Sunday, April 15, 2018

God's Grace IS Enough

Galatians 3:1-6  "You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.  I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?  Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?  So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?  So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Galatians 2:21  "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

 Galatians 3: 21-22  "Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not!  For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.  But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe."

         In today's blog, I want to scratch the surface on the subject of  'grace versus works'.  I want to begin with 2 Corinthians 12:9  " “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  I don't think this verse only applies to our daily trials, but also lays a fundamental truth that, 'We cannot save ourselves but we are saved by God's grace alone.'    Ephesians 2:8-9  "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
        "God has rules. The problem is, none of us can or do keep them. But the point of God’s rules isn’t so that, in keeping them, we can be made right with Him. The point of His rules is to make apparent to us our glaring inadequacies and failure and sin. When we are left with no further claim to earning God’s favor through our own goodness we are finally ready to look to Jesus alone as Savior. The Bible says,  "The Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ." – Galatians 3:22 NLT  [B. Cox]
         Some people believe that without a certain 'work' being done in life that a person's belief in God as their Lord and Savior is invalidated.  Not True!  In John 3:16, it says 'whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life'.  It does not say 'whoever believes and ....[a list of works]'.  Is a death bed testimony of repentance and acceptance of Christ any less credible than any other profession of faith, according to Scripture?
         "Paul points out in verse 6 that Abraham was accepted by God not because he was circumcised, but because he trusted God’s promises and put his faith in him. (In Romans 4:10, Paul points out that God accepted Abraham as his son long before he ever got circumcised, so it would be pointless to argue from the life of Abraham that circumcision was necessary to be accepted by God!)" []
         Works are an important aspect to the Christian life, but they are a loving response to Christ's saving grace. God's grace is inexhaustible.  We can never establish ourselves as good enough, according to God's rules and standards.  We can only look to Jesus' death and resurrection for our sin atonement, not any human effort.  "There is unbelievable relief in this truth. There is freedom and liberty. There is assurance and eternal security. There is adoption into God’s family. There is the promise of life in heaven someday and an abundant, fulfilling life today."
        "It is not enough to know the truth, and to say we believe it, but we must obey it too; we must heartily submit to it, and stedfastly abide by it.  Those are spiritually bewitched who, when the truth as it is in Jesus is plainly set before them, will not thus obey it. "  [M. Henry] 
       "Keep in mind that serving God in order to earn His favor or ensure that He continues blessing you amounts to thwarting grace. You can do nothing to deserve the Lord’s kindness! He pours it upon believers freely, so the only thing you can “do” is receive it." []

        The lyrics to 'Who Am I' by Casting Crowns sums it all up pretty well...
           'Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done
            Not because of what I've done, but  because of who You are!'