We love the Gospel’s invitation. We love to hear that God loves us and welcomes us, and we love to know that grace is extended to cover our wrongdoing and brokenness. What we like less is the Gospel’s confrontation of that which is destructive in our lives. We don’t like to hear that we need to change to become our best selves. But, when it comes to other people, we may be tempted to reverse this trend. We may find ourselves emphasising the confrontation of the Gospel against the “sin” in those with whom we disagree, and we may feel offended by the idea that God would invite those whom we consider less than worthy to be part of God’s family.

But if we are to embrace the full Gospel that Jesus proclaimed and lived, we must be willing to accept both the gracious invitation of God, and the challenging confrontation of God. While God’s invitation is offered freely to all, including those whom we would rather exclude, God’s confrontation also comes to all. We need God’s grace and love to experience the transforming power of the Spirit, and we need to be transformed to experience God’s abundant life. Until we learn to be comfortable with both invitation and confrontation, we will be unable to make a real difference in the world, because we will either be naive about evil, or we will become legalistic and judgemental. And neither of these attitudes can bring the healing and change we need.

This week we open ourselves to God’s gracious invitation, and to God’s challenging confrontation.

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