Friday, September 14, 2007
So Walk In Him - Part 2
Continued from Part 1
The devil loves this confusion between Saint and Sinner, and between New Covenant and Old Covenant. He loves confusion between the biblical concept of a "Saint" as anyone who is a born-again child of God, and the Roman Catholic nonsense that a "Saint" is someone who meets some elaborate criteria of the Mother Church, and is "voted in".
The devil loves confusion between the Old Covenant (which Hebrews 8 says couldn't bring righteousness because of man's inability to keep the Law) and the New Covenant, in which God puts His laws in our hearts, fulfills those laws in Christ on the cross, declares us righteous (Justification), and forgives us of all our sins, past, present and future.
So it's no surprise -- though a crying shame -- that children of God think that God is angry at them when they fall short and sin. And otherwise fine Christians, who mean well, perpetuate this ridiculous notion, without one shred of support from the New Covenant Scriptures!
And so we Christians often run away from this angry God, instead of toward Him, when we fail. We won't look Him in the face, because we think it's a face of anger. What a tragedy.
This is not the place for an extended explanation of the subject in the scriptures. But here's a challenge for those who doubt what I'm saying: Search the epistles of the New Testament for any teaching that God is ever angry with His children.
By the way, don't think the passages on God's chastisement are regarding some kind of punishment out of anger. Study them closely, and you will see they involve loving, usually gentle correction, from a loving Father, who just wants his children to be in close fellowship with Him. No condemnation, no unforgiveness, no bitterness, no anger.
Like a daddy teaching his 1-year-old to walk, while the kid keeps wobbling, staggering, and falling...sometimes painfully in the wrong direction, but often into a laughing Daddy's arms for a big hug.
And that’s the biggest reason why grace is so important to the Christian life. Because it causes us to want to fellowship with Christ. To draw near to Him, and not away. And that drawing near is the very SOURCE of our Life.
"...Christ, who IS our life...", Colossians 3:4.
And ironically, moving away from a Law-based life to a Grace-based life doesn’t cause us to sin more, but less. That’s why Romans 6:14 says “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” You are not judged or loved or favored under Law, which says “do”, but under Grace, which says “done”.
With apologies to Jimmy Stewart, it can be a Wonderful Life between our initial salvation and our glorification, if we heed Colossians 2:6, and walk in grace just as we received Christ in grace ... by simple faith.
Faith that He has already forgiven us of all our sins, past present and future.
Faith that we are no longer under condemnation, because our sins have been paid for and put away as far as the East is from the West.
Notice I didn’t say He overlooked our sins. He couldn’t be that unjust. No, He exercised His great Justice, by taking our sins on Himself. He became sin FOR us, that we might be made the righteousness of God.
I love the hymn by Annie Johnson Flint that goes,
"His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again."
You see, it’s His love that supplies that grace for salvation and living. His love for you and me.
On Sunday, August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines Flight 225 crashed just after take-off at Detroit, Michigan.
155 died, and one lived.
That one who lived was a little 4-year-old girl named Cecelia. The wreckage was so bad, that the authorities thought at first she had not been on the plane. Checking the flight roster, however, and with Cecelia's own testimony, the following was discovered:
As the crash was developing, Paula Chichan had unbuckled her own seat belt, got down on her knees in front of her daughter, wrapped her arms and body around Cecelia, and would not let her go! Nothing could separate that child from her parent's love...neither disaster, nor crash, nor flames, nor pain.
Such is our Savior's love for us...
"...that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38,39)