God have Mercy on a Rule-Breaking Sinner Like Me

Often we approach service to God with an attitude of arrogance. We leave the impression that by our superior knowledge, understanding, and obedience we are somehow made holy as a result. We trust in our ability to grasp and apply Scripture for salvation. May I borrow from Paul, “God forbid.” Jesus condemned the Pharisees for the same mistake. Unfortunately today I see this attitude in my own heart as well as that of my fellow servants.

Shouldn’t we be thankful for God saving us? What makes us deserve salvation? Our superior knowledge, our masterful understanding, or is it the way we “obey the Word?”

When God saves us, it will be for the same reason God saved Abraham. It will be because we trust in the promises of God. Even then, it won’t be because I got the “facts” right. It will be because God extended His mercy to a unworthy, ungrateful, rule breaking sinner like me.

Guys, we aren’t in a position to display arrogance and legalism. We ought to humbly thank God He was willing to consider the trust in our hearts instead of the understanding of the minds or the actions of our bodies.

How Secure is Grace?

Scripture says, “by grace are you saved though faith and this is the gift of God.”  Without grace there would be no salvation.  I can never live good enough, do enough, or know enough to deserve salvation.  I will never be saved on my own.  I am righteous because God has declared me righteous.

By faith I obey the Gospel.  When I obey the gospel I accept the gift of God and I am reconciled to Him.  As a reconciled child of God I am exactly where God intended me to be.  I am again in relationship with the Lord.  

God created man in His image so that God and man could maintain a relationship rooted in the actions of the creator.   This relationship  was the reason man was created in God’s image.  Man’s sin placed an obstacle in the path of this relationship.  Jesus died so that payment for sin could be paid and this obstacle removed.  Once the payment was made and the sin obstacle removed the relationship could be re-established between God and man. 

The reconciliation of man is the desire of God.  Man can do nothing to bring this about.  This is always totally in the hands of God.  Once we understand the depth and purpose of what God did for us we must ask a question.  How secure are we in this grace God has provided? 

To answer the above question we must determine the source of grace.  As a child I was taught that grace was unmerited favor.  I was also taught that our reconciliation was two fold.  God did His part and man then did his part.  I was taught we both had a hand in bringing this grace concept about.  If we did our part, which was obeying the gospel, God would forgive our sins.  If we continued to do our part which was called remaining faithful we had a hope of salvation when we stood in judgment.  It was my understanding that if I committed a sin I must repent of and confess before God that sin or I would “fall from God’s unmerited favor or grace.”  I never quite knew if my relationship was secure because being in grace rested on my making certain I repented of and confessed every sin.  Actually under these circumstances whether I was in grace or had fallen from grace rested on my efforts.  To answer the question from the above paragraph, under these circumstances my efforts had become the source of grace.

The problem is we cannot be the source of grace or salvation.  Grace and salvation are a gift from God to man.  When I commit to God and follow in the likeness of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection by putting my Lord on in baptism I am accepting both grace and salvation.  Grace and salvation are always a gift from God.  God’s grace reconciles me to God when I accept the gift of salvation.  God’s grace puts me back in relationship with God.  My relationship with God doesn’t rest on my shoulders.  It rests with God.

How secure is grace?  It is as secure as my relationship with God.  1 John 1:7 tells us, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Christ cleanseth us from our sins.”  This is telling us as long as we remain in and continue to build this relationship we will have fellowship with God.  Furthermore the gift of Jesus blood given to us by the grace of God will continue to take away the sin in our lives.

As long as I remain in relationship with God I remain in His grace.  This is why God tells us in 1 John 5:13, “These things are written that you may know that you have eternal life.”  Grace is as secure as salvation.  It is a gift that will always be with me unless I choose to turn my back on God.  I will always be covered with Christ blood unless I choose to sever my relationship with the Lord.  Then and only then will I fall from grace.  How secure is grace?  God’s grace is secure as our commitment to God Himself.

 

I Can’t Improve On This

goda“Grace” is not just a theory, a concept or a doctrine. It is
God-in-Christ -for-sinners. Nothing we do can earn it, create it, or
make it happen. We can only receive it with the
empty hands of
faith
, trusting God and relying on his promise that he has forgiven
our sins and has accepted us for Jesus’ sake. Until we do that, all
our rules, requirements, conditions and obligations only miss the
point and waste our time. But when we do trust the gospel promise
that God receives sinners, we may happily entrust ourselves to such
a God — eager to seek and to know what pleases him, confident of
his goodness and of his love.”  Copied from Edward Fudge Column. 
Please go to this link to read the rest of his article.  It is really good material.  This is  the link:  

http://us.mc560.mail.yahoo.com/mc/showMessage?fid=Inbox&sort=date&order=down&startMid=0&.rand=1118253056&da=0&midIndex=0&mid=1_333483_ALlu%2FNgAAORsSZtoEQf92lID0V4&f=1&nextMid=1_325232_ALVu%2FNgAAQJzSZrxUA5jEwLPPik&m=1_333483_ALlu%2FNgAAORsSZtoEQf92lID0V4,1_325232_ALVu%2FNgAAQJzSZrxUA5jEwLPPik,1_327774_ALtu%2FNgAAGf5SZr2OwYUCneA%2Ffo,1_306543_ALVu%2FNgAADWoSZmzewasSVUxnKc,1_291769_ALtu%2FNgAAKyVSZjLqAPVDjPOQ7I,1_43100_ALZu%2FNgAAWOlST65cwXaviVudjM,  

 God bless, dell kimberly      PS  if you can visit http://alphainventions.com/

 

Can We Behave Our Way Into Heaven?

bygods-graceToo often we leave the impression we believe we must “behave our way into heaven.”  On the surface we will acknowledge salvation is by God’s grace.  Yet, when we are pressed on the issue we always fall back to the old addage, “we are serving the Lord so we can get to heaven.”  When we get to heaven we will not be there because we have behaved our way into heaven.  We will be there because God has declared us holy.  Ephesians 2:8 says “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God  not by works, so that no one can boast.”  God saves us from our sins!  We cannot behave in a way good enough to demand God forgive us our sins.  Must we do good works for God?  Absolutely we should.  We were created in Christ to do good works.  What we often do not understand is that our salvation is not tied to behaving our way into heaven.  Our good works are done to bring glory to God.  We must recognize it is through the blood of Jesus on the cross we have been saved from our sins!

God’s Grace for Man

For most of my life I have heard “grace” described as umerited favor.  From a purely clinical point of view this seems to be a good description.  How many of us really understand this description as it applies to our everyday lives?  For many of us grace is beyond our comprehension.

In our fellowship we operate like the pendulum on a clock.  We swing to extremes on just about every issue.  The subject of grace is no different.  Too often we fall into two groups.  We have the salvation by faith alone group.  This group is reacting against the works group.  On the other side of the equation is the work your way to righteousness group.  Their main intent is to show that it isn’t by faith only.  The truth lies somewhere in the middle between these two extremes.  As a result of these extreme views grace has become a point of dissention.  This ought not be!

Let me describe first what grace is not.  Grace is not permission to sin.  The doctrine of permission basically says, “Ignore God because His grace will cover you.  The doctrine of permission is a perversion of grace.  Grace does not allow us to live our lives anyway we choose.  The Romans had made this mistake.  Paul told them in Romans 6:1-2 they had no right to continue in sin.

On the other hand grace isn’t married to the concept of Legalism.  Legalism is trusting in self rather than Christ.  This doctrine basically says, “Here is perfect doctrine, from an intellectual perspective understand perfectly, physically keep it without mistake, and thou might be saved.”  Man has never and will never be justified by law keeping.  Galatians 2:16 tells us this very thing.

What is Grace?  This seems to be the question we must address.  John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  In 2 Corinthians 8:9 scripture further explains what has taken place through grace.  It says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”  Grace came to earth through Jesus Christ.  Real grace is Jesus changing places with us.  Jesus became the sin payment.  He became death for us.  It was man who deserved to die, but Christ extended to us unmerited favor when he changed places with us.

This grace is available to all men.  Jesus came to earth as sin payment and grace for all men.  According to Scripture all will not be saved.  In fact, only a remnant will find their way to eternal life.  This doesn’t cheapen grace.  In fact it makes it of even more value.  While Jesus was willing to change place with any and all men, only those who accept this unmerited favor through genuine obedient faith will be saved.  Praise God for His love.  It is through the willingness of God that we enjoy this wonderful grace.  Because God loved us beyond measure Christ is allowed and willing to change places with us.  That my friend is what grace is really all about. Talk about unmerited favor!  It is really about Jesus willingness to change places with sinful man.  This is the practical definition of Grace.     -dell kimberly-