Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Grace supplies! (1 of 2)

Through this man we all receive gifts of grace beyond our imagination.  You see, Moses gave us rules to live by, but Jesus the Anointed offered us gifts of grace and truth John 1:16-17 Voice

From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.  John 1:16-17 NLT

One of the greatest truths we can ever receive in this New Covenant is that of the supply of God's grace. Living in this New Covenant age of grace is meant to be a place of peace and rest. Yet so many still wish to strive, and strain and "work" to "earn" God's benefits.

 God is so good. The place He longed for His Church to abide in is His rest. Yet, so many wish to continue to remain under the Old Covenant principles of receiving from God. Which are do this or that, and God then must respond this way or that way. Or the Old 
Covenant concept of "do bad get bad" or "do good get good" 

This system was never God's highest and best. He even addressed this in the Old Covenant.
We have fasted before you!’ they say Why aren’t you impressed?We have been very hard on ourselves and you don’t even notice it!’“I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Isaiah 58:3a

In this passage, God Himself reveals His view concerning our self efforts and strenuous works and striving in order to get blessing from Him. God responds strongly that no one by any type of works, self efforts, or the exercise of "spiritual laws" will be able to place Him in some position of obligation. 

Unfortunately, this mind set is still active in many today.  This is why for some, the Law seems to be a "better" system. If we do this then God is now required to "bless"! Do good get good. Yet the 
fallacy in this reasoning is the forgotten truth that we can never be 
"good" enough to earn any blessings. Striving or working to gain God's favor and blessing will always conclude with the same response as those in this passage received, the exposure of imperfections. God thoroughly revealed their flaws and misdeeds. Why? Because they were attempting to "buy" or be "worthy" of His favor by flaunting their works before Him. So it will be the same for anyone today trying to earn anything from God.

In the New Covenant we come to God based upon not our performance but on Christ's perfect performance. If we want to gain favor through self efforts our imperfections will always outshine our "good works". Why is this so?

Because the Law demands absolute perfection. God's standards have never changed. Even after the cross, His standards are eternal, absolute perfection. So does this mean we have no hope? Of course not! It just means that through the cross God made a new and living way for us to approach God. It is only through the grace of God, 
and the finished work of Christ that we are able to receive anything 
from Him. Trying to earn favor by our efforts means we are not trying access our Father's heart by the living way He established. We are stepping backwards and trying to be good enough to receive from Him. We are in reality attempting to establish our own righteousness! 

This is why our giving or our praying or our fasting is not designed to be a works program to obligate God to do for us. These are all good works in and of themselves. These activities are blessed only when they are the genuine response from a loving relationship with our loving Father. 

When we realize what the Law was given for we won't try and go back under it. The Law was given to demonstrate how imperfect we actually were. The Law is always about demanding from us. The Law demands us to never falter or fail in any area of life. I am not just referring to sin either. The Law dictated absolute perfection even in the way we come to God and how we worship Him. If not 
done properly He would not even receive offering or sacrifices from the people. 

We must realize God's grace and the finished work provided a living and better way for us. This grace supplies all the demands of Law. Now we are in a loving relationship with God that is sustained by His ability to remain faithful not ours. This is the good news! This is the glad news! 

What about the "demands" of forgiveness? What about the "demands" of love? What about the "demands" of holiness? Aren't these also found in the New Covenant? Come back again for the  exciting conclusion of this message. I promise to address all of these concerns with wisdom and clarity.

Thanks for reading and I pray this message will encourage your relationship with the Lord. Consider sharing this with your circle of friends. As always comments are much appreciated.

image courtesy of arztsamui/courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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