Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Let Us Have Grace"

    The Apostle Paul's preaching of God's grace and truth in Christ led to the accusation that he promoted a message of licentiousness.

    "Some affirm that we say, Let us do evil, that good may come" (Romans 3:8).

    Nothing could have been further from the truth.  Paul's gospel rather delivers unto love, the love of the Lord Jesus received, assimilated, and then lived out by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  "Sin shall not have dominion over you.  For ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14).  Indeed the grace of God's undeserved favor provided through the merits of His Son leads to true godliness because grace alone imparts not only the commands of righteousness to be obeyed, but also the Christ of righteousness to be trusted.  "Christ, the power of God" affirmed Paul of the Lord whose freely given presence and life motivates and empowers genuine devotion to God (I Corinthians 1:24).

    The truth of the matter is that sin proceeds not from grace, but from the lack thereof.  That is, the root of unbelief and disobedience to God lies in failure to adequately know, understand, trust, and appropriate the grace of the Lord Jesus.  Grace fosters liberty to obey rather than license to sin.  Thus, areas of spiritual weakness in our walk with the Lord stem from failure to apprehend and trust the grace that provides the Spirit of Christ as the Life of our lives.  "They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17). 

    A limited and unworthy understanding of God's grace views such blessedness merely in terms of forgiveness and pardon.  The Lord Jesus suffered too much for His trusting children to appropriate merely a subsistence measure of grace that does little more than assure us of one day going to Heaven.  Grace brings Heaven to us in our present life as the Spirit of Christ indwells us for the enabling to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).  The work involves a progressive and lifelong growth, and we will not achieve perfection during our earthly sojourn.  We can and must, however, "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).  Such spiritual maturity begins with the expectation that God's primary purpose of grace involves glorifying His Son by making us like Him.  Any lesser understanding and anticipation reveals the weakness in our appropriation of grace that leads to weakness in our faith and faithfulness.  Again, Paul plainly states that under grace, "sin shall not have dominion over you."  Or, as the writer of Hebrews encourages and challenges...

"Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."
(Hebrews 12:28)
"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
(I Corinthians 15:10)

Weekly Memory Verse
   The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw nigh unto God.
(Hebrews 7:19)


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