Receptive Grace – Gospel in Life

Receptive Grace

Tim Keller |  February 10, 2002

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  • The Church (Unity, Fellowship, Leadership)
  • Understanding the Gospel
1 Corinthians 8:4-11; Romans 15:1-7
RS 145-05

1 Corinthians 8:4–11; Romans 15:1–7

When we talk about tolerance, it’s more than just accepting a variety of thoughts and ways of life. In our culture, tolerance is often seen as the highest moral achievement. But there’s another level called gospel-receptivity for those whose hearts have been changed by God. Gospel-receptivity is a welcoming, peaceful attitude towards those who are very different from us. It’s not just tolerance, it’s something deeper and better.

1. What receptive grace is not

Paul wrote to the churches in Rome and Corinth where there were arguments about food rules and food offered to pagan gods, causing splits among the believers. He pointed out the mistakes of both the ‘weak’, who felt dirty and guilty, and the ‘strong’, who were more open-minded but didn’t support the weak. Paul suggested a solution: receptive grace. It’s a way of treating others with respect and without exclusion, which could mend these splits.

2. What receptive grace is

The Bible’s idea of acceptance goes beyond just tolerance. It includes embracing those who might be seen as wrong or spiritually less mature. This kind of full acceptance is different from what our culture usually encourages, where it’s okay to avoid judging others but not necessary to have real relationships with those who think differently. It’s important to learn, think, worship, and grow to overcome our own weaknesses and build meaningful relationships. This highlights the Christian duty to show love and acceptance to everyone, regardless of their beliefs or perceived mistakes.



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