Grace, and grace alone,
could save a wretch like me.
I could not die for my own sins.
Christ had to die for me.
A thousand deaths would not atone
for my eternity; Christ’s blood, and His alone, bought my sanctity.
His light, and His alone,
shined deep within my soul.
The darkness of my heart
was readily exposed. His Word, and His alone,
could speak new life in me.
My sin is great, but greater still,
His grace has set me free.
His love, and His alone,
drew me to His Son;
In covenant with Him,
to be His very own. In goodness, and in His alone,
He brought me to repent,
To turn, to trust, to follow Jesus,
whom He had sent.
His power, and His alone,
gives life beyond my dreams;
Life in Christ, the life of grace,
according to His means. His glory, and His alone,
suffices as an end.
His purpose in heaven and on earth,
for Him; for me. Amen.
(This poem is the result of waking this morning around 5:00, hearing the steady refreshing rain that has been needful for so long. The next thing that came to mind was God’s grace, and after a few minutes I got up and began to write. Following are the Biblical references that apply. I pray that those who read may use one or both to discover and refresh your heart in the truth of God’s grace and His glory.)
In 1911, Julia H. Johnston wrote the text of the hymn Marvelous Grace (Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin).
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!
The emphasis of grace is taken from the text of Romans 5:20b.
“but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,”
The apostle Paul, in writing to the church in Rome, compares the sin of man (which we inherited from the first man, Adam) to the grace of God (which is His means for our salvation through the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ (the second Adam).
Grace exceeds but is not excessive; no more than is needed. None is wasted. Grace wins over any sin of His children, overcoming sin and revealing His grace through us to others.
As I have sung this hymn through my childhood and into my adult life, in relation to Paul’s letter, God has revealed the power of His grace as paramount to the power of sin in my life. The truth of His grace to related to our own sins, and the sins of all believers (vs. 4).
This past week, He has shown me something even greater.
Grace Greater Thank Any Sin or Circumstance
What place does grace play in our relationships to other people, believers and unbelievers?
If His grace exceeds our sin and our guilt; if the blood of the Lamb was spilled; if His grace pardons and cleanses us within, what happens to this grace when someone sins against us, hurts or disappoints us?
Do we forfeit His grace when someone offends us?
Or does this same grace ~ grace that is greater than all our sin ~ remain strong and prove to be greater than anything man can do to us?
If a wealthy man meets a poor man, does the poor man, through his status, take away his wealth?
A wealthy man does not change. He may, in generosity, offer the poor man money, food, or whatever he needs, but the poor man has no power to make him poor.
In the same way, we who are born of the Spirit of God’s grace, made rich in heavenly blessings, do not give up our status as God’s children by allowing the person who offends us to take away our grace. Rather, we respond to those who offend us, or who sin against us, by remembering who we are, in Christ. We, in grace, forgive, pray for them, bless them as we would our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and return good for evil (Romans 12:21). Grace abounds through us, even beyond the sin of unbelievers.
This is the amazing, marvelous, infinite, matchless grace of our loving Lord living and reigning within us. God’s grace rules and wins over all else.
Gracious, heavenly Father, whose love for us exceeds our expectations, and whose grace is greater than our greatest sins, continue to show the extent of your love and grace through us to others, even when they offend or betray us. Make our relationships and our circumstances the means of revealing your greatness and power in all things. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
(Fourth in the series Little Books About the Magnitude of God)
Our new book is available from Amazon.
How do you wrap up fourteen summers of study with your grandchildren? The diagram we used to summarize our years together is still on the blackboards (two stacked on the back of the door leading to our prayer room) from five years ago. This book, with the diagram, is the conclusion we came to ~ GOD at the top, our Purpose at the bottom, and His PLAN through JESUS between Him and us, doing His work to keep us and bring us to Himself.
“How many goals do we set in a lifetime? How many do we actually reach? The Christian worldview is one that sees goals based on what has been accomplished for us by our Creator and Redeemer. God has a purpose for His creation. He has a plan. He has set the goal, and by His plan in Christ, brings us to Himself. As we live in anticipation of reaching this goal, it affects all that we think, say and do, making our pilgrimage here a joy and a glory to Him.” eBook $1.99Paperback $5.59.
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Dear Father, I pray for your grace to lead those who will read this book to see, to know, and to live in assurance of reaching the goal that you have set for us as your people. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
The heart, spirit, and life of a Christian are different than an ordinary person’s life. There is an extraordinary, supernatural working of God’s grace that reforms and transforms the center of all things. It is inbred and expressed outwardly by the Holy Spirit of God. It is the life of Christ that is manifest within and without, permeating the whole being and perpetuating forever a new creation through which He reveals His grace and His glory.
Here we suggest three main factors of a true Christian life that radiates from Christ within us. Love, humility and holiness are the evidence of the new heart and spirit that were promised in Ezekiel 36:26, God’s working of new life in a fallen world.
All that God promised since the fall is being fulfilled by the Spirit of Christ through His people, restoring His image through the life and work of Christ for their salvation and His glory. Knowledge and truth are included in this triangle, as Christ, Himself, is “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) It is in His word, the written word, The Holy Bible, and the living word, Jesus Christ, that we know God, His purpose for our creation and redemption. It is His means of revealing Himself and the work of grace within us. By our reading, study, meditation and memorization He shows us what He is doing; throughout our lives revealing and fulfilling His plans for us, in us, and through us.
LOVE ~ the love of God, the Father, is evidence from His own heart and nature given to each of His children. This love, unlike any of our own imaginations of love, is the new nature. It is the root and the fruit of all that God is and does; and works in all to whom He has given the heart and spirit of Christ. Love works in every area of the new life. Through His revelation of our justification, forgiveness and restoration in Christ we see the evidence of His love (1 John 4:10), and the working of this love through us for Him and for others (1 John 3:16).
HUMILITY ~ the humility of the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to suffer and sacrifice His life for us that we might bear His image, His nature and disposition. Obedience of faith, patience, kindness, and faithfulness are the results of Christ’s humility in and through us. We see His humility and ours in Philippians 2:3-8.
HOLINESS ~ the outward working of Christ and the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian; a return to God of what He has given; the evidence to the angels in heaven and to the world of the difference in the life of a Christian. This is a purity and a goodness that only God can work in the human life.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3
Dear Father in heaven, what mercy you have shown us, and that you continue to work in us. Fill us anew today with your Spirit; with the life of Christ, to know and do your will. Through us reveal to others the magnitude of your grace ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Although pilgrims in an alien land, we still must depend on those offices and laws that are part of this land. We own property according the rules that govern. We have the privileges that enable us to freely go about our daily business; although some of the these are being threatened. According to the apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans 13:1-7 we must, while citizens here, live in respect and obedience, knowing that all is under the rule of our mighty God and King; and all things work for good to those who are His. Many Christians have problems with paying taxes and respecting those who rule over us. If we look back to Matthew 17:24 and Mark 12:13-17 we get a clear picture from our Lord Jesus Christ of this duty to earthly authorities.
In Romans 13:8-19 we see the great debt that we owe. This debt is much greater than any physical debt that requires our respect and our money. The comparison takes us beyond the scale of even our nation’s debt. To owe nothing but to love each other seems a simple thing; and an easy thing to do. But, when we contemplate the true meaning of this debt we see that it is a debt that we cannot pay. We are not able, even as Christians, to love, as we ought. The first commandment, “to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength” is the commandment that we all break.
As I meditated on these verses after hearing our pastor’s sermon on this passage there was a realization that the love that we owe is like money that we don’t have. To love as we are commanded to love requires a source beyond our own ability, is exhaustive, and one that supplies us every moment, every day. This only comes from a heavenly Father who loves, through His Son who came to give us this love, and His Holy Spirit who works this love through us supernaturally.
New Love, True Love, There is much in this world that is called love. The sons of God exhibit a different love that the world can never know except as they see it in us. We truly love, as we know this love, received by the power of the Holy Spirit. The new heart and new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) are filled with this love.
In Christ this love is the expression of eternal life. It is the living water springing up within us to everlasting life. (John 4:10, 14)
By the birth of the Holy Spirit love, it is the flow of rivers of living water. (John 3:3; 7:38-39)
How can we not love, if we are recipients of God’s love?
The power of the gospel that Paul speaks of in Romans 1:16-17 is the power that saves us from the power of oppression, anger, and hate. The obedience of faith is the proof of God’s saving power ~ proof of our salvation ~ working in and through us. The righteousness that comes by faith expresses itself in all that we receive, beginning with the first fruit of the Spirit ~ Love.
The power of the gospel was first expressed in the omnipotent love that transcended the heavens and the earth; coming down in the form of God’s Son. Giving Him as our means of new life, through His righteous life and perfect obedience, we receive in faith the power of this love to love as He loved. It is not our own. We cannot pay what we do not have. “To love” begins with loving God and “loving each other.” He was writing to the Roman believers. Only believers can understand and express this love.
Resource We must examine our resources. Many buy, in extravagance, things they do not have money to pay. We think, perhaps, that we have the resources of love that are commanded of us when in essence our hearts are bone dry, lacking the resources that we need.
It grieves my heart to think that those who claim the love of Christ, His suffering and His sacrifice show no sign of His love in their hearts and lives.
We are called to His Word to daily receive the abundance of love that is needed to live in this world. It is the resource that will lead us through this wilderness to the Paradise that is promised to those who are loved of God.
Do you know this love? Do you testify to it daily in your relationship to the heavenly Father? Does this love flow from a new and daily replenished heart and soul? Do you love freely in Christ; or do you hold resentments against others?
Paul in the latter part of this chapter points out the need to awaken; to cast off the works of darkness; to put on the armor of light. He lists the natural character of the citizens of this world, including quarreling and jealousy, which are the opposite of faith and love.
But, put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (vs.14)
There is a difference in the nature of the world and the kingdom of God. The love of Christ is the proof in us ~ Christ in you, the hope of glory ~ the witness of God’s love in us, that we are born of His kingdom. Love is His nature and practice in this world in preparation for the next. Both John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16 speak of this love.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,”
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Dear Father, prove your love to us, in and through us. Make the light of your love the brightest, the greatest, and most powerful thing in each of us. This true love would light up this world. Thank you for the power of your love in us, through us, and to others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
The original thought was, “There is not enough time for me to write all that I want to write about God’s love, His goodness, His mercy and His grace. Even if I lived to be a hundred, time would not be adequate.”
The words “not enough time for me” stood out, as a meaning beyond what I was originally thinking. And here’s the meaning. If I am to serve Him, and fulfill His purpose for my creation and redemption it will take all my time. There is no time left for me if He is to do all His will and complete His work in me.
Jesus, in response to Mary when she and Joseph found Him at the age of twelve, conversing with the religious leaders, said, “Did you not know that I must be about my father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) He knew His purpose for being here, in word and deed ~ “to proclaim and bring to reality the good news of the kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43). He had only thirty-three years, yet every minute counted for our justification, sanctification and glorification.
Wasted Time As I experience these last years and see how close I am to the end of this life there is a stark realization that a lot of my time has been wasted on me. But, the Lord has been gracious to fill my life with the needs of others, not leaving much time for me. Even in my weakness He is able to make life count for Him. Nothing is wasted, but He will bring all to His own glory, as we realize the true joy in service to Him and others.
He is continuing to teach me to be content with what He is doing in my life and the lives of others, though I wish I could do more. I am still learning what it means to lose my life and to have true life. Anyone who has been born of His Spirit can witness that writing about Him, proclaiming His kingdom, praising Him and serving is never enough. We long to see Him, to serve Him, and worship Him without hindrance from anything in ourselves. What a glorious day that will be.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
Heavenly Father, thank you that you will complete the work you have begun in each of us. In Jesus’ name I thank you and praise you. Amen.