Tag Archive: Grace


Why Did Jesus Come?

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.comWhy did Jesus ultimately choose to be born, crucified, and three days later rise from the dead? Not to sound heretical, but ultimately Jesus did not come to merely die for our sins. I believe God’s Word points to a much grander plan.

Too often a prisoner who has spent many years in prison, once released, has a difficult time acclimating to freedom. Ultimately a prisoner is not released just to be released. He is set free to live a new life of freedom operating under a new perspective of how to utilize that liberty. So it is with the forgiven sinner.

Often we are so excited we’ve been released from our prison of sinful selfishness, but then don’t know what to do next. We, in a sense, are standing just outside the prison walls, unsure what steps to take next. So instead of stepping out in faith, we set up camp where we are, never truly enjoying new life in Christ. Jesus reminds us, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

We are redeemed, we are set free not just to be set free, but so we can for first time freely begin to understand and know the Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

So, yes Jesus came and died for our sins, but ultimately He came to do so much more. May we pull up our stakes from the prison walls and begin stepping out in faith, fully assured of our high calling in Christ Jesus! May we seek to continue growing in the understanding of our Glorious Redeemer and also boldly and lovingly make Him know to those both stuck in prison and those who have pitched their tents just outside its walls.

 

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Open Bible“The abundance of grace in Christ makes it possible for us to “reign in life.” Reigning in life is being a Christ-like overcomer. It is growing and maturing in the things of Christ. It is living above circumstances instead of under them. It involves walking increasingly in the liberty of the Lord instead of in the bondage of the world. It involves walking in the wholeness of Christ instead of in the brokenness of man, but it can only be done “through the One, Jesus Christ”. Such cannot be produced in any way by the religious efforts of man, even the dedicated and zealous attempts of a serous Christian. It is only “through the One, Jesus Christ.” Reigning in life comes from trusting in, depending on, abiding in, counting on the One who walked upon this earth and overcame the world, the flesh, and the devil. It comes from looking to the One who always did those things which were pleasing to the heavenly Father. Then, as we draw life and strength from Him, we become more and more those who display His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.”

“Such spiritual fruit comes from the grace of God at work in and through us, because it is the life of Christ flowing into and through those who do not deserve it, could never earn it and could never produce it on their own.  That is what life in Christ is all about. Jesus came full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace (or, grace upon grace)” (vs.16). The true Christian life is by grace from the moment of new birth right on into eternity. Christian living involves one layer of grace upon another, upon another, upon another, etc. Oh how we underestimate the overwhelming abundance of the grace of God. Every day is to be lived by the sustaining grace of God. Every step of progress and change into greater heights of new life in Christ is to be taken by the transforming grace of God. Only God’s abundant grace can take people from death reigning over them, to them reigning in life.”  Bob Hoekstra, “The Psychologizing of the Faith”, pp. 20-21

It is no secret that Roman Catholicism teaches that their official writings are equal with God’s Word.  This, in and of itself, ought to be enough to cause true Christians to see the unbiblical nature of this religion.  Sadly, many have turned a blind and in many cases, a not-so-blind eye to darkness that Roman Catholicism teaches its flock.  Take for instance, its official, yet not often talked about doctrine concerning Muslims.

Although history bears witness to its many bloody battles with fundamental Muslims, it might be interesting to note Rome’s official teachings regarding Islam. In “The Complete and Updated Catechism of the Catholic Church” it says,

“The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in  the first place amongst whom are the Muslims. These profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”  #841, p. 242, The Complete and Updated Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1995.

In contrast, consider the words of Jesus in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.”

Light has no fellowship with darkness.  (2 Corinthians 6:14) For those who think they are Christians yet remain in the Catholic church, the Lord says, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate…and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17.  Neither Mary, nor the Church can save. Only Jesus Christ can save us from our sins. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by His [free and full gift of] grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7.

For a short news article highlighting a fairly recent meeting between Pope Benedict and Muslim leaders, see- http://www.topnews.in/catholic-and-muslim-leaders-meet-historic-talks-283538.

“Worthy?”

Recently I heard a song on our Christian radio station, KLOV. After hearing the chorus I had to look up the lyrics online to be sure I understood the song correctly. Sadly I had. Referring to people, the Christian artist sings, “You are more than flesh and bone. Can’t you see you’re beautiful? Yeah, you gotta believe, you gotta believe. He [God] wants you to see, He wants you to see that you’re not just some wandering soul, that can’t be seen and can’t be known. Yeah, you gotta believe, you gotta believe that you are worth dying for, you’re worth dying for, someone worth dying for.” (Emphasis mine) “Someone Worth Dying For”, by: Mikeschair. 

It’s a nice sentiment, but there’s more than a little error planted in the chorus – “You’re someone worth dying for.”  At first glance this sounds good, but the idea actually nullifies the truth of God’s character, lowering the reality of His love. The whole point of the amazing grace of God is that He showered His love on His enemies, not beautiful people worth dying for. Consider Colossians 1:21, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled.”  If people were worth Jesus dying for, then the value would be centered in us, not in God.  If we actually got what we deserved, we’d all go to Hell. No one deserves Heaven, and we are not worth the salvation God offers us so full and free.  This is what make the love of God so amazing, that He would stoop so low to save a wretch like me. Christ dying on the cross doesn’t prove my worth nor my value. In truth it reveals how awful my sin really is. He came to pay our rebellious penalty, not purchase a bunch of diamonds in the rough. When the redeemed enter Heaven, we will not be singing, “Thank You God, but I know I was worth dying for, someone worth dying for!” Instead we’ll be on our faces crying, “Worthy is the Lamb! All wisdom, glory, honor, and power are unto the Lamb Who was slain. The One Who was, and is, and is to come!” Rev. 4:8, 11 and 5:12.

Giving All to Him!

Giving is an important and humbling attitude, yet not always the most exciting prospect to our flesh. As I think back to when I was little, I don’t think I was ever more excited than when I knew I was getting (not giving) something new. But one thing I now know… there is a reality beyond this world that reminds me that it’s truly more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35.

When Jesus spoke these words, I don’t believe He was talking against or contradicting the blessedness of receiving His glorious Gospel. Rather He was shining His light upon the selfish heart of fallen man. Adam’s race is by very nature selfish, creatures that desire to get as much as they can, many times giving only when expedient to self. In a nutshell, we are consumers at the core. But…once translated into the Lord’s Kingdom, being born again by His incorruptible Word, the beauty of giving should begin to bloom, becoming more and more precious as we yield to His Holy Spirit and Word. But why is giving more blessed than receiving? For the answer we need to go back to the beginning. 

God freely gave Adam and Eve their very souls, time every day to fellowship with Him, a place to live, food to eat and the company of one another. He gave them everything, yet instead of following His example of giving, they did the very opposite, taking what rightfully belonged to their Maker. They took their lives into their own hands, stealing from the Lord God. Ever since that first act of robbery, men have sought to take and take and take, not content until all is consumed, much like the locust.

But praise God He did not leave us in this predicament!  Jesus entered His creation, choosing to be born at the appointed time. Romans 5:6.  He was born as a man, never stopped being God, to do what no man had ever done, yet was originally created to do- enter into a life of giving everything unto the One who rightfully deserves it all.  Jesus laid it all down, giving up His life even unto death. Philippians 2:8.  Instead of taking, He gave His life unto the Father, a living sacrifice to redeem thieves and robbers. What mercy! What grace! What love indeed!

Giving, in and of itself, is a futile act unless you know the True One you are giving all to.  This is the key!  It truly is more blessed to give that to receive when you know who you’re giving it all to – The Lord Jesus, our Blessed Redeemer! Knowing what He has done for such a wretch as me… now knowing Him, my heart sinks in utter humility and is  filled with love for my Jesus! How could I do any less than give all to Him? May we always seek His face, asking the Lord to help us see how foolish it is to hang onto things that aren’t even ours! We have been purchased; bought with a price. Truly we are His, and what could better than that!? 

 “But drops of grief can never repay the debt of love I owe.  So here, Lord, I give myself away.  ‘Tis all that I can do!”  ~Isaac Watts

“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing.  Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.  For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations.”  ~Psalm 100:2-5

“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon His name: make known His deeds among the people.”  ~Psalm 105:1

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