Tuesday, July 27, 2010
It's that wonderful free gift by which we are saved and given eternal life, and all our sins are forgiven.
But it occurs to me that some think Grace was an idea God had after sin came into the world.
Sort of like, "Oh my!", said God, "I must do something about that!"
No. Not at all.
Grace was before time. Grace was "invented" by God before there was ever a single sin committed to be forgiven by Grace.
Look at 2 Timothy 1:9,10:
"...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity [literally "before the times of the ages" - Young's Literal Translation],
"but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel..."
If you are already a believer in Jesus Christ, know this: you and the Grace by which you were saved were part of God's plan for you before the world even began.
You don't have to understand it. In fact, you can't fully understand it. That's okay. The beauty of it is just as beautiful.
If you don't know Jesus as Lord and Savior, I beg you to believe in Him today.
He died on the cross for our sins. He was buried and rose again from the dead on the third day. He proclaims that whoever will come to Him, He will not reject.
Whoever WILL, may come, Jesus said.
Come to Him now. He will forgive your sins. You will have eternal life with Him.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
If you would like to read more about Him, you might want to start with the Gospel of John from the Bible:
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The First Sunrise of the New Year 2009
compiled by Michele Rayburn
Behold, He makes all things new...a New Covenant, a new creation in Christ, a new identity in Christ, a new spirit...
Psalm 40:3 He has put a *new* song in my mouth. Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.
Psalm 96:1 Oh, sing to the Lord a *new* song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Isaiah 42:9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, And *new* things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.
Isaiah 62:2 The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a *new* name, Which the mouth of the Lord will name.
Isaiah 65:17 "For behold, I create *new* heavens and a *new* earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind."
Jeremiah 31:31 "Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a *new* covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah."
Ezekiel 11:19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a *new* spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 18:31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a *new* heart and a *new* spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?
Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a *new* heart and put a *new* spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the *new* covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Mark 14:24 And He said to them, "This is My blood of the *new* covenant, which is shed for many."
Luke 22:20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the *new* covenant in My blood, which is shed for you."
John 13:34 A *new* commandment that I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in *newness* of life.
Romans 7:6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the *newness* of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the *renewing* of your mind...
2 Corinthians 3:6 God...who also made us sufficient as ministers of the *new* covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 4:16 Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being *renewed* day by day.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a *new* creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become *new*.
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a *new* creation.
Ephesians 2:14-15 For He Himself is our peace...having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one *new* man from the two, thus making peace...
Ephesians 4:22-24 ...put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be *renewed* in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the *new* man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.
Colossians 3:9-10 ...you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the *new* man who is *renewed* in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.
Titus 3:5 ...according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and *renewing* of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 8:8 "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a *new* covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah..." (Jer.31:31)
Hebrews 8:13 In that He says, "A *new* covenant," He has made the first obsolete.
Hebrews 9:15 He is the Mediator of the *new* covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 10:19-20 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a *new* and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh...
Hebrews 12:22-24 But you have come...to Jesus the Mediator of the *new* covenant...
1 Peter 2:2 ...as *newborn* babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby...
2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for *new* heavens and a *new* earth in which righteousness dwells.
1 John 2:8 Again, a *new* commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
2 John 1:5 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a *new* commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning; that we love one another.
Revelation 2:17 And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a *new* name written which no one knows except him who receives it.
Revelation 3:12 And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the *New* Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God. And I will write on him My *new* name.
Revelation 14:3 And they sang as it were a *new* song before the throne...
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a *new* heaven and a *new* earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.
Revelation 21:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, *New* Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 21:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things *new*."
Morning Has Broken - sung by Cat Stevens
Thursday, July 15, 2010
A Pharisee, who was a lawyer, asked Jesus a question to test Him (Matthew 22:36).
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
"'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
This is a pretty familiar passage to many Christians.
How The Legalist Thinks
Very simply put, here is how a Legalist reacts to that passage in his unfortunately bondage-ridden mind:
All right! There's a couple of commandments I can sink my teeth into! I'm going to buckle down and do my best to follow those commandments! If I can follow THOSE commandments, I'll be in effect following ALL the commandments!
"I'll work hard to follow them! I'll read my Bible diligently, pray at least a half-hour a day (I think I'll use the A-C-T-S Method...Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication), and see what I can do to serve my neighbors!
"Commandments and obedience, that's what it's about! After all, doesn't God deserve it?
You get the idea.
And if you're thinking, "What's wrong with THAT?", please read on.
After another round of "buckling down" to obey those commandments, the Legalist will think one of two things:
(1) "I've done pretty well this day [week, month, etc.]! At least better than Joe and Sue over there! All right! I'm gonna keep up this obeying stuff!", or
(2) "Oh no, I've failed again! What a total jerk I am. Am I even saved? I've confessed that sin a thousand times! How can I even face God? He must be VERY disappointed in me. Probably even angry. And why not? What a low-down skunk I am."
And he doesn't go to the Lord right away, because he is too ashamed and doesn't "deserve" to.
Self-righteousness or Despair. The two pendulum swings of the Legalist.
How The Grace Thinker Thinks
"Wow! It's all about love, isn't it Lord?! You loved me first, died for me on the cross and are now living in me!
"It's no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me!
"I never could, and still can't, follow Your commandments perfectly enough to earn Your love and favor, but You did it for me when You nailed the commandments to Your cross and I died to the Law in You!
"You forgave me all of my sins, even the ones I haven't even committed yet! How wonderful and loving and gracious You are!
"I'm free! Free to follow You without condemnation, as You live your life in me, and work in me to will and to do for Your good pleasure!
"The more I understand the depth and breadth and length and height of Your love for me, the more I love You Lord! I can't help it!
"I love You because You first loved me, and You're showing me more and more how great Your love and grace really are!
"And as You fill my heart with love, a Fruit of Your Spirit, I find I love my neighbor too! It's a miracle!
"Thank you Lord! I confess those sins I've foolishly fallen into today, but I can face You freely because I know You've already forgiven me, and just want me to walk in fellowship with You, warts and all! How really great that is! No condemnation! Free!
"I DO love You, and I DO love my neighbor, because You're pouring out Your love in my heart even now!"
Should we sin, then, so that grace will abound? Paul the Apostle anticipated that question.
Because if all our sins are forgiven already, why not live like the devil?
If we're born again, Paul reminds us that we are a new creation. We've died to sin, and in our new heart, our new spirit, we love Christ and hate sin.
So now when we sin, it goes AGAINST our nature. And that's what happens when we walk by the flesh.
When Christ came into us to indwell us, we became "one spirit with Him" (1 Corinthians 6:17).
So now when we walk by the Spirit, we not only walk by the Holy Spirit, we also walk by our own new spirit! And when we do that, we will love the Lord and love our neighbor.
It's not about commandments. It's about love.
That's biblical Grace thinking.