallen men and women cannot do this, only those who carry Jesus within and who respond obediently to the commands of Jesus.  Only those who obediently believe in Jesus can love with the love of God flowing through them.  Otherwise, their love is a diminished love that lacks the power to overcome evil, a shadow loves that mixes selfish motives–perhaps in the face of an enemy the motive of self-preservation–with unqualified, godly motives.

In Matthew 5:42-48, Jesus commanded his followers to…

  • Love our enemies.
  • Do good to those who hate us.
  • Pray for those who persecute us.

Again, only the love of God flowing through us and our trust in his word are we able to do such things.

An example of Fallen Thinking…

My enemies need to be sneered out of their fears.

A couple examples of Kingdom Thinking…

My enemies need to be loved out of their fears.

And…

I will love others because they need it.


 

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