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In life as human beings we fail constantly. Only Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, and we all fall short of His perfect standards. Thankfully because of the foreknowledge of this susceptibility of ours, God has provided us an opportunity through His grace. He has generously allowed us to be partakers of Heaven. By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone we are saved. (V*1). We didn’t catch God off guard when we sinned. Adam and Eve didn’t surprise God when they stumbled to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (V*2).
Since God saw this, He already knew that Jesus Christ would need to come to die on the cross for our sins. He died to justify our sins in front of an Almighty, Perfect God. The only way to satisfy the wrath of God, and to appease perfect justice, was for Jesus Christ to be the perfect atonement for our sins. In effect He Himself was, is, and will continue to be God. We ourselves cannot pay the price for our own sins because we didn’t lead and cannot lead perfect lives. We were bound by our sinful nature until Jesus Christ conquered sin and death. After He allowed Himself to be killed, God the Father resurrected Him. This reflects that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was not in vain, but that it was accepted by God as perfect.
Not only was Jesus Christ fully man, but also fully God simultaneously, when He died for us. It has been said that He could have sent a throng of angels to deliver Himself at any point before He was subject to be killed. Instead of delivering Himself however, He humbly gave His own life so that we may have an opportunity to be saved by His grace. The King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, our Maker – He deserves nothing but infinite praise and worship. Instead He subjected Himself to unimaginable pain so that we wouldn’t be destined to spend eternity in hell as we deserve. Instead He is our Savior. He satisfied the full wrath of God, or in other words He was the propitiation for our sin. His sacrifice is perfect, and His death covers all our sin – past, present, and future. This grace doesn’t mean that we have a license to sin, but rather that when we stumble grace abounds in the pit of our despair.
On a daily level we consistently rely on God’s grace to function. Without grace we don’t have the luxury of experiencing God’s best. Thankfully God foresaw our desperate need of His grace, and He provided a means of us obtaining it through His Son. The reason is that we deserve hell. We deserve to die for our trespasses, but God’s grace doesn’t operate on what we deserve. He operates on what He would generously allow His children to experience. He operates on what He desires to give us, and this should inspire us to delight Him in our walk. The reality is He owns us, as well as the world we live in, whether we acknowledge Him as Savior or not. The question remains then, are we going to serve ourselves out of vanity and selfish-ambition or are we going to submit to the sovereignty of God. Our Maker who knows what is absolutely best for us, works everything for the good of those who love Him, and provides us the lead of His Holy Spirit to execute His plans. (V*3). He blesses us with the provisions we need to follow His call; we need to simply be willing to answer it. We also need to remember that simplicity doesn’t make it easy. Answering the call is simple, but the path of a Christian life is full of challenges.
When we become children of God we are effectively being adopted by God. (V*4). Once, in the midst of our trespasses, we were at enmity against God in sin. Now instead of being at enmity with Him we are called amongst His friends when we obey Him. (V*5). We should let this honor sink in to our souls regularly, and derive strength to meet the challenges we are called to face from the identity we find in being partakers with Jesus Christ. God adopted us into His family, and we are now brothers and sisters in Christ. This sense of identity that we are blessed with by God’s grace [aka: unmerited favor], gives us hope and it’s a hope that cannot ever be extinguished.
As we just passed the Thanksgiving holiday, and proceed into Christmas soon, I encourage you to recall that a lifestyle of gratitude is beneficial every day. Don’t compartmentalize sentiments to holidays or actions to specific opportunities. When there doesn’t seem to be any opportunity, pray that the Holy Spirit would lead you to one. It may seem as sometimes there is little to be thankful for, but if we would only think back to recent blessings that God has mercifully endowed us with, we would see more clearly that there are many. Remember that grace itself is something that we should be thankful for, and for those of us who are believers will be thankful for throughout eternity. God’s grace spared us and what we rightfully deserved His own Son Jesus Christ endured on our behalf. He endured the consequences that were due to us although he was, is, and will always be perfect and blameless. Now that we are His, and He is ours, we await the day where the bride groom relationship will come to full fruition in Heaven.
We have been justified, we are in the process of sanctification, and we will have been glorified at that time. (V*6). Take courage in God in good and bad times, easy and difficult, prosperous and financially challenging. In all seasons, in all situations, in all circumstances – trust the Lord and bring your requests to Him in prayer. He will see us through every storm, and give us the light at the end of the tunnel we all need to persevere. We simply need to let go, and leave it to Him. Cast all your cares upon the Lord, because He cares for you. He is willing to hear all our concerns from the smallest to the biggest. When we know He is sovereign and in absolute control over everything, we can rest in Him. Rest knowing that He has you and your circumstances in His hands. (V*7 and V*8).
V*1- “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV).
V*2- “6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Genesis 3:6-7 (NKJV).
V*3- “12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 (NKJV).
V*4- “12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:12-17 (NKJV).
V*5- 14 9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:9-17 (NKJV).
V*6- “30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:30 (NKJV).
V*7- “6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV).
V*8- “5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
“6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may[c] the God of all grace, who called us[d] to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 5:5-11 (NKJV).