In his book, Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: "in the presence of a Christian brother, I can dare to be a sinner (page 119)." What he meant by that is that Christian community offers us a safe place to acknowledge who we really are.
Why would that be the case?
According to Paul, we can dare to be the sinners we are because there is no condemnation for us in Christ Jesus. We can freely acknowledge the depth of our sinfulness to one another because the Spirit has set us free from the power of sin and death through the pure, unmerited grace of Christ. We can confess how far we are from perfection because our Father already sees us as perfect in Christ: justified, glorified, fully conformed to the image of his Son through the Spirit's transformative power (Romans 8:29-30).
Bonhoeffer goes on to say that not all Christians offer this safe place to one another. He recognizes that we can only expect grace from Christians who are themselves living in God's grace.
And so, I need to ask myself: Can other Christians dare to be sinners in my presence? Am I offering my brothers and sisters a safe place, free from all condemnation? Do I offer them compassion, forgiveness and restoration, no matter what sin they confess? If not, am I really living under God's amazing grace?
We should no longer have to hide our daily need of grace, because we have all received a perfect grace.
Lord Jesus, thank you for freeing me from all condemnation, and for already seeing me as fully justified, fully glorified, and fully conformed to Christ's image by grace alone. Make me someone who experiences your grace and offers it consistently to others, so that we can dare to be sinners together, knowing we are no longer sinners in your sight. Amen.
Go Deeper — Is God inviting you to show grace to a particular Christian you might have been condemning in your heart? Imagine that person as he or she will be in eternity — fully free from all sin, conformed to the image of Christ. Then seek opportunities to be a channel of God's grace in that person's life.
Photo Credit: Rodion Kutsaev