Grace Greater Than Any Sin

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.

Refrain:
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.

Grace That is Sufficient for All Things

Paul also speaks of grace that is sufficient in weakness and infirmities. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

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.
Fran

A Child’s Plea for God

A Child's Plea

  Give me not a god,
a god that I control.
Don’t give me a god
that I can mold.

 Give me GOD, THE LIVING GOD,
who’s free to come and go.
I need GOD, the REAL GOD,
who knows more than I know.

   GOD, Himself, who created Life,
and all living things—
GOD, who lives, and to my life
His own LIFE He brings.

   I  want  GOD, the HOLY GOD,
who has a master plan.
GOD, the GOD who acts in grace,
though I can’t understand.

 Where is GOD, the GOD OF TRUTH,
who tells it like it is;
Though painful it may seem to me,
shapes my heart like His? 

   I see GOD, the MIGHTY GOD,
when I look at the cross,
Who gave His life that I might live,
removing all the dross.

This GOD, THE GOD I’m looking for,
is greater than the world;
Able to do anything,
simply by His Word.

I will wait for GOD, THE LOVING GOD,
THE GOD OF POWER, still,
Who can, in JESUS, fill my heart,
and conform me to His will.
F.R. 1996

  (Poem was written for our oldest grandchild, Ansley, for her fourth birthday. She is now twenty-four, married, and has a two-year-old daughter.)

MY CROSS

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There was a cross at Golgotha
Where my Savior bled and died;
Where I meet Him face to face
And look into His eyes.

And when I look I see the love
Our Father has for me.
For through His clear, bright eyes of pain
I see E T E R N I T Y ———-

A home where Love and Joy abound
Within the heart of God;
A place beyond what man can dream,
Where no human feet have trod.

God’s children all are there:
There’s room for every one.
He knows each heart; He knows each name.
To Him He bids me, “Come.”

With outstretched hands He calls my name;
Not one I’ve heard before.
He’s not at all as I had thought;
He’s more, oh, so much more.

So gracious as the Father is
My speech will not allow
To tell in human words
What can be seen, even now.

When first I look at God’s own plan
To bring me to Himself
The cross looms high, but then bro’t low
It forms a human shelf.

From heaven He came, and here He stayed
Until His work was done.
The cross I knew was meant for me;
He suffered for His own.

I knew that He released me there
When He bid me, “Come.”
Jesus gives me joy and peace
For now and later on.

Eternity is God’s own life,
Given for my good.
He gives His love to be my own
Through Spirit, Deed and Word

F.R. 1994

Humility in the Disciples of Jesus ~ Chapter 5


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If you have been with me from the beginning of this review on Humility you know that we have gotten into something that is beyond any of our speculations. We have learned that humility is not just another commodity that we can add to our purchases in this life.

For a long time I have observed that Christ in Christianity is not just another order that we place before God, but a supernatural work of God in our hearts, minds, and lives, as He is preparing a people with whom to share His kingdom and His glory.

I am now concluding that no one will be a part of His glory without the preparation for it, and this includes the humility of Christ. Yes; are we not learning that humility is the first, the chief, and the root of all His gifts of grace? “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Ephesians 2:8

Is it not His mercy that brings us to Christ in a supernatural new birth of His Spirit (John 3: 3, Romans 8:1-9) to grow us in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?
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2 Peter 3:18)

His purpose for His grace and our faith is given in Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

As we see this development of God’s grace in the lives of Christ’s disciples in this chapter in Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) we are encouraged in the thought of “how real our participation can be in the perfect triumph of Christ’s humility over the pride Satan had breathed into man. “

As we remember key words from this book we see in this chapter the repetition of the word power. We understand that just as we have no power to birth ourselves, whether physically or spiritually (this is the supernatural work that we referred to earlier) we have no power of our own to cast out the power of pride and self; or to grow and to conform ourselves to Christ’s image.

Three points keep us on track in this chapter.
1. How much there can be of earnest and active Christianity while humility is still sadly wanting.
2. How weak all external teaching and all personal effort are, to conquer pride or give the meek and lowly heart.
3. It is only by the indwelling of Christ in His divine humility that we become truly humble.

There were times when Jesus used the expression “O, ye of little faith,” knowing that his disciples were not yet mature in their understanding of His calling. We, like them are eager to serve in our roles as newborns, yet we are not developed in our faith. For most, we leave off the study and devotion that is needed to grow and learn what we need to know. And even with our study and prayer and earnest seeking of the kingdom of God and His righteousness we cannot by these acquire this power of humility.

During this year’s desire for the humility of Christ there has been a continual reminder of our limitations. We are limited by our lack of knowledge, understanding, and power; but more by God’s own will, His choosing, His timing, and His good pleasure.

We see this limitation in Jesus’ disciples. They spent three years with Him, in His presence, seeing His example, and hearing His teachings. They had a limited knowledge and understanding until the supernatural power of God came upon them at Pentecost.

pentecostThose years with Him were only for preparation. The power of the Holy Spirit that came after Jesus’ ascension was the fulfilling of Jesus’ words of the promise of the Father, (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4) after He had finished His redemptive work. It was to establish their leadership of the church, through which the work of Christ would be known, where believers would receive the teachings of Jesus; grow in their knowledge and understanding; and be conformed to His image; and by which others would be brought to follow Christ.

Other Reminders From Jesus’ Ministry
We remember Jesus’ words to Simon Peter before he understood what Jesus and His kingdom was about; “ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Was this not the change that would come after His ascension?
In his pride he responded; “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death”. (Luke 22:31-33) Then he denied Jesus three times.

Jesus’ words in Luke 11:13 reveals the place and need of the Holy Spirit; “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ has delivered us from the law of sin and death,” (Romans 8:2) bringing us to the knowledge and understanding of this life in Christ; to experience His nature and disposition in us.

As in all of life we want things immediately, but as this life in Christ is totally different than any we have ever known, we are learning that it does not all come at once. Jesus at one point told His disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12)

The Preparation
From this chapter we see the work of Christ and His Spirit in our hearts and lives for this necessary grace of humility.
1. The teaching (revelation from the written word and the Holy Spirit) and example.
2. Our convictions, our desires, our prayers and our vain efforts.
3. The reality of the Spirit of Christ living in us and producing His own nature and disposition.

“Nothing can avail but that the new nature, in its divine humility, will be revealed in power to take the place of the old. It will become as truly our very nature as the old ever was.

“Pride is ours, from Adam, and rules in us with such terrible power, because it is ourself—our very nature. Humility (from Christ) must be ours in the same way; it must be our very self, our very nature.   As natural and easy as it has been to be proud, it must—it will be—to be humble. The promise is, “Where,” even in the heart, “sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5;20)

How long must we pray, desiring what is promised in His word. It is not for me to say. I pray and wait, even as the disciples did for the promise of the Father. I know that He is doing His work, for I desire to desire what He desires. I live each day in anticipation of His will and His work, grateful for a crumb from the master’s table; waiting for the feast, and telling others about it. I pray this humility of Christ for me and all His people, so that we may receive all that He has promised to us and prepared for us ( 1 Corinthians 2:9).

All the Work of Christ
In whatever category we find ourselves listed at the end of this chapter we can in His timing understand, desire and pray for; and eventually experience the deliverance and victory. Even so, we will always need to expect more of the fullness of Jesus, our Lord, our Savior, our Redemmer.

Jesus life and death was all for this purpose ~ the abundant life that is rooted in His humility. From heaven to earth; from earth to heaven; from heaven, by His own Spirit, to the hearts of His people Christ has come, and continues to live and reign in our hearts and lives ~ in our preparation for His eternal glory.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

 Dear heavenly Father, we wait on you, desiring the fulfillment of the promises that are ours in your Son, for His humility to be revealed in us, for our conformity to His image; for the abundant life that is in Him alone.  Forgive us for our impatience, and anything that may prevent our receiving all that you have prepared for us.

“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

Related Sermon:  Al Martin ~ The Indicatives of Grace

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What Do We Make of the Lord’s Day?

God made the heavens and the earth.  In six days God had made all that man needed, including the man; and pronounced that it was “very good.”  He needed to do nothing more, but stand back and glory in what He had made.  He blessed it, and sanctified it, setting the pattern for a six-day workweek, and a day of rest. God planned it all, made it all, and then left the man to have dominion over it—to make of it what he would.  The man failed and so, needing something more, in time received from God His commands in print, for all generations to read.

Now, what do we make of His Law—not the ceremonial law.  That was abolished when Christ said, “It is finished.”  It was all nailed to the cross.

 We still have the Ten Commandments, all the law that pertains to His kingdom; the way of life that He ordained for His people.  We could just as well put aside the sixth commandment, (“Thou shalt not kill”) as to leave off the fourth, for all ten came in the same package.  Written together they are each one part of the same covenant, a covenant describing the intents of God’s heart and mind for His own children in His kingdom.  Who would disagree that there can be a detriment to the honor of human life when we fail to honor God in the other commandments.  Study the history of the Israelites.  One thing led to another, even to murder, when what seemed to be the lesser of the commandments were disobeyed.

 We might say, “Father, I understand that you don’t want me to kill anybody; that’s a basic understanding for most of humanity.  But, things have changed, and we don’t really see the need for some of the other commandments.  It’s hard, these days, to keep a whole day separate and holy.  There are so many other things I need to do on the day that I am free from work, and other responsibilities.”

What we do with the Lord’s Day is a matter of the heart.  Where is your heart on the Lord’s Day?  In the weeks ahead I want to continue to quote God’s Word, and other writings from His servants, on this subject.  I welcome your comments on what the Lord’s Day means to you, and how you and your family prepare for, and observe it.  I will be recommending some new books on this subject, as we see more and more of God’s people being convicted.

 There is more instruction concerning the fourth commandment than the other ten.

Join me in the following weeks for what our heavenly Father teaches us about His Day—the special day we are to live in fellowship with Him and His people.

“Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy.”
Exodus 20:8

What did you make of this day?  Was it holy unto the Lord—for His glory?

The Newest Year ~ The Best Wine

The Father has opened my heart to think of this new year as the newest year, one that will surpass all others.  Each year of my life has brought new revelation, new truths, new vision, new purpose.  Each year has brought me closer and closer to Him. With time, aging, experience, and trials we can witness that He keeps His covenant and fulfills His promises. So why should we not come to this year with even more expectation, with a great and joyful anticipation?

All my life I seem to have been motivated by new beginnings, though they come with mixed blessings.  For every new beginning there has to be an ending, which means we leave something behind or lose something.  We may have to let something, or someone, go.  We may have to start over completely.  Years ago there came the realization that endings are like deaths.  Some are good endings that we have looked forward to. Others may be accompanied with grief, which may take time to get over.  But in the process is the preparation for the future that our Father has for us, and for things that He has prepared for us.  We are not speaking of the future as a reference to an after-death experience in heaven.  What we refer to is for here and now, a taste of heaven here on earth, and preparation for glory.  Every year, every trial, every ending, every death, every beginning brings us more of His blessings, and the heavenly gifts He waits to give.

New Heart ~ New Birth

To experience the newest we have to set aside the old.  With the new birth we start over. With the new heart our desires change.  The things that we lusted for, even things that seemed good are easily left behind for something better.  With the new spirit we look forward to new experiences that the Father has planned for us.  The child-like faith gives us hope for further fulfillment of His promises, and we rest in believing that He will show us great and mighty things we have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)  The child-like spirit delights in the unexpected. We are not satisfied to live the same year again, but in anticipation that all things will be fresh and new from Him every day, and every year that we are here.  These new things are never lost, but added to year after year, with even greater anticipation.

We can expect the continued power of the Holy Spirit to guide us into and through the year, moment by moment, day by day, week by week, month by month until the ending of this year, unless He has chosen to bring us to glory  ( Psalm 73:24; Colossians 3:4) before then.  We anticipate further sanctification, cleansing and purifying of the heart and the hands, transforming by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:1-2) and conforming us to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29)

“He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure;

 for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.”

2 Samuel 23:5 

We look forward to His instructions, to His order of the things with which we are still unfamiliar, but that He promises to reveal to us. (Deuteronomy 29:29; John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10)

On this first day of 2008 the question is asked, “Am I willing to give up my own ideas, the desires of my own heart, and seek, with diligence, the kingdom of God and His righteousness?”  (Matthew 6:33)  The Father has promised us an abundant life in His Son. (John 10:10)  The newest and the best are given only in Christ. All beginnings are of His grace—not a cheap grace, but one secured for us by the Father and the Son through the sacrifice of His life, a covenant of grace made for us before time began. (2 Timothy 1:9)

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”  John 3:30 

We enter this newest year with an open calendar and the prayer, “Lord, fill it with your plans for me—for your glory, and for my joy and the joy of others. Let there be less of me and more of you.”  And this same prayer we ask for all His people, for the building of His church and His kingdom. “Fill our hearts and prayers with more love for you and others, more praise, more gratitude, more of your grace. Let there be new springs, new fountains, new rivers of living water flowing in hearts, families, and churches.”

“Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.  This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”  John 2:10-11

At the marriage feast at Cana Jesus turned water into wine. Much of what we have seems good until we, in the times of our seasoning, come to what the Father has for us. It is but as water, or only a good wine, compared to the better. We can afford to wait for the best that the Father has planned for us.  “The heirs can afford to wait.”  (Andrew Murray) He has promised a heavenly life for His people who live in anticipation of the spiritual things from His heart and kingdom. (Ephesians 1:3)  He has promised new wine in new wine skins.  He keeps filling our hearts with His Word, His promises, His Spirit, His power (Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 21:27,29) and excitement that spills over into each year.  Still, the newest year and the best wine are yet to come, in Glory with Him.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,

how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” 

Romans 8:31

Keeping our eyes on Christ we live in daily anticipation of the filling of His Spirit, and the bread from heaven, the Spirit of the life of Christ given to us by a loving heavenly Father, and we pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-13; Revelation 4)  Before anything else we desire the honor of His name, the coming of His kingdom in our hearts, and His will to be done in our lives, as it is in heaven.  If these requests are fulfilled we can know that the others will be also.  The rest of the Lord’s Prayer is a petition for our needs based on our faith in what He promised and is able to do—for His glory and our joy.

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,

unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:” 

Ephesians 4:7,13

(Fran 1/1/08  Article from 50 Days of Prayer and Praise ~ Articles and Stories of Faith)   Join us for our daily devotional  agoldentreasury.com.