The World Food Expo and the Grace of God

The Philippine World Food Expo ended today. There was food in every corner, in every size and shape, and taste. There were also various food machineries. And as usual, where there is food, there are people.  As I accompanied my wife in this sort of trips, I found myself contemplating on some spots I saw, especially the freebies. They made me think of grace.

It became apparent as I observed it that where there is a pack of people, there is free food. Of course, it is a World Food Expo and you would expect food. Not just food, but good food. After all, you pay a 100 peso entrance fee for it. Not that free food tastes are required for every booth, but you would expect that some would have free pageantry of their wares, mostly food.

And then I thought: I wish this is the same reaction to grace! Because grace is free! Take it!

I mean grace of the sort spoken by the Bible as saving grace. The sort of what the Reformers like Martin Luther called as the Sola Fide component of what they believe as the Five Solas.

The Bible says this:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(Eph 2:8-9 ESV)

Salvation is a gift. It’s free. So why doesn’t this freebie sell so well?

Perhaps for the most of us, we don’t feel too hungry for something that claims that saves us. In a world filled with many gospel substitutes, there is so little place for the gospel that really satisfies the soul. We have a hunger but not for that. Our quest for our portions of money, fame, and fortune can really give us fillers for that hunger that we feel and yet deny. And yes, as I think about it, even food can be a filler for that hunger – that gnawing hunger of the soul.

We are all hungry. We are just trying to satisfy that hunger differently. The Reformers called the process of being made aware of that hunger as regeneration. And yet we all have that hunger, and as long as we are not regenerated as to what the hunger is all about, there would be fillers, because we are truly hungry.

Ah yes among the fillers, finally there is religion. Religion is satisfying because it makes us believe we can please God with our own abilities. Our prayers, our Bible-reading, our good works, our charity, our gifts to the church, our lending money to friends, our taking care of our children, our being good models and citizens, our contribution to the education and advancement of people, our good works:  all are going to be used by God as the grounds whether we would be saved. God would balance all those against our sins, and in the end, if the good outweighs the bad, you’re saved! You earned it!

You earned it! Wrong! Remember, the verse about it being a gift? A gift is not a gift if you earned it.

Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Eph 2:9 NLT)

But now, as I’m writing this, perhaps the reason why so many flock to this Free Taste stalls is that the goodie doesn’t really cost anything.

Free bread? Why not? Follow the man! Perhaps too, this is the common concept of grace today. What Dietrich Bonhoeffer callled cheap grace.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. (Joh 6:26 ESV)

Salvation is free yes, but it’s not cheap. It was bought with a price. It would yield evidences, it would yield fruit.

Following Jesus isn’t cheap. It would cost you your life. It’s not a freebie thing without effects. It’s a kiss and at the same time it’s a kick that makes you move. It is never a dead meat.

Salvation is a freebie food. But it’s a food that would make you kick fences of sin in your backyard. It’s so potent because its ingredients are the flesh and blood of someone who said He is the Son of God. It’s beneficial effects are guaranteed.

It’s either that or the claim of any stall offering it as a freebie without its life-changing effects are fake. This is freebie food to change us – Food from Heaven that satisfies.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.
(Joh 6:26-27 ESV)

Well, just to serve you a food for thought. Take it.

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Free Classic Christian Audio Books to Download this March 2010

Download – christianaudio.com

I really suggest you make the above download this month of March 2010.  Hurry for you may miss this FREE OFFER.

Click for a FREE Audio Link

When I’m in a long drive, I make it a point to listen to audio books.  It makes those awake moments worthwhile.  Driving is tiring but filling the time it takes to do it with classic worthy books make it worthwhile.  I suggest you download these.

The first of these is this outstanding classic called The Cost of Discipleship. In my humble opinion, no preacher of the Word should miss this.

Click if you want more info of this book

Here are some blurbs from Amazon that would make you realize the importance of this book.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” With these words, in The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave powerful voice to the millions of Christians who believe personal sacrifice is an essential component of faith. Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor and theologian, was an exemplar of sacrificial faith: he opposed the Nazis from the first and was eventually imprisoned in Buchenwald and hung by the Gestapo in 1945. The Cost of Discipleship, first published in German in 1937, was Bonhoeffer’s answer to the questions, “What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us to-day?” Bonhoeffer’s answers are rooted in Lutheran grace and derived from Christian scripture (almost a third of the book consists of an extended meditation on the Sermon on the Mount). The book builds to a stunning conclusion: its closing chapter, “The Image of Christ,” describes the believer’s spiritual life as participation in Christ’s incarnation, with a rare and epigrammatic confidence: “Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord,” Bonhoeffer writes, “we recover our true humanity, and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with the whole human race.” —Michael Joseph Gross

Product Description

One of the most important theologians of the twentieth century illuminates the relationship between ourselves and the teachings of Jesus

What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today? Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers these timeless questions by providing a seminal reading of the dichotomy between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.” “Cheap grace,” Bonhoeffer wrote, “is the grace we bestow on ourselves…grace without discipleship….Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the girl which must be asked for, the door at which a man must know….It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”

The Cost of Discipleship is a compelling statement of the demands of sacrifice and ethical consistency from a man whose life and thought were exemplary articulations of a new type of leadership inspired by the Gospel, and imbued with the spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty.

The next is one of  my favorite books on the Cross.  In our Church in Pampanga (CBC) we usually exposit one of the 50 reasons every Lord’s Supper.  It has tremendously blessed our church in so doing.  May the grace of the Cross be learned and cherished by all.

Click here for more details of this book

Happy Downloading and then Happy Listening.