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Category Archives: grace

Sanctification Summarized

I so love to post quotes from saints who long ago passed from this world to sit at the feet of Jesus. One of my favorite quotes is from John Newton. Newton was a sailor, and later an Anglican clergyman. His most famous contribution to our  world was the hymn “Amazing Grace”. Newton also penned one of my favorite quotes that sums up the doctrine of sanctification to a tee. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit does in us after Christ has done the work of justification by imputing His righteousness on us and taking our sin and God’s wrath on Himself. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us and we grow more and more in the knowledge of God. Here is the quote:

I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I once was, and I can say with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”

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It’s grace, grace, God’s grace.

Thanks first of all to the grace of God. The grace of God is freely given to those who believe and the righteousness of Christ is credited to him. We read in Romans 4:1-8:

1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.

Secondly, a big hat tip to Scott at Through The Veil for finding this incredible video that says it all.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2008 in God, grace, Jesus Christ, righteousness

 

Grace and our great high priest

Reading through Hebrews chapter 8 this morning I was again reminded of the cross. I am reminded of the work God accomplished there. Through what God accomplished at the cross, we, the chosen of God, were justified. These who were justified  encountered grace. The particular grace I am writing of here is the grace given in our great high priest. At the point our Lord perished on the cross the heavy curtain in the temple that seperated the people from the jewish high priest, and holy of holies, was torn in two. Because of that grace, the justified now have access to the one and only holy God through Christ our savior. (Heb. 10:19-21) Oh, what a Savior!

In reference to this scripture I came across a little Purtian prayer:

Grace

O God, may Thy Spirit speak in me that I may speak to Thee. I Lord Jesus, great high priest, Thou hast opened a new and living way by which a fallen creature can approach Thee with acceptance.

Help me to contemplate the dignity of Thy Person, the perfectness of Thy sacrifice, the effectiveness of Thy intercession.

O what blessedness accompanies devotion, when under all the trials that weary me, the cares that corrode me, the fears that disturb me, the infirmities that oppress me, I can come to Thee in my need and feel peace beyond understanding!

The grace that restores is necessary to preserve, lead, guard, supply, help me.  And here Thy saints encourage my hope; they were once poor and are now rich, bound and are now free, tried and now are victorious.

Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess, but not more than is found in Thee, the divine treasury in whom all fullness dwells.  To Thee I repair for grace upon grace, until every void made by sin be replenished and I am filled with all Thy fullness.

May my desires be enlarged and my hopes emboldened, that I may honour Thee by my entire dependency and the greatness of my expectation.

Do Thou be with me, and prepare me for all the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity, the losses of substance, the death of friends, the days of darkness, the changes of life, and the last great change of all. May I find thy grace sufficient for all my needs.

This thought provoking prayer about grace and our high priest can be found in a book titled “Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions“.

 

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Love, love, love

As the title might indicate this is not a posting about the The good Samaritanpopular Beatles song. It is about the word love as it is used in the scriptures. Last night at OBC we were lead by Mike Holloway (a former elder to OBC) in a study about the word love, especially as it is used in Galatians 5:22. We are doing a 9 part series about the fruit of the Spirit on Sunday evenings throughout the summer.

Mike first established the definition of the word love as it is used in our culture today and as it is used in the New Testament. As you might suspect there are some contrasts. First of all the word love as we use it today is the Greek word eros, which is used to indicate romantic love. This form of the word love is not used in the New Testament.  Another form of the word love is the Greek word philia. The city of Philadelphia derives its name from this form, meaning brotherly love. This form of the word love is rarely used in the New Testament. It is often used in the context of friendship. The last form of the word love used in the New Testament in the Greek word agape’. This form is used over 250 times in the New Testament. It is mostly used in the context of charity or love with grace. I would content this form of the word is impossible to do without the Spirit of God. This form of the word is used in Galatians 5:14.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Without the spirit of God within you this form of love in the verb since is impossible to do. You may love out of what you perceive as unselfish motives but without God it is not a work in the purist sense, as used in 1 Corinthians 13.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

   

As Mike summed it up by challenging us to do a self-examination of sorts. How are we as believers in Christ doing in this form of love, agape’ love which we are to walk in. Are we loving our neighbors as ourselves? Are we loving the ugly, the repugnant, the undesirable, the unworthy and unattractive? This same love we have experienced from Christ when we were ugly, undesirable, unworthy and enemies of God. He loved us enough to send His son to die on a cross for us. Below is the link to the audio of Mike Holloway’s sermon on the fruit of the spirit which is love.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

This is something for us to consider daily. It is a challenge for me to be sure.

 

Grafted in

What do I mean by the title? First let’s look at the wordgrafting a grape vine grafted or grafting. Grafting is basically a process used in horticulture to fuse together part of one plant, much like a branch, and affix it to the tissues of another. The basis for deciding to do this is for plant propagation.  

I have been reading through the book of Romans and in chapter 11 the apostle Paul uses this term to describe to the readers how they, the Gentiles, have come to share in the rich root of Christ.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith.

By God’s grace I, who am a Gentile, have been grafted in to the root system of Christ. Paul is saying that God’s chosen, the Jews, have been broken off. They represent the branches that were broken off. They rejected Christ and thus have been broken off. In horticulture, the plant to be selected to sustain the branches to be grafted in is selected because of its rich root system. The other plant or branch to be grafted in is selected for its stem, leaves, or fruit. Paul is using this analogy which would be understood by those in the Roman church. They would understand these terms because many of the members would have been farmers or wine makers.

Praise our Lord for choosing us to be grafted in to the root system of Christ. He alone sustains us, and He has promised to produce fruit through us.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2007 in grace, grafting, Romans, salvation

 

Trusting in future grace

I am currently involved in a bible study surrounding a book written by John Piper. The Future Gracebook is titled Future Grace. We’ve been doing the study for about 4 weeks now and it is great. The first thing Piper educates us on is this thing called future grace. Piper contrasts future grace with gratitude. He challenges us to find anywhere in the bible where believers were motivated to obedience out of gratitude. He contends that this good deed behavior out of gratitude is called debtor’s ethic. It says that since you have done something good for me I am indebted to do something good for you. This is contrary to what God intended. God intended for true gratitude to be a spontaneous expression of pleasure in the gift and the good will of another. There is a good quote in the very first chapter that kind of describes it with clarity for me.

With true gratitude there is such a delight in the worth of God’s past grace, that we are driven on to experience more and more of it in the future. But this is not done by payments of debt in any ordinary sense. Rather, it is done by transforming gratitude into faith as it turns from contemplating the pleasures of past grace and starts contemplating the promises of the future.

This future grace is grace provided by God in the next day, in the next hour, in the next minute. We have confidence from past grace to trust God for His future grace. It is an awesome thing to behold and trust in.

In our study we recently discussed chapter six. It contains one of the most convicting things I’ve ever encountered. Faith in future grace versus pride. The chapter discusses three competitors to God for the human heart. Wisdom, might and riches. We think these can be obtained by our own self reliance. It is radically humbling to confess that the source of all our joy resides outside of ourselves. Pride is such an obstacle to future grace it opposes the hope and trust in the promises of God because we trust in ourselves, or others, or material things. But when we trust in God and His future grace we put away this human pride and walk in the second, the minute, the hour, and the day of God’s future grace. 

As we continue in this study I will post some more information about it and review it as a whole. More to come.