Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Embracing Grace

Well it's been a while since I have blogged, but last night God laid these words on my heart. After a morning message that gripped  and convicted me on Sunday Morning, a bible study with my girlfriend Sunday afternoon and a time of personal devotions last night, God was impressing upon my heart his amazing grace that I have been taking for granted. These are the words that flowed through my heart and out of my fingers.

My heart feels so free; God asks me to love him not just follow ritual. I have the Holy Spirit, the author of love inside me. He is not pleased with me reading the bible because I feel like I have too but his grace motivates me to love him because no matter how often I fail he loves me and wants to use me and restore fellowship the moment I ask. This vain repetition is not what glorifies my Father. It's not that he restores me fellowship after I "read my daily devotional reading" or "make up for it" but as soon as I ask forgiveness the only one holding that sin over my head is me. (I John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.") I don't have to make up for it! It's been paid for already. Trying to make up for my own sin is as foolish as taking a Christmas gift back to the store and trying to pay for it! If I'm trying to make up for my own sin, I'm telling God that what Jesus did wasn't enough. That's sin. So I'm throwing sin on top of sin. Trying to make up for my sin through ritual or trying to regain God's approval through ritual is like heaping grease on a hot flame. It's only making it worse! (Hosea 6:6 - "For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice"). 

I fear this is the way many Christians are living their lives. Satan keeps Christians in the valleys by deceiving them into believing that they must atone for their own sins. This is utter foolishness. Don't believe it. We must live by grace. We are no longer under the law. The law taught us right from wrong, but the whole dynamic changed when Christ entered the scene. When Christ hung on that cross and as he screamed in agony "it is finished" everything changed. That is the moment that changed the world forever. Christ lived my life, and your life brother and sister Christian, fulfilling the law perfectly. In the moment that you silently responded to His call to salvation, or you cried out to heaven in tears begging for Christ to welcome you into his family you took on his life and death. If you've been baptized you have probably heard something similar to "buried with him in the likeness of his death, raised to walk in newness of life." What does that mean? It means you fully fulfilled the law, it means that sin you're beating yourself over...the one you are trying to atone for is nailed to that wooden cross, the awe - inspiring, history making cross. By physical appearance it's just two wooden beams, but what was accomplished there turned the world upside down. But what's next? My sins are nailed to the cross, I am righteous and God sees me through the lens of Jesus Christ. Now live by grace. Live by love. Live free because the freedom you have through Christ beckons you to serve him. 

You will be free to pray in confidence knowing that the King of King hears you. Wrap your mind around that for a moment. We are servants and yet the King says "come freely, come often and stay there." The implication is that we never leave the presence of the King of Kings. The King prepares a banquet for his servants in heaven. The King prepares mansions for his servants. The King washes the feet of his servants." You are coming to a king. Large petitions with you bring, for his grace and power are such, none can ever ask too much." When you embrace grace, the power of prayer is the power of the King, and you have the freedom to ask anything, literally anything and because his life is you're life, his desires are you're desires. You have the freedom to pray unselfishly, unreservedly. 

You also have the freedom to read the word of God with a passion, soaking up every word, every syllable. You will thirst for the living water, and as you drink from that water you have every drop you will ever need. God's word is what guides our lives. Every decision we make should be based on biblical principal and when you embrace grace, you will desire to consult what God says on every decision. 

You have the freedom to serve him, knowing that he does not hold your sin against you and he will use you. And you have the freedom to worship. No I'm not talking Sunday morning. I'm talking lifestyle. You have the freedom to live a life of worship, because even if you stumble Gods grace allows you to get right back up. (Proverbs 24:16 - "for the righteous falls seven times and rises again"). Worship is not an event it's a lifestyle, one that you will live if you are living by grace. My friends If you truly embrace the mystery of the cross and the mystery that is atoning grace, you won't be able to contain your joy. 

Experience grace. Experience forgiveness. Experience freedom. Experience Love. Experience joy. Experience Christ.