Tag Archives: grace

Living in the Land of Mercy

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“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” (Psalm 145:8)

Not one of us deserves God’s mercy, for “we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6), and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). What we deserve is death and eternal separation from the God who made us. Nevertheless, “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). “He hath not dealt with us after our sins. . . . For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him” (Psalm 103:10-11).

It is by His mercy, not our merit, that we are saved. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5). It is “according to his abundant mercy” that He has “begotten us again unto a lively hope” (1 Peter 1:3).

In fact, one of the very titles of God is “the Father of mercies” (2 Corinthians 1:3). Over and over the psalmist assures us that “his mercy endureth for ever” (26 times in Psalm 136:1-26; also Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; etc.).

His mercy is not only infinite, but eternal.

How can one possibly reject His mercy? “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering?” (Romans 2:4). Sadly, most do. Instead, the divine challenge is:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2). T

his is our logical response to God’s great mercy! HMM

He Has Chosen Us

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“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4)

Although we cannot really understand how God could choose us (same Greek word as “elected”) before the creation of the world, we can rejoice in the fact and praise Him for “his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9). The preceding verse (Ephesians 1:3) testifies we have received “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” all “according to the good pleasure of his will” (v. 5), “according to the riches of his grace” (v. 7), and “according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” (v. 9). It must thus all be “to the praise of the glory of his grace” (v. 6).

It is clear from this passage that God’s choice of us was not simply a matter of His foreseeing our choice of Him, but was a choice solely by His own will and grace: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16). This in no wise lessens our own responsibility to trust in Christ and to believe “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:12-13), even though in our finite minds we cannot understand how to correlate these two concepts. Both are true, because both are taught in His Word, and both are occasions for rejoicing because they reflect both His love and His omnipotence.

God told Jeremiah: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). Before the world began, God knew each of us and loved us, and prepared to die to save us from our sins and then to draw us to Himself. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (Psalm 139:6). We can only thank and praise Him, and then seek earnestly to live fully for Him all our days. HMM

The Power of Grace

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“. . . whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” (Ephesians 3:7)

In the New Testament, the words for gift and grace are closely related. Charis is usually translated “grace,” and charisma is most often rendered “gift.” The twice-born are to use their gifts with one another as “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).

When God gifts us with faith so that we are saved by His grace (Ephesians 2:8), we are then “created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). This “new man” is granted the potential to understand the “exceeding greatness of his power” (Ephesians 1:19) and to participate in the divine nature so we can escape the corruption pervading this godless world (2 Peter 1:4).

When we preach the gospel, we use “the power of God” that will result in the salvation of those who respond (Romans 1:16). Right after the Day of Pentecost, the apostles gave testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in a demonstration of that power so that “great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33). The message, the power, and the grace of God are inseparable.

When our lives radically change in response to the new man created in us by God, we do so by “the grace of our Lord,” which is “exceeding abundant with faith and love” (1 Timothy 1:14). When we access the strength to rise above infirmities or difficult circumstances, we experience the Lord’s grace that is sufficient to deal with or overcome whatever may be hindering us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When we “work out” the salvation God graced us with, we can be sure that God is working in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). HMM III

The Grace of God in Creation

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“He left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17)

There is abundant evidence of the mighty power and wisdom of God in the vast cosmos and the tremendously complex world. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

But in addition to such evidence of His wisdom and power, there is also wonderful evidence of the grace of God in nature. Although “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22), laboring under the awful curse on the ground imposed by God when Adam sinned (Genesis 3:17), it has been so subjected “in hope,” with God’s promise of ultimate deliverance from the “bondage of corruption,” and “we are saved by hope” (Romans 8:20-21, 24).

This goodness of God is evidenced in the daily victory of light over darkness, the annual return of spring after winter, and the oft-repeated triumph of life over death. Although individuals die, new souls are born; and always, there is hope. Man must eat his bread in the sweat of his face as he labors to wrest a living from the cursed ground, but God does send the rain and the fruitful seasons, and the food is grown.

Though he must eat of it in sorrow all the days of his life, somehow God nevertheless fills his heart with food and gladness. And all of the labor and sweat and sorrow is “for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17), urging man to return to God for both his daily bread and his eternal salvation.

How foolish is the man who receives all these gifts of God’s grace without acknowledging their source. “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness . . . not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). HMM

God’s Standard

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“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

It is remarkable how different are our human standards of value from those of God. But what should be the criteria by which men recognize hearts of loving kindness, attitudes of justice, and characters of righteousness? These are the attributes of our Creator and Savior, and it is our achievements in these areas that determine our real standing, in the scales of eternity, before Him.

Human wisdom, might, and riches easily generate pride, and pride is “the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).

Thus the Scripture has to remind us “that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: . . . That no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Corinthians 1:26, 29). We should, indeed, desire wisdom, might, and riches, but not as measured by the world. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). “As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10). “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Let lovingkindness become the standard of true wisdom; justice, the measure of real power; and righteousness, our criterion of riches. All are found fully only in Jesus Christ.

If we must “glory” in something, let it be the cross. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). HMM

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