Tag Archives: grace

The Path to Wisdom

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.

Proverbs‬ ‭9‬:‭10-11‬ (NASB)

God is the source of wisdom and understanding. Wisdom is about more than objective intelligence. It translates into making right choices – intellectually, spiritually, morally.

We can only begin on the path to wisdom by fearing Him. Since He is the source and sustainer of life, we reap the benefits of this by fearing and knowing Him. Wisdom and understanding, fearing and knowing God, are the path to life.

When we forget this truth, we embrace worldly wisdom, which is no wisdom at all.

We need wisdom and understanding, and they only come from God.

We need to have the deepest possible fear, reverence, awe, and knowledge of God. We can know God intimately, thereby gaining deep understanding of Him, only through the grace of Christ.

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He Will

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

‭Hebrews‬ ‭4‬:‭14-16‬ NASB

Our high priest, our mediator, is Jesus, the Son of God. He’s been through all our temptations. He knows, understands, sympathizes with our weaknesses. This means we can trust Him to give us mercy and grace when we need them. So, don’t be afraid to ask, but ask with confidence, knowing He will provide.

Jesus knows our temptations, but He didn’t give in. Because of this and because of who He is, we can trust Him to give us mercy and grace.

When we’re tempted – and we will be – we need His mercy and grace. We can confidently approach Him, though He rules over all, and ask for mercy and grace when we need them. Believe that you can approach Him confidently when you’re in the middle of temptation. He knows your weakness already.
We can trust Him. He WILL do this.

Grace Reigns

So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭18-21‬ NASB)

Just as Adam’s sin resulted in sinfulness and condemnation for all, Christ’s act of righteousness on the cross leads to the righteousness and eternal life of many. The Law caused our sin to become greater, but God’s grace is greater still. His grace now reigns, bringing us righteousness and eternal life.

Like all humanity, sin ruled over each of us by death, except for the grace of God that now rules over those who believe by righteousness to eternal life, given by the sacrifice of Christ.

God didn’t write us off because of sin. He made a way, a way of grace that is greater than sin. He doesn’t just free us from the consequences of sin. He frees us from sin, makes us better, righteous.

His grace is greater than our sin and more powerful than I can imagine. We can’t allow it to rule over us. Grace reigns now.

Who Rules You?

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭8-14‬ NASB

I must remember that Christ died to sin and is alive forever to God. I must remember that I have died with Christ and am alive with Him. Sin is no longer my master because I’m under His grace, cleansed by His blood spilled at the cross, set free by His payment of my debt.

When I forget this truth, I believe I’m under sin’s power. That, my friends, is a lie.

By the grace of God given through Christ, with Him, we followers of Christ are dead to sin and alive to God. That means that if sin rules me, it’s because I let it.

We have to get this: if sin rules you, it’s because you let it.  You and I have to stop giving ourselves to sin and give ourselves to God instead. Ask Him for the will and the strength to refuse sin’s rule over you.

God, not sin, is our master. Let’s give ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness.

Woe to you…

Matthew 23:13-30 – “Eight Woes”

I find the Pharisees to be – perhaps strangely – a strong example of how easily human nature comes between us and the truth of the Gospel. The roots of Pharisaism were in a movement meant to return Jews to right belief and right practice at a time when pagan culture (namely Greek) was overtaking their own culture and religious practices (the period between the Old and New Testaments). Instead, as evidenced in Jesus’ words here, they created a set of rules that actually drew them away from what God really wanted.

So, what does this have to do with human nature? Humans like rules. I know, most people would disagree. We don’t want to be told what to do, but think about it. We’d rather have rules that clearly define how we get to Heaven (Be good! Don’t hurt people!) than deal with this ethereal “relationship with God” thing. It’s easier!

Scripture points us to right behavior, but it is also clear that right behavior is meaningless without the right heart. Otherwise, why would Jesus come down on the Pharisees here?

It’s also easier when the rules serve to make me look good without my having to worry about other people.

You see, the Pharisees missed the point – the Law never saved anyone, not even a Jew. The Law existed for the people to maintain relationships with God and one another. Hence, the two greatest commandments:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:36b-40

If that wasn’t happening, the Law wasn’t serving its purpose.

Sadly, many Christians – those of us who live under the New Covenant in which Christ has fulfilled the Law – still want it this way. We want the rules.  Even though they don’t teach this way with words, many churches teach this way by example.  It’s not about going to Bible study or Sunday morning worship or putting in time in the food pantry.  Those things are all good things, but they must all grow out of love.

This is not to say there is no place in the Christian life for duty.  Let’s face it.  Sometimes, we don’t feel like doing the things that we know we ought to do.  We should do them anyway because they are our duty as followers of Jesus.

It’s a line that is easy to cross, as the Pharisees show us. We must do our duty, but we don’t just do it for the sake of duty.  We do our duty because we love the God who first loved us and the people whom He loves.