The Ragamuffin Gospel
I purchased The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning over 10 years ago and read it for the first time this year. What a great reminder of the good news of the gospel and grace! Below are several quotes from the final chapters of the book:
Every form of sin and its consequences, sickness and disease of every kind, drug addiction, alcoholism, broken relationships, insecurity, hatred, lust, pride, envy, jealousy, cancer, bone disease, arthritis, and on and on were experienced and carried by "a thing despised and rejected by men" (Isaiah 53:3) who knew the nadir of an agony such as no one has ever dreamed. "In other words, God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, not holding men's faults against them, and he has entrusted to us the good news that they are reconciled" (2 Corinthians 5:19). Jesus Christ nailed to the wood has carried our pain into the peace of grace. He has made peace through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20)
The moment the focus of your life shifts from your badness to his goodness and the question becomes not "What have I done?" but "What can he do?" release from remorse can happen; miracle of miracles, you can forgive yourself because you are forgiven, accept yourself because you are accepted, and begin to start building up the very places you once tore down. There is grace to help in every time of trouble. That grace is the secret to being able to forgive ourselves. Trust it.
Only love empowers the leap in trust, the courage to risk everything on Jesus, the readiness to move into the darkness guilded only by a pillar of fire. Trust clings tot he belief that whatever happens in our lives is designed to teach us holiness.
Satan prompts us to give importance to what has no importance.
The spiritual future of ragamuffins consists not in disavowing that we are sinners but in accepting that truth with growing clarity, rejoicing in God's incredible longing to rescue us in spite of everything.
To the extent that I reject my ragamuffin identity, I turn away from God, the community and myself.
The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of freedom.
However, only the discipline adminstered out of love is corrective and productive.
If in our hearts we really don't beleive that God loves us as we are, if we are still tainted by the lie that we can do something to make God love us more, we are rejecting the message of the cross.
In faith there is movement and development. Each day something is new. To be Christian, faith has to be new, that is, alive and growing. It cannot be statis, finished, settled.
God wants us back even more than we could possibly want to be back.
we try to live so that he will love us, rather than living because he has already loved us.
The gospel of grace announces: forgiveness precedes repentance. The sinner is accepted before he pleads for mercy.
No evil can resist grace forever. . .The secret of the mystery is: God is always greater.
The Bible is the love story of God with His people. God calls, pursues, forgives, and heals. Our response to His love is itself His gift.
Where sin aboudned, grace aboudned all the more.