Monday, March 2, 2015

"Grace Works!" Part 6

    "There are two religions in the world, grace and works.  But only grace works!"
    Grace begets the inner beauty and sweetness of a grateful heart devoted to the praise of the One who sacrificed Himself to redeem us from our sins.

     "Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate… by Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:12; 15).

     A.W. Tozer wrote that thanksgiving serves as "the sweetener of the soul."  In pleasant times, the gratitude fostered by grace completes our blessedness as we rightly acknowledge God's abundant generosity.  "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25).  In difficult times, giving thanks expresses trusting awareness and affirmation of our Heavenly Father's promised presence and enabling in all things.  "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).  In everyday, mundane times, praise and thanksgiving infuse routine with the reality of the Lord who is with us always, and who works most often behind the scenes and under the surface of our lives.  "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).  In every aspect of our experience, the fact of God's freely given favor in Christ, coupled with our realization thereof, leads to the praise and thanksgiving that sweetens the soul with the recognition of our Lord's boundless and undeserved bestowal of goodness unto, upon, and within us.

    Grace received, grace realized, and grace remembered bestows the atmosphere of heart, as it were, wherein grateful appreciation fosters a prevailing attitude of wonder, peace, and joy.  "Let the beauty of the Lord be upon us" prayed the Psalmist, who then continued, "and establish Thou the work of our hands" (Psalm 90:14).  Indeed, when beauty is upon us, the beauty of God's grace through Christ, and when we consistently realize such completely undeserved blessedness, the inner glory inevitably leads to the outward expression of a life lived well for the One who makes such sweetness of soul possible.  Grace works.  It beautifies the heart with God's presence, resulting in genuine motivation to honor the Giver and corresponding actions of Christ-enabled faithfulness that reveal the presence of grace received, and grace realized.

"And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."
(I Timothy 1:14)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."
(II Thessalonians 2:16-17)

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