One of the main ways we experience God’s love is through the love of others as we give and receive: we need each other.
But this is not merely a program of social improvement. Those who go “out into the world” without a connection to the incarnate Christ are outside of the truth (2 John 7, 9-11).
Word and deed always go together.
The apostle Paul used “the same language for proclaiming his message (e.g., diakonia in 2 Cor. 3:3, 7—9; 4:1; 5:18; 6:3; 11:8) and for social ministry (diakonia in 2 Cor. 8:19-20; 9:1, 12-13).”12. Sadly, we tend to choose between these, but a biblical understanding of divine hospitality holds them together.
But genuine repentance is not about entering a pit of despair and self-abuse; it is about rediscovering the extravagance of God’s grace and the liberating power of his Spirit. Repentance means confessing things about ourselves, confessing things about God, and then trusting the Giver that we can be changed (see ch. 5). Repentance leads to life, not death (Acts 11:18)
As the meal of Communion brings us back to God’s hospitality, the Spirit renews us, and we then reach out to the world in a spirit, not of damnation but of compassion.