'BEFORE THE MOUNTAINS WERE BROUGHT FORTH, OR EVER THOU HADST FORMED THE EARTH AND THE WORLD, FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING THOU ART GOD.' [KJV PSALM 90:2]
8/19/2018 0 Comments
Amazing grace—how sweet the sound--
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see. [John Newton]
Morning and Evening: Daily Readings
Morning, July 14 - Posted Part A, August 12, 2018; Post Part B-Postcard,August 19, 2018.
“If thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.”
Exodus 20:25 God’s altar was to be built of un-hewn stones, that no trace of human skill or labour might be seen upon it. [Deuteronomy 27:5; Joshua 8:30, 31]
The concept of grace as found in the Bible is multifaceted, but it can be summed up in the definition “undeserved favor.” The Bible says that we are saved by grace. The grace of God is expressed by God’s forgiveness of our sins, and His blessings to us include peace and fulfillment in this life and, in the life to come, unencumbered fellowship with Him for all eternity. This, has no comparison on this earth!
[Romans 2:4; 9:22-26; Ephesians 1:15-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-12; Hebrews 11:24-26; 1 Timothy 6:17]
What then, is 'grace'?
In a nutshell, Grace is undeserved favor; it is God’s blessing on the unworthy. For a perfect and detailed example, see 'the parable' of the 'runaway son' whose father received his runaway son with celebratory joy—a totally unworthy individual who brought nothing to his father except dishonor and shame was lavished with undeserved blessings (Luke 15:11–24). audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html THIS IS A PICTURE OF EACH AND EVERY HUMAN BEING 'OUT OF JESUS CHRIST'; ANY 'UNSAVED' HUMAN BEING.
We are saved by grace, not by a mixture of God’s grace and our meritorious works. According to Scripture, we can do nothing to earn salvation, nor are our best efforts good enough to elicit a gracious response from God so that He will make up the difference. All of our righteous deeds are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Even considering our best efforts, we have fallen short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23), and we deserve death (Romans 6:23). We are not commanded to “do our best” for God but to love Him perfectly and completely (Matthew 22:37). We fail in that. The command is not to “try” to love our neighbors but to actually succeed in loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). In spite of our “best efforts,” we fail—and who can honestly claim they gave it their “best effort” anyway? Come on, now. You all know this to be the 'unvarnished' 'truth'! I know that I do.
Our only hope then, is to place our faith in Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay for our sins, and rose again. Our sin is imputed to Him, and His righteousness is imputed to us when we trust Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are justified not by our works (Romans 3:20) but by Jesus’ resurrection (Romans 4:25). Faith itself is not a “good work” that causes God to take notice of us. Faith is repenting of our sin, admitting that we are hopelessly and helplessly lost and unable to do anything to gain God’s favor, then simply accepting the salvation that He offers freely.
We are saved by grace; the work is God’s, not ours. “Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness” (Romans 4:4–5). First, God justifies the ungodly—not people who have done their best and somehow elicited a gracious response from God. God justifies those who do not deserve it. Second, God justifies people who receive salvation by faith—not people who give it their best effort. If they are justified in any part based on what they do, they are receiving wages, not a gift. If grace is based on works to any degree, then it is not grace (Romans 11:6). audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
Salvation by grace means that, from first to last, it is undeserved. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith (John 17:4; 19:30; Hebrews 12:2). Grace is not God doing 95 or even 99.9 percent, with us making up the difference. Grace is God doing 100 percent and our humble acceptance of it, recognizing that we are unworthy and have nothing to contribute. [Let not 'pride' make this 'truth' a 'stumbling block' against your soul's salvation.]
More Scripture References include: “Salvation belongs to the LORD” (Psalm 3:8, John 6:44; [Revelation 7:10)].
We are saved by grace from beginning to end. Once a person has come to faith in Christ, he will undoubtedly realize that the only reason he was able to have faith is that God was drawing him even before he knew it (see John 6:44). Left to himself, the sinner would have continued to rebel and flee from God. Even before we believe, the very desire to come to God is God’s grace at work to save us. “Salvation belongs to the LORD”.
Further at Ephesians 2:8-9, as it is written, to wit:
'8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.'. [Yes, even the faith to believe is a 'gift of God'!]
And, even more, from Philippians 2:13, we find that '13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.' And, then, we can actually accomplish God's Plans and Purposes, according to Ephesians 2:10, to wit: '10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.' Oh, happy, happy days!!! Great is - His Grace.
When we are truly 'honest', we know all this to be 'true'. [John 6:44; Philippians 1:29; 2:12,13]
Therefore, now the question to you - Where are you, Adam, Eve? [Genesis 3:9-11] Remember, '22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.' [James 1:22-25] 'Could my tears forever flow, Could my zeal no languor know, These for sin could not atone--Thou must save, and Thou alone: In my hand no price I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling.'
(Augustus Toplady) Amen. Amen.
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