Martin Luther said:
If you are a preacher of Grace, then preach a true, not a fictitious grace; if grace it true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. For he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness but as Peter says, we look for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells... Pray boldly-- you too are a mighty sinner.
Part ofCathleen Falsani's discussion with Jean Larroux, Pastor of a church called Lagniappe Presbyterian Church in Mississippi in her book "Sin Boldly":
"I think one of the greatest temptations for ministers is to talk about our sin in neatly packaged sermon illustrations so I can clean it up and sterilize it to the place where it's actually a subtle illustration of my victorious application of Jesus rather than a true illustration of the fact that I'm an asshole." This made me laugh out loud, settle in, and urge him to continue. "I mean, I come into work and I've got all this stuff going on and I snap at somebody and I'm just a real, live asshole. And grace in that moment, you can't neatly package. It's somebody throwing their arms around you and saying, 'I love you, but you are an asshole'"
Yes, but you're my asshole, I envision God saying.
"Grace doesn't deny my assholeness," Jean said, "Grace can't be amazing until your sin is amazing. You've got to get in that place where you can be startled by it, because if you do everything right, you don't deserve it."
For the uninitiated, it's crucial to understand how important food is to the culture in The Bay, New Orleans. The savoring of food is a celebration of life itself. That's one of the reasons Jean decided to call his church "Lagniappe". It's an old Creole word that means "something extra". It's an unexpected gift. A little bit of shrimp and they put in an extra handful, that's the lagniappe," Jean said. "It's something you can't pay for. Something for nothing. Something for free."
In other words, a lagniappe is getting what you don't deserve? "Absolutely," Jean said. "In that sense, this area was really primed for grace. It understood the gospel it didn't know. Too often the church is the gruel sippers who have their faces pressed against the window of the world, watching the world celebrate life and they don't get it. When in reality, the father welcomed the prodigal son home in the gospel of Luke, chapter 15, and the world pressed its face against the window to see the celebration of grace"