In response to God's grace
October 27, 2014
by Pastor Tim Wheatley, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato a

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Happy October to you. When I say that, I really mean it because it means September is over. This last September, I engaged in the 20,000 kettle bell swing challenge.

Before I tell you about that challenge, I would like to back up because seven years ago, I was given the greatest gift in the world. My son was born, and my life was changed.

That is one of the few times when I can remember my world view changed almost completely overnight. The order of importance of my life on the day before was God, wife, me; and now it was God, wife, son, me. I had effectively moved down the notch by one.

Then, three years later, another much more gradual change came into my life. My son started to have more energy than I did. It snuck up on me, but all of a sudden, at the end of the day, he still wanted to run, but I was ready for a rest.

So, I did a little research on methods of increasing cardio vascular capacity (yeah, that means exercise) and I found kettle bells. Kettle bells (hard style) has a very low injury rate and as a father, it was important that it took relatively little time (about one and one-half hours a week).

After three years, I took the goal of doing 20,000 kettle bell swings with a 53-pound bell in a month. This worked out to be 800 a day (taking Sundays off), which is 50 an hour for each of the 16 hours I am normally awake.

So for all of September, I took a kettle bell with me everywhere I went – to the hospital on visits, to the office, to a pastoral conference. By the end of September, I was exhausted, but Sept. 30 I did my 20,000th swing.

My kids no longer have more energy than me. I am not an endless fount, but I have a lot more energy than I did four years ago, and more than my kids.

So, right now you are thinking, how does this relate to faith? Well, the truth is, I set out to talk to you about sanctification, and my tale is exactly how we think about sanctification (how we live differently when we are justified).

The life-changing event, justification (how we are righteous before judgement), is God’s grace. When we could not fulfill the law, Christ fulfilled it for us; we then receive the grace through faith.

It is a little like the birth of child – although you technically made a contribution, the life-changing gift is beyond your abilities. After justification, we live our life in response to what God has done for us.

It is very much like the kettle bells I have done – I can guarantee that if I had not had kids, I would never have started kettle bells, and would never have done the 20,000 in a month, but because my life was changed, I changed, and reacting out of the gift, I lived differently.

It is the same with our faith. It is because of God’s gift for us, grace, that we respond out of love and gratitude to make the world a better place. We are called to discipleship, not so God will love us better or think we are good enough, but in response to God’s gift of grace, we live to make the world a better place.

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