Friday, June 29, 2018

"A Place of Grace"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"A Place of Grace"
   "The Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not My Father's house an house of merchandise" (John 2:13-16).

    God's temple should reflect the truth of grace freely received by faith.  The distortion of this truth deeply disturbed the Lord Jesus Christ who came to make salvation possible as a free gift, the freest gift ever given.  This applies to the beginning of our saving relationship with God: "by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves.  It is the gift of God and not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).  The truth of grace received by faith also references our subsequent walk with God: "We have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God" (1 Corinthians 2:12).  The Holy Spirit who convinced, convicted, and converted us now dwells within us to empower the availing of God's freely given presence and working.  No barter exists in this life of grace through faith, any more than we purchased our way into the new birth.  "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).

   Gifts change us, especially the gift of God's grace in Christ.  Every Christmas season, my grandchildren give me shoe shine sponges preloaded with polish.  They know I love them for the convenience, and even more, because of their joy in the giving.  Thus, I maintain dress shoes that always look pretty sharp and shiny!  Their gift changes things in my life.  The same is far more true of God's ongoing giving in Christ.  We live by His giving.  Thus, the more we realize that the temple of our hearts is a place of grace rather than merchandise, the more God's giving and our receiving leads us to live in a manner that honors the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18).  Long ago, an outraged Lord Jesus drove the moneychangers from an earthly temple that became a business.  May He do the same in us whenever we forget that God purposes our hearts to be the spiritual place of grace where God gives, we receive, and the Lord Jesus is glorified as the gifts more and more change us into His blessed image.

"So also is the free gift.  For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many" (Romans 5:15)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen."
(I Timothy 6:17)

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