The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Freest Gift. The Most Serious Matter"
No less than the Apostle Paul was accused of preaching a message of licentiousness and irresponsibility because he so emphasized God's freely given grace in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Some affirm that we say, Let us do evil, that good may come" (Romans 3:8).
"What then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid!" (Romans 6:1-2).
Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ involves far more than forgiven sin and eternity with God in Heaven. It rather births a "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). This "new man" bears the very nature of Christ Himself, as through the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Savior spiritually lives in us (II Corinthians 5:17). Of course, we do not always live accordingly in our present earthly lives. However, nothing changes the fact that God "worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Paul himself testified of his "delight to do the will of God after the inward man" in the same passage wherein he also confessed a significant time of wandering and waywardness in his Christian life (Romans 7:9-25). Thus, with pardon for sin and assurance of salvation comes the "newness of life" in Christ that births within us genuine desire for a life of godliness.
The notion of grace leading to irresponsibility is also countered by the fact that callous disregard for the glory and will of God leads to our Heavenly Father's disciplinary action. "Whom the Lord loveth, He chastenth and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6). Paul illustrates this solemn truth in his first epistle to the Corinthians, wherein he declares that disrespect for observance of the Lord's supper led to weakness, illness, and even death by the Lord's own hand (I Corinthians 11:30-32). Such severe discipline, administered to maintain God's glory and integrity, did not jeopardize the salvation of the believer chastened. However, it doubtless served - and serves - an effective role in maintaining holiness in the church and also in life of the individual believer. "We are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" (the writer of Hebrews confirms by referencing believers when he wrote, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" - Hebrews 10:30-31).
God's grace in the Lord Jesus provides the freest gift ever given. We do nothing to earn our salvation, either in the reception or the maintenance. We should rejoice in the wonder of such undeserved lovingkindness. However, our Heavenly Father is also determined to maintain the glory of His name and the work of righteousness He began and continues in His trusting children. "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). We should be properly fearful of the necessary discipline sometimes required to maintain "the good work."
The freest gift. The most serious matter of our lives. This is the grace of God, provided without cost to us and purchased by no less than the precious blood of Christ. And this is the corresponding solemnity of grace, whereby we realize our Father is deadly serious about the life of faith and faithfulness to which He calls us because, again, it was purchased by no less than the precious blood of Christ.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Weekly Memory Verse
Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
(I Corinthians 10:31)