The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Not a Shadow"
A friend told me about a discussion he had with a young man who said He believed in God. The young man also purported faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, as the discourse continued, it became evident he had little understanding of God or the Gospel. He told my friend, "I believe that at the end of our lives, if our good works outweigh our bad, we will go to Heaven."
This is not an uncommon view, and in one form or another, is held by many. A grave problem accompanies it, however. Nothing in the Bible suggests any such notion. Instead, Scripture plainly states, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us" (Titus 3:5). A further challenge also involves God's standard, that is, "as for God His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31; emphasis added). Seeking to make ourselves acceptable to God by our own doings leaves human beings woefully inadequate. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Indeed, acceptability to God based on our own works would require our absolute obedience to God from the moment of conception and forevermore. This would exclude us all.
We must therefore find perfection in another way within our means, or rather, within God's means.
"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works" (Romans 4:4-6).
We must either be perfect by our own devices and doings, or we must have the perfection of Christ's righteousness placed on our account as a free gift. Scripture declares the former to be impossible; the latter it proclaims as the Gospel. In the wonder of His mercy, our Heavenly Father imputed our sins to the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary so that Christ's righteousness might be imputed to us in the new birth.
"He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).
In the Old Testament, the word "grace" often speaks to a favorable view of one for another, as in "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:8). The New Testament offers a far broader explanation, but the truth remains that grace involves how God looks upon His trusting children. He sees us "in Christ" (II Corinthians 5:17). The hymn writer Isaac Watts beautifully depicted this wonder of how our Father views us:
"And lest the shadow of a spot should on my soul be found, He took the robe my Savior wrought, and cast it all around!" (From "Awake My Heart, Arise My Tongue!").
God views believers as enrobed with the perfect righteousness of His Son, the Lord Jesus. He sees us as "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). As a free gift of grace given when we believed, our Father imputed a perfect standing and relationship to Him as the freest gift ever given, purchased by the highest cost ever remitted. Presently, we do not always walk accordingly, and our fellowship with God may wax or wane. In love, He acts according toward us in both blessing and discipline, as our response to Him warrants. However, His first view, His primary view of us never changes. The Apostle Paul confirmed this, when to the "carnal" Corinthians, he wrote, "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (I Corinthians 3:3; 1:30).
We can never achieve perfection in God's sight. We can only receive it through the perfection of the Lord Jesus enrobing us with a grace for which even eternity will not allow adequate response of adoration, wonder, praise, and thanksgiving. The realization and affirmation of such truth goes far in our present life to motivate and empower our response of faith and faithfulness. I hope the young man mentioned has embraced this blessed truth my friend shared with him. If so, God has spiritually enrobed him with a Garment so holy - so perfect - that upon his redeemed heart, not even a shadow of a spot can be found.
"For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
Weekly Memory Verse
Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)