"The Purchase of Grace"
Sacrifices must be made if we are to know God, and to apply His truth in our hearts and lives.
"Buy the truth and sell it not, also, wisdom, and instruction, and understanding" (Proverbs 23:23).
We buy things by giving up one thing in order to obtain another. The knowledge of our Lord involves such a purchase of grace, a phrase that may seem oxymoronic upon first consideration. Indeed, the grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ is the freest gift ever given, purchased for us by our Savior because we had no way to buy God's pardon and favor. "Freely ye have received" declared the Lord Jesus to His disciples of the redeeming relationship with God received by faith and "not of works, lest any man should boast" (Matthew 10:8; Ephesians 2:9). How then do we view the acquisition of truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding in terms of barter rather than gift?
The answer lies in the definition and meaning of relationship. "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly" (Proverbs 18:24). Loving discourse and fellowship requires reciprocity in free beings, as constituted by God. In our fellowship with Him, the reception of His grace not only establishes our bond with Him, but also actualizes and energizes our human faculties to respond in kind. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). This enables born again believers to make freely determined choices regarding the sacrifices necessary to love even as we are loved. We frequently choose to attend heart, mind, and body to fellowship with our Heavenly Father rather than other options and opportunities that lie before us. He does not force such sacrifice upon us, but rather beckons us to His Word, to prayer, to fellowship with other believers, and to the conscious awareness of God's presence and involvement in our lives. We choose whether to respond or not, even as the Psalmist affirmed, "When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face, my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek" (Psalm 27:8).
"The purchase of grace" actually involves stewardship in our relationship with God. That is, He grants His life and capacity for fellowship to our trusting hearts by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We determine whether to use such grace whereby we consciously walk with our Heavenly Father. Relationship requires such enabling by, and also such chosen sacrifice of other things by ourselves in order to relate to God. Thus, we both "freely receive" and we "buy". Genuine love and fellowship result in the only way that truly satisfies the hearts of both parties. Again, the Psalmist clearly reveals the beauty of such relationship that begins and continues with Divine enabling, but also includes the human determination to respond in real devotion…
"I will love Thee, o Lord my strength!"
Weekly Memory Verse
Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.