Thursday, September 4, 2014

Abundant Grace

Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. (Rom 5:20)
As I was reading this evening Samson, our dog, plopped on the bed and began to slobber kisses all over my face. In no time I was drenched from his licks of affection and love. Though no comparison, it got me to thinking of the abounding grace of God for God drowns you and me in His grace. John Bunyan wrote about Roman 5:20 “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” Our text might be freely translated,
“Where sin reached a high-water mark, grace completely flooded the world.”
God gives grace beyond measure. Grace is available to all. Grace is not measured out in little doses with just enough to get us through. It is not rationed or held back. The same measure of grace saves each and every one of us. It does not supply our deficiencies, but is the entire source of new life, given fully while we are still in sin. Each one gets a full dose of this Love of God, this undeserved mercy, this redemption from sin and rescue from death. Grace provided the cross of Jesus Christ. Grace upon grace adds the immeasurable benefits that are ours in Christ.

Because of grace we know that we will not perish, but have eternal life. God has saved us from the flames of hell. And he has given us eternal life. It is more than a fire insurance policy, it is a promise that we will spend eternity praising Him. Because of grace we are given good works the glorify Him. As Ephesians 2:8-10 says:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Through grace God reveals new life.
If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:14)
God’s grace shows us exceeding riches.
And raised us up with Him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2: 6, 7)
One writer states that “God’s supreme motive is nothing less than His purpose to demonstrate before all intelligencies, - principalities and powers, celestial beings and terrestrial beings, - the exceeding riches of His grace. “

Ultimately, God’s grace demonstrates His wisdom. That through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. God’s great redemption plan began before the earth was formed. After the fall God announced the certainty that sin would be accounted for and that its rebellion would be defeated in a savior. In the fullness of time Christ entered the world to save the lost. He lived in perfect obedience and righteousness. He bore the cost of the sin of rebellious creation by, dying on the cross. But he defeated death, rising again to reign as King he has given new life to those who are in Him. His righteousness is ours and we are restored to fellowship with God. In the eternity to come, the glory of Christ will fill the universe and will shine through the hosts of believers. Satan and his band will behold the redemption of the saints, who made lower than the angels have been saved entirely of Christ. They will acknowledge that God is the God of superabounding grace.
Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24,25)
Grace! ‘tis a charming sound, Harmonious to mine ear; Heaven with the echo shall resound, And all the earth shall hear. Grace first contrived a way To save rebellious man, And all the steps that grace display Which drew the wondrous plan. Grace taught my wandering feet To tread the heavenly road, And new supplies each hour I meet While pressing on to God. Grace all the work shall crown Through everlasting days; It lays in Heaven the topmost stone, And well deserves the praise. – Phillip Doddridge

Based upon a summary of the section "God's Grace" by Donald Grey Barnhouse from the commentary on Romans 5:12-16:27.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Excellencies of God - growing closer through the study of a catechism

Lately, some pretty good reading is motivating me to a deeper study of God's attributes.   Christians lack an understanding of the basics these days.   They show a disregard for the Scriptures and an ignorance of the God they claim is their Lord.   I am lazy and out of practice on many of the disciplines necessary to avoid sin and live a holy life.  We all need prayer and meditation in our lives to combat the flesh and strengthen our walk in Christ.   A great place to start in getting back in spiritual shape is in working through a catechism.   Catechisms are instructions on basic truths meant to help us memorize  and become familiar with what we should believe.   The aim is to grow in knowledge of God, Jesus Christ, and obedience to the Truths of His Word.   I just want to be close to God, to know him and to love him.   Like any relationship such as a marriage you don't get close without talking and studying one another.   Intimacy comes at a price and by spending time together.   Same with a relationship with Christ.   I must spend time in prayer and studying Him to become closer and know Him better.   

God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything.   He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in His power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice,  and truth.   Nothing happens except through him and by His will.   New City Catechism

Whatsoever God is, he is infinitely so: he is infinite Wisdom, infinite Goodness, infinite Knowledge, infinite Power, infinitely mounted above the excellencies of creatures: as easy to be known that he is, as impossible to be comprehended what he is.  Conceive of him as excellent, without any imperfection; a Spirit without parts; great without quantity; perfect without quality; everywhere without place; powerful without members; understanding without ignorance; wise without reasoning; light without darkness; infinitely more excelling the beauty of all creatures, than the light in the sun, pure and unviolated, exceeds the spendor or the sun dispersed and divided through a cloudy and misty air: and when you have risen to the highest, conceive him yet infinitely above all you can conceive of spirit, and acknowledge the infirmity of your own minds.  And whatsoever conception comes into your minds, say, This is not God; God is more than this:  if I could conceive him, he were not God; for God is incomprehensibly above whatsoever I can say, whatsoever I can think and conceive of him.  Stephen Charnock  from The Existence and Attributes of God