The Ragamuffin Gospel
I was recently loaned a copy of the Ragamuffin Gospel, written by Brennan Manning, a former Catholic priest, recovering alcoholic and now a happily married encourager. Please, please, get yourself a copy! I accidentally spilled coffee on my friend's copy and had to buy him a new one. Actually, I 'm quite thankful for this minor accident as now I get to keep the loaned book. Romans 8:28 anyone?
Brennan Manning has an extraordinary gift to simplify the message of grace. In fact the book is all about grace from the point-of-view of a grateful recipient.
He writes. "The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise. He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is an expression of gratitude rather than an effort to earn forgiveness. Thus the sequence of forgiveness and then repentance, rather than repentance and then forgiveness, it is crucial for understanding the gospel of grace."
This was my own experience. In fact it was probably weeks, if not months, after I became a believer that I really became aware of the need for repentance and, sometime after that, that I learned that even repentance is a gift (Acts 5:31) - something that I am continually thankful for.