The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
Part 5 - Service, Reverence, Fear
Why grace? As referenced in yesterday's message, why do so many Scriptural passages call us to live by God's undeserved and freely given provision in the Lord Jesus Christ? Why and how does grace not only spiritually birth us in Christ, but also provides the enabling to walk in faith and faithfulness?
"Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28).
The writer of Hebrews provides much insight into our inquiry. First, he plainly states that having grace leads to the believer's acceptable service to God. No other means exists whereby we find the motivation, enabling, and guidance that leads to genuine obedience to our Lord. The indwelling Holy Spirit, freely given to us when we believed, must be recognized as the dynamic power source of true godliness. "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or the hearing of faith?" asks the Apostle Paul of the Galatians being tempted to live the Christian life by ritual and legalism rather than grace (Galatians 3:2). The Holy Spirit alone can so reveal within us Christ's character, nature, and way that we please our Heavenly Father's heart with what we do (and just as importantly, why we do it). The Lord Jesus declared the Holy Spirit to be a gift to believing hearts (John 14:16). Thus, when considering acceptable service to God, we must emphasize the grace of God Himself as the freely given presence and power that makes every act of obedience possible. Our works for God proceed from God as He dwells and walks in us (II Corinthians 6:16).
The writer of Hebrews also provides insight by declaring that God's freely given grace leads us to "reverence." We revere our Lord by acknowledging Him as the singular source of all power in creation. He made all things and He "upholds all things by the word of His power" (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:3). The proper understanding of grace leads us to this conclusion that resulted in our conversion, and in our conduct thereafter: "Christ, the power of God" (I Corinthians 1:24). The believer affirms the Lord's grace as our only hope, resulting in deep reverence of the Spirit of Christ as the Life of our lives. "To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).
Finally, grace results in "godly fear" as we realize how serious our Father is about the quality of life to which He calls us. His free gift of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit required the suffering, forsakenness, and death of His Son. That which is free to us cost Him everything. No genuine understanding of grace comes without the awareness that relationship with God is the freest gift ever given. It's cost, however, means it must be received and acknowledged as the most serious matter of our existence. The blood of Christ stains, as it were, every free gift of grace God has given, or ever will give to the trusting recipient. How serious is grace? Bloody serious. "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ" (I Peter 1:18-19). As the writer of Hebrews declares, a healthy fear of God certainly accompanies the understanding of costly grace in it fullest meaning.
Only God's grace and truth in the Lord Jesus empower our faithful service to Him. Our spiritual enemies understand this truth better than we do. In our next message, we will consider "the good fight of faith" chronicled in the New Testament epistles and in the saga of the church wherein our foes ever seek to move us away from grace and its dynamic power in Christ (I Timothy 6:12).
"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)
Weekly Memory Verse
"It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves." (Psalm 100:3)