Our Faith in Action Story this week was about a dear friend of the ministry John H. We also asked John H. would he write an article for us, that is a testimony to His Faith It is with much pleasure we present that article as our guest post, hope you all enjoy it as much as we did and the privilege we had, in put the article up
We all seem to understand grace in relation to salvation, you know, Ephesians 2:8, saved by grace through faith – it is a gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. But the Gospel of grace as set out in the Word of God, especially in Paul’s letters, applies to every aspect of our ongoing lives. Grace is described as unmerited favour, and that’s right. We can’t earn it, we’re just not good enough, and we don’t deserve it. But the Gospel of Grace could equally be described as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Grace is not a doctrine, it is a Person, and that Person is Jesus. John 1:16-17 says, ‘And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.’ Our loving trust and faith is in Jesus and the finished work of the cross. Nothing can be added to that, and nothing can be taken away from that – it is our total sufficiency.
About nine or ten months ago, the realization that grace is a Person, travelled, as some have described it, from my head to my heart, and transformed me! I thought, ‘I know all about grace,’ and I knew nothing about the reality of it as it applies to every aspect of our daily lives, until by His grace, the Lord gave me the revelation of grace, so much so that it must come out. I have to let it out and tell others. It is a joy and privilege to do so. I cannot not do it. The sense of gratitude and love and praise it gives is the same as returning to my first love, as Jesus admonishes the church at Ephesus to do, in the Bible book of Revelation. What a motivation a sense of love and gratitude makes in keeping us walking the Lord’s walk in our ongoing, day by day, year by year lives, depending solely on ‘Christ within us, the hope of glory!’ Let us not turn that ongoing walk into a work of the law, or of the flesh, based solely on our own performance, ambitions, discipline, energy, will power, trying to make something happen yourself. In the short term or the long term, that results in us messing it all up, even if we do give a bit of credit to the Lord in doing it. I’m sure most of us have heard this saying a number of times, ‘Aim for the stars, and who knows, you could hit the moon.’ That could easily degenerate into a work of the flesh.
As we know in Isaiah 64:6, ‘Our own righteousness is as filthy rags’ in the Lord’s sight. Just consider the sheer awesomeness of God. We can pray,’ I’m in awe of the perfection of Your holiness, Lord, the infinity of Your holiness, Your purity, Your integrity, truth, goodness. I’m in awe of Your character, majesty, righteousness. I’m in awe of Your justice, which was satisfied in full by the death of Jesus on that cross. And O, Lord, I’m in awe of Your grace, mercy, and loving kindness, Your favour, and Your patience and long suffering . Keep Your hand upon me, Lord, lest I die. I’m in awe of Your eternity. You have no beginning and no end. I don’t understand it. I’m in awe of Your infinite intelligence, Your omniscience, Your omnipresence, Your omnipotence. I’m in awe of the mystery of Your Tri-unity, and I honour, worship, adore, and reverence You. And I love You Lord. I love You because You loved me first – (1 John 4:19). And I love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and I love my neighbour as myself –( Mark 12:30, 31.) That’s impossible for me to do in my own strength, Lord. I need Your enabling grace for me to do that. But when You enable me to do that, I can have some kind of perception, however imperfect, of how much You love them.’ How can we not rely on our wonderful Lord to act through us?
Furthermore, we are more likely to obey when we are in love with Him. It is a joy when we serve Him out of love, out of sheer gratitude for all that He has done for us. Even then we are guided and enabled by Him to do His will. Grace is not a performance drudgery like works. His grace, the sense of His awesomeness, enables us to hate sin – it makes the unrighteous righteous. If we sin, which will happen, we can confess it to Him, ’And the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.’ In this regard, see 1 John 1: 7 – 9. The grace of God will also use this event to turn it into a victory – Romans 8: 28, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called to His purpose.’ You see, the reality is, God does all the work for us and in us, therefore God should get all the glory. Looked at in this light, we can never fail in Jesus, because of the finished work of the cross. Even our ability to repent is a gift from God. Again, Hebrews 10: 14 says, ‘For by one offering, He (Jesus), has already perfected (past tense), those who are being (present and future tense), sanctified. When we received salvation, our spirits were indwelt by the Holy Spirit (past tense). Our sanctification is the ongoing renewal of our minds and emotions (present and future tense), in our ongoing day by day walk. That’s the wonderful covenant of grace our precious Lord has made with us.
Doing things in our own strength inevitably brings failure, which, sooner or later, does bring condemnation. Condemnation can actually bring on the fear of losing one’s salvation, which then puts people under a performance bondage, trying to earn the approval of the Lord – a works bondage, which none of us can obey. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), Jesus explained the pristine purity of the ten commandments, clearly showing the utter impossibility of any one obeying them by relying on their own strength. However, Jesus died on that cross for us. The wages of sin is death, but our sins have now be taken off us and put on Jesus. Why? because He already died for them. All we have to do to accept that love gift is to turn to Him in repentance and surrender. All this happens when we receive salvation, and that’s the very core of the covenant of grace as preached by Paul – the eternal new covenant in the blood of Jesus .
At times our walk in the Lord, and even the preaching of the preachers, can be a mixture, jumping in and out of the two covenants, the covenant of Law and the covenant of Grace. Acting in the former covenant will result in discouragement, condemnation, and failure, e.g. – come on, kick the door of opportunity open and walk in, or here are nine things you must do to be successful. Operating in the latter covenant results in the Lord being glorified as He acts in us and through us, and everyone is blessed. It’s all about God’s love for us, not about our love for God
O F J