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Complete the Circle

When Jesus sets conditions on grace
This sermon is part of the sermon series "No Wonder They Crucified Him". See series.


In his book Bono in Conversation, author Michka Assayas recounts a remarkable discussion he had with the lead singer and songwriter of the mega-star rock group U2. While Bono is frequently criticized by some Christians for his salty language and liberal social views, it remains a fact that U2 began as a Christian fellowship and still plumbs biblical themes in many of their chart-busting songs.

Mr. Assayas, who is not a follower of Christ himself, began by asking the rock star: "Don't you think appalling things happen when people become too religious?" Bono acknowledged that there were certainly risks there, but then countered by saying something fascinating: "It's a mind-blowing concept [to me] that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people … but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between grace and karma."

Assayas wanted to know what he meant by that last line, and Bono answered: "At the center of all religions is the idea of karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one …. And yet, along comes this idea called grace to upend all that …. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff. I'd be in big trouble if karma was going to finally be my judge." Bono added: "It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for grace, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity …. Christ took on the sins of the world so that what we put out did not come ...

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Dan Meyer is pastor of Christ Church.us, a nondenominational, multisite church with locations in Oak Brook and Lombard, Illinois.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Our act and Christ's

II. The condition of grace

III. Completing the circle