Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Grace - God's grace

Your failure cannot overcome the grace of God.
The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Romans 5:20.
  David Seamands tells a story that illustrates the point Paul made in the passage for today. It’s about a turning point in the spiritual life of a teenager in his church. The young man had already made a personal commitment to Christ. He tried hard, but like most adolescents, he was plagued by ups and downs in his Christian life. It wasn’t uncommon to find him coming forward when an invitation was given after a church service. After one evening service, Rev. Seamands prayed with the young man once again. The young man’s face was sober as he affirmed his determination “to make it this time.” Then he asked, “But what if I fail? What happens if I fall?”
  Seamands replied, “Steve, I’ve come to know you pretty well, probably better than anyone in the church. So I think I can guarantee one thing-you will fail, you will fall. So what?”
  The young man looked up at the minister a bit shocked. He had expected assurance that he would never fail again. He turned Seamand’s response over in his mind. Then a light dawned on the young man’s face. He began to smile and nod his head. “Hmmm,” he said, finally. “I think I see what you mean. I think I’m catching on. Of course I’m going to fail; sure I’ll fall. But that really doesn’t make any difference, does it?” And then the smile lit up his whole face.
  Rev. Seamands said that although the young man subsequently showed significant growth, that moment proved to be his initial discovery of the grace of God. Discovering the truth that failure isn’t the end changed his life. Seamands later wrote that it was a joy to watch the young man grow in grace. “He became a dispenser of grace as a pastor for eleven years, and now teaches about grace as a professor of systematic theology in a seminary. Are you wondering about my strange reply that I was sure he would fail because I knew him so well? That’s because I happen to be his dad!”
  Is there a limit to God’s grace? Is there a point at which God says, “All right, that’s enough, no more”? God will never give up on us, although He will discipline us and allow us to suffer the natural consequences of our own sin and irresponsibility. He may even call some of us home if the course of life we are pursuing is self-destructive and damaging to ourselves and others. But He does call us home to be with Him (1 Cor. 11:30)
  Is God surprised when you sin? Does He look down from heaven and say, “I can’t believe he did it again?” No. How could He be surprised if He has nailed all our sins on the Cross? But it grieves God to see us sin again and again, because He knows what that will lead to in our lives. God will never say, “Look, we need to talk. Some of the sins you committed were so bad we didn’t put them on the Cross.” His grace is sufficient for all we have done and will do.
  Paul writes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). The Greek work for condemnation carries with it a sense of judgment. There is no more judgment for the Christian. Why? Because we have already been judged when Christ paid the penalty for all our sins. He took all our punishment on Himself. (see Rom. 8:31-34)
  The point that God is hammering home is that if He has done everything necessary to acquit us, justify us and make us right with Him, who is qualified to bring further charges? Who is going to condemn?
  “No one!” God thunders to us.
  So who is bringing the charges? Who is accusing and condemning? “Satan, who leads the whole world astray…who accuses [the brethren] before our God day and night”(Rev. 12:9,10).
  The old hymn says it well: “Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin.” The grace of God is not a license to sin, it actually is a gracious means not to sin. (see Rom. 6:1,2) By the grace of God we don’t have to sin. We can live righteous lives in Christ.
  Have you believed the lie that your failure and sin can overcome the grace of God? Has that believe caused you to doubt God’s love, so you live in condemnation and defeat? Renounce that lie and affirm the truth with the following affirmation: I renounce the lie that my failure and sin can overcome the grace of God. I announce the truth that Christ died for all my sins, past, present and future, and that all my sins have been placed on the Cross, and I am forgiven. I now choose to believe there is no more condemnation because I am in Christ.
ONE DAY AT A TIME by Mike/Julia Quarles pgs 222-224 with quotes from Healing Grace by David Seamands and “Grace Greater Than Our Sin” by Julia H. Johnston.

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