Now I lay me down to sleep ... but first I had a few thoughts to record before they're gone forever.
I spent yesterday evening teaching basic peacemaking to a group of college kids who are leaders in their college fellowship. It was fun to have the chance to teach a group of eager students (okay, some were more eager than others), and it was also good to be able to work on some of my teaching/speaking skills.
One of my main concerns when I was preparing was that I would present this list of "rules" that would come across as both moralistic and legalistic (at WTS, both of those are anathema). So I was very self-conscious to avoid an emphasis that would tend in that direction. But I was so encouraged as I was talking because I found words of God's grace coming out of my mouth -- words that I had not prepared, but words that reflect that my heart has truly started to appropriate what the Gospel of grace means for our lives. In other words, I was telling these students that their forgiveness flows out of the forgiveness that they have through Christ, their ability to love another person comes purely by God's power, and the potential to have true reconciliation is real, because Christ's death has conquered all sin.
As in many things, there is a fine line between what I say/believe and what your average legalist/moralist would say. We are, after all, condoning and condeming basically the same behavior. The difference, though - and this makes all the difference in the world - is that we recognize that we absolutely cannot arrive at this way of life apart from the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and all of our hope stems from Christ's death and resurrection.
I'm repeating myself ... I'm going to bed!