Exposing Zacchaeus

Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminded us that grace is free but not cheap, gratis but not banal, gratuitous but not superfluous. The reformers of the 16th century defined the cost of grace by a single word: repentance. Repentance comes about when “terror strikes the conscience” (Melanchthon). Only thus can grace be truly free: in recognizing our sin, we are left without any bargaining chips, without appeal and defenses.

The movement of grace must always start with us. If terror does not strike the conscience, what we get is terrorism, whether through suicidal bombers or genocidal indebtedness, through weapons of mass destruction or weapons of mass deception.

 

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