Gilead Quotes, Part III

Let me say first of all that the grace of God is sufficient to any transgression, and that to judge is wrong, the origin and essence of much error and cruelty. I am aware of these things, as I hope you are also. p. 155

In Scripture, the one sufficient reason for the forgiveness of debt is simply the existence of debt. And it goes on to compare this to divine grace, and to the Prodigal Son and his restoration to his place in his father’s house, though he neither asks to be restored as son nor even repents of the grief he has caused his father…

I believe it concludes quite effectively. It says Jesus puts his hearer in the role of the father, of the one who forgives. Because if we are, so to speak, the debtor (and of course we are that, too), that suggests no graciousness in us. And grace is the great gift. So to be forgiven is only half the gift. The other half is that we also can forgive, restore, and liberate, and therefore we can feel the will of God enacted through us, which is the great restoration of ourselves to ourselves. p. 161

One of the ladies . . . got herself into a considerable excitement talking about flames, that is, perdition, so I felt obliged to take down The Institutes and read them the passage on the lot of the reprobate, about how their torments are “figuratively expressed to us by physical things,” unquenchable fire and so on, to express “how wretched it is to be cut off from all fellowship with God. I have the passage in front of me. It is alarming, certainly, but it isn’t ridiculous. I told them, if you want to inform yourselves as to the nature of hell, don’t hold your hand in a candle flame, just ponder the meanest most desolate place in your soul. p. 208

And what is the purpose of a prophetic except to find meaning in trouble? p. 233

The Lord absolutely transcends any understanding I have of him, which makes loyalty to him a different thing from loyalty to whatever customs and doctrines and memories I happen to associate with him. p. 235

Here is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, in comprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence? p. 238

There were two further points I felt I should have made in our earlier conversations, one of them being that doctrine is not belief, it is only one way of talking about belief, and the other being that Greek word sozo, which is usually translated “saved,” can also mean healed, restored, that sort of thing. So the conventional translation narrows the meaning of the word in a way that can create false expectations. I thought he should be aware that grace is not so poor a thing that it cannot present itself in any numbers of ways. pp 239-40

There are two occasions when the sacred beauty of Creation becomes dazzlingly apparent, and they occur together. One is when we feel our mortal insufficiency to the world, and the other is when we feel the world’s mortal insufficiency to us. p. 245

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