Friday, September 15, 2017

“Two Ways”

"Two Ways"     

    In real terms, only two ways exist whereby human beings can seek acceptance and relationship with God.  One offers hope and assurance.  The other portends of frustration, failure, and condemnation.

    "The just shall live by faith… We are accepted in the Beloved" (Romans 1:17; Ephesians 1:6). 
    "Ye shall therefore keep My statutes, and My judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them" (Leviticus 18:5).

   "We freely receive God's acceptance in the Lord Jesus Christ, or we attempt to work our way into favor by keeping His statutes and judgments. The latter is impossible; the former is assured to all who receive God's free gift of grace in His Son. Let us first consider the attempt to make ourselves worthy of relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Perfection is the standard for such a bond - "as for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31).  Working our way into acceptance requires absolute purity of heart, life, and deed from the moment of our conception until forevermore.  One misstep, wayward attitude, or word completely disqualifies our efforts.  Perfection cannot abide imperfection in even the smallest measure or degree of error.  Of course, no human being originally born of Adam's fallen race has ever fulfilled the standard, thus dooming us all if relationship with God depends on our efforts.  The first way is thus found wanting.

   "It is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Romans 3:10-12). 

    Conversely, through Christ, God offers eternal relationship with Himself as a gift, a "free gift" of His marvelous grace (Romans 5:18).  Isaiah, referencing the redemption and salvation to come in the Lord Jesus, foretold the Gospel: "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).  The hymn writer echoes such a bestowal of mercy: "Nothing in my hand I bring, only to Thy cross I cling!"  Our Savior does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, establishing and eternally maintaining favor and relationship with God.  The second way is thus found wonderful.

    "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God…  He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (I Peter 3:18; Hebrews 7:25).

   Hope and hopelessness - these are the prospects of the two ways we whereby we can seek favor with God whose "way is perfect."  Through the Lord Jesus, "we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2).  Without Him, perfection renders us "alienated from the life of God" (Ephesians 4:18).  Thus, we must avail ourselves of God's grace in the Lord Jesus, renouncing any attempt to approach God by our own determination, dedication, and deed.  The standard is high - the perfect character and nature of God Himself.  Christ alone fulfilled for us the measure and degree of God's requirement.  Thereby Christ alone provides freely given forgiveness, favor, and relationship whereby our Heavenly Father receives us as righteous through the person, work and merits of His Son…

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous."
(Romans 5:17-19)

Weekly Memory Verse 
   For Thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for Thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
(Psalm 31:3)

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