Sunday, January 29, 2023

Grace Reveals: A Father who is always pleased with His children

“Now, brothers, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. Acts 20:32 MEV

 God's Grace is so amazing and sometimes too wonderful to even put into words. Grace reveals so much about our Father God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Traditional religion teaches that God is harsh and unbending and austere and demanding we get it together or else. 

 Grace reveals a Father who always loves us. Grace reveals a Savior greater than any and all our sins. Grace reveals a Righteousness by Faith that is ours in Christ. As much as Grace reveals the nature and character of God and His Gift of Righteousness it also reveals our new identity in Christ. 

 Today, I want to unveil another truth Grace reveals. Grace reveals a Father who is always pleased with His children. Beloved being a child of God is part of our true identity in Christ. We are not just a follower of Jesus. We are not just a believer in Jesus. We are also the children of God. We are sons and daughters of the Living God!

 We are children of God only by Faith in Christ Jesus. Trusting in Christ alone is what makes this a reality for any person. We are not made the children of God by any works or performance on our part. If our actions, our performance, our good works, and our promises to God, didn't make us a child of God, then no amount of bad deeds, or works, or actions on our part can cause us to be unadopted or cease being a child of God. 

 Brethren, our Father loves us with an everlasting Love. Our Savior Jesus is so much greater than all our sins. The Gift of Righteousness is a permanent irrevocable gift. Therefore Grace also reveals that God is always pleased with us. God is never disappointed in us. Father God in Heaven is not up there with arms folded in disappointing disapproval when we err, miss it, blow it, and just plain sin. 

 Think for a moment. Does God want us to run to Him when we miss it or does He want us to run and hide from Him? Well if He is disappointed with us, or displeased with us, why would we run to Him? Anyone with any sense would steer clear and become scarce from His presence until time passed, He cooled down, and we perhaps brought some kind of peace offering to appease Him. 

 Yet religious tradition, with its inconsistent thinking patterns, preach the concept that God is in fact displeased with you when you do wrong or miss it. That He desires to rebuke you for your misdeeds and sins. That He is so displeased and disappointed in you that He won't even hear you when you pray unless you're confessing and apologizing for your foul-ups.

 It's really no wonder that in the circles where Grace is not given preeminence but our performance is, the people there really don't fully draw near to God for themselves. They usually ask the minister to pray for their “big” needs. They usually won't go to God for themselves in some situations. God might still be displeased with them for something they've done.

 Religion shows God as someone who is pleased and happy with us when we are doing good and fulfilling all the spiritual disciplines and obligations. If we do bad we’ve let God down and He is unhappy and displeased with us. He also withholds blessings and healing and miracles and provision until we get it right.

 This is not the God Jesus revealed to us. Jesus is the person of Grace. Peter denied Jesus three times. Yet we never see Jesus confront Peter and tell him how displeased He was by his lack of faithfulness. Look at how God used an Angel to reveal His thoughts about Peter at Jesus' resurrection

 God knew Peter didn't much feel like or see himself as one of Jesus' disciples. Yet He specifically named him as one of His own. God wasn't displeased with Peter. The Good News is God is not displeased with us when we screw up and fail either.

 Harboring bitterness, being angry with fellow drivers in traffic, not forgiving others, drunkenness, and sexual immorality in all its forms, are all actions that are indeed sinful. Am I saying these are good things? Have some sense, any reasonably minded believer knows these are actions we aren't proud of and know they are wrong. God isn't honored by any sinful actions. Again that's why we have a Savior greater than our sins.

 In summation, know and rejoice that God is always pleased with us. Know God takes pleasure in His sons and daughters always. You and I are the son and daughter with whom He is well pleased!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Grace Reveals: A Righteousness apart from performance and works

“Now, brothers, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. Acts 20:32 MEV

 We've begun a new series studying what the Grace of God has revealed to mankind. Grace that offers salvation has appeared to all men. We want to see what Grace reveals rather than what religious tradition proclaims.  

So far we have seen that Grace reveals a Loving Father who sent us His only Son. Grace reveals a Savior greater than any and all sins we as believers have committed or ever will commit. Grace is revealing a loving God, that He is always Good. 

 However, the religious traditions of man preach and teach that God is sometimes good and sometimes bad. That He is loving but also angry depending on man's actions. This is not good news but bad news and sad news intertwined with some good news. Brothers and sisters, this is not the Gospel message.

 Let's look at another truth Grace reveals to us. His Grace reveals a Righteousness that is apart from our works and any performance on our part. Grace reveals a Righteousness that can never be earned or achieved. Grace reveals a Righteousness that can never be removed or lost or forfeited. 

 21 God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 MEV

21 For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us! 2 Corinthians 5:21 TLB

 Jesus became something He never was; lost, spiritually separated, and unrighteous, so that we who believe would become something we've never been; Righteous, accepted, approved, in right standing, and spiritually alive in Him. This is the Good news of the Gospel. This is the message all believers need.

 Grace reveals a Righteousness that is ours because of Jesus. As believers, we aren't coming to God in our own righteousness but in Christ's Righteousness. Our relationship with our Father is based upon Jesus' Righteousness, not ours. 

 In this perfect work of the Cross, this perfect Redemptive work, Christ did something no one thought possible. Jesus completed the Great exchange. He took our filthy, wanting righteousness and sin and exchanged it with His perfect Righteousness and sinless spotless life. He took our unrighteousness and gave us His very own Righteousness. We now possess and walk in Jesus' Righteousness. We who believed therefore are just as Righteous as Jesus! 

 What is another aspect of this Gift of Righteousness? That is this a Righteousness apart from works and performance. Paul speaks of the difference between  Righteousness and salvation rooted in Grace versus earned righteousness in Romans 11. Look at this passage in another translation;

 So then at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. But if it is by works, then is it no longer by grace; otherwise work would no longer be work. Romans 11:5-6 MEV 

 Righteousness is a Gift. It is right standing with God. It is also divine acceptance and approval. Whenever you hear ministers, read Christian books or publications, or follow an internet blog site, that proclaims there are things you must do in order to gain acceptance or approval with God know you are not hearing the Gospel.

 If the message you hear tells you that you can do more things to gain acceptance and approval from God then you've just entered a works and performance program and have left Grace behind. Hear this loud and clear, the only way anyone has acceptance and approval from the Father is because of Jesus' perfect work and nothing else. If we could do something to attain divine acceptance or gain more approval then what do we need Jesus for? 

 Righteousness is a Gift we receive not a work we achieve. It is a free gift that we receive by Faith alone. It is never earned or achieved by any actions or performance on our part. It is not attained by engaging in any form of spiritual discipline. It is a Gift that is only received by Faith.

 One final aspect of this great Gift of Righteousness. This gift is so powerful it also deals with all of our sins. Because of Righteousness, we have the gift of non-imputation of sin. 

   4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 But to the one who does not work, but entrusts himself to the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 So also David speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and who sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account." Romans 4:4-8 Mounce  

 Here is some Good News Gospel truth. God is not imputing our sins to our account any longer. God is not taking inventory of our sins. Jesus has already paid the full price for all our sins. His precious Blood has cleansed all our sins past, present, and future. We are forgiven and Righteous forever.

 Righteousness is a Gift. Righteousness is that Gift whereby we can stand before God without any sense of shame, guilt, or inferiority. It's that Gift where we are completely free from any and all condemnation. It's that Gift where our sins are never again to be imputed or charged to our account. It's a Gift that is completely free and can only be received and never achieved.

 In summation, God's Grace reveals to us a perfect gift of Righteousness. In order to walk in the fullness of this gift we must fully receive of it. Lay hold of it by Faith and walk in it boldly without compromise. If you have trusted in Christ you are Righteous,  just as Righteous as Jesus!

Image by rsand24 from Pixabay 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Grace reveals: A Savior greater than all our sins

“Now, brothers, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. Acts 20:32 MEV

 We've begun a new series seeing what the Grace of our Loving Father God reveals. Religion reveals a god who is easily angered and holds each and every sin against you. Tradition teaches about an austere taskmaster who demands you get it right or you're no longer accepted and must work your way back into his favor. Grace reveals a Father that is so much better.

 We don't have a firey judge quick to condemn and render swift harsh sentences. We have a Father who loves us. We have a salvation that has been sealed forever in eternity. We have a redemption that is once and for all and can never be undone. 

 Some see our sins and shortcomings as greater than what Jesus accomplished in the Finished Work. In the religious mind, the wages of sins committed is a loss of fellowship with God. It is prayers going unanswered. It is God temporarily disconnecting from you. 

 The Word declares something entirely different. The wages of sin is death. It's not loss of fellowship or unanswered prayer. This is why we need a Savior and not an austere taskmaster or an angry judge. 

Seeing that death is the only punishment or wage earned for sin what hope have we whenever we miss it, blow it, or just plain sin? The answer to our predicament, the solution to our problem, the only hope for any of us, is having a Savior that is greater than our sins. We have that Savior in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Jesus and His once for all work on the Cross is greater than any of our sins. Jesus' work is finished. It is done. It is enough.

 So many see their sins as something that lets God down. They feel they have let God down because they didn't resist the temptation enough but instead succumb to it. They see God as being disappointed in them whenever they fail. God is let down, that is His hopes are dashed, His demeanor is downcast, and He is unhappy all because of His people's sins.

 Still, others see their sins as something that hurts God. That whenever they sin they are hurting Jesus all over again. God is so downcast and taken aback that His people just sinned. 

 Hear this loud and clear, the Finished Work actually worked. To think, to imply, or to believe our sins let God down or hurt Him is to say God is not satisfied with the once for all sacrifice of His Son Jesus. That God doesn't need Jesus' shed Blood alone. No, He needs your guilt, your shame, and your misery over your sins to forgive and cleanse you. 

 Contrary to religious mindsets, I am not making light of sin. Sin brings pain and brokenness into this world. Sin does have natural consequences. Rob a bank you'll go to jail, who wants that? 

 I am not making light of sin, I am making much of our Savior from sins Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior paid the highest price for all our sins. He stood bare for all to see hanging on that tree for you and me. He bore the shame and took the judgment we all deserved. He shed His perfect Blood cleansing sin once for all time.

 I am putting sin back into its proper perspective. I am not for sin in any way but I don't want believers to see sin as some cosmic kryptonite that stops God in His tracks and causes Him to flee from you and have nothing to do with you until its removal. God is not accounting or charging our sins to our accounts any longer. 

 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 But to the one who does not work, but entrusts himself to the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 So also David speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and who sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account." Romans 4:4-8 Mounce  

 This is the blessedness of God's gift of Righteousness. Non-imputation of sins. This is the Work of our precious Savior. This is the once for all perfect work of our Savior Jesus Christ. We have a Savior greater than all our sins. Magnify Jesus and His Finished Work and not our failures and transgressions.

 Our sins aren't letting God down or "hurting" Him. Jesus saw all our sins and selfish acts before we ever committed them and He still laid His life down in order to purchase us and redeem us and be in eternal relationship with us. His Salvation is greater than our sins and shortcomings. 

 In summation, Grace reveals a loving Savior who is greater than all our sins, shame, shortcomings, and failures. Whenever you falter or fail run to your Savior. Run to Him without any sense of shame or fear of punishment or condemnation. He's already forgiven you, He has already seen your sins and He still loves you unconditionally. Magnify our Savior Jesus Christ. 


Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Grace Reveals: A Father who Loves us

“Now, brothers, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. Acts 20:32 MEV

 The revealing of God's Grace to a lost and dying world is a resuscitating force of life, hope, and love. This Grace of God pledged and demonstrated in and through Jesus, who is the person of Grace, is the Good News we've all longed for. It's what we've all been searching for.

 The longer one lives, it should be evident that fulfilling fleshly desires, following philosophies, embracing various religions of man, or accepting atheism, are all futile, pointless, and profitless in the long term. Life, joy, and peace are only realized through a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is why God in His wisdom has revealed His Grace to all mankind.

 Those who've accepted Jesus also need a greater understanding of this Grace of God revealed in Christ. God keeps revealing His Grace to us as we grow in Christ. Peter even exhorted us to continue growing in Grace

 With this in mind, I want to begin a new series looking at what Grace has revealed to us in Christ. The first thing His Grace reveals is the great Love of our Father God. God our Father is a kind, compassionate and Faithful Father. His Love for us is a furious and passionate flame that will never fade or be extinguished.

 So many Christians though see God as the harsh taskmaster. They see God as the performance-driven master who places a burdensome workload on His people. He isn't a Father looking for sons and daughters, He is a tyrant looking for dutiful servants and is quick to disown, disavow, and disinherit those who don't measure up. 

 The Christian life then is one of hardships and toil and duty. It becomes a life of striving to earn our place in the master's presence and to be able to receive from Him. Our daily life is one of a checklist to perform and chores to complete. Sadly, this way of living leads to so many thinking, believing, and seeing themselves as never measuring up. 

 This isn't the life the Father intended when He sent us His Son. The Father saw us in our darkness, in our sins, in our spiritually dead, separated, state, and did something about it. He made salvation, new life, and forgiveness available to whosoever would simply respond in Faith believing, and receiving. 

 We have some amazing examples of the Father's Love in the Word. Look at Luke 15, (actually, the whole chapter is a revealing portrait of His Love and purpose realized in Christ), the parable of the prodigal son shows us a loving Father, not a harsh taskmaster. The Father didn't berate or disown his son, he waited for him and ran to him and brought restoration.

 Our Father is a Good Father. Just as in the parable of the prodigal son, our Father picks up His robe, and runs after us, He is the Father who Loves His Children. He is the Father who pursues us with His Love and mercy and goodness. He is the Father who longs for fellowship, friendship, and intimacy with His family, His children. 

 Our Father isn't making a list and checking it twice of all our failures, foul-ups, and flaws. He isn't holding our sins against us or charging or imputing them to our account. He isn't basing His Love for us on whether or not we've been naughty or nice. His Love is who He is, and why He sent Jesus for us.

 Grace reveals to us a loving Father who is for us and never against us. He isn't a tyrant or taskmaster. He isn't placing burdensome demands upon us. He isn't pointing His finger at us declaring you better straighten up or you're going to get it! His arms aren't folded in disappointment with us but rather they are open wide revealing His Love and acceptance and approval of us because of Jesus' once for all sacrifice. 

 In summation, rest in the love of a loving Savior. Grace reveals the Love of the Father for us. This is a love we don't have to strive for. It's a love we can freely receive all because of Grace. Let's freely receive His great Love today and every day. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay