March 9, 2014.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore,we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
There is one thing I know, and that is that I am a sinful and wretched man. I strive to live a Godly life, but I constantly fail. I know am not alone in this, but so often I feel like I am the only one struggling. Isn’t the concept of grace so wonderful? Where God says, “I know you will never be perfect. But here you go, I have justified you through my blood, you are raised anew in me. Keep in there, I have your hand.” Sometimes, those in my fellowship do not give the doctrine of grace its due, for legitimate but not excusable reasons. Grace says, “though you are a sinner, you have been washed clean.” Grace is free, not based on any works of merit. This does not mean its unconditional or that you can never fall away. It is these two ideas in the religious world today that I think dampen our willingness to talk about grace, which is a real shame. I am just now learning the concept- the fact that we need not live in constant fear of failure, but of progress. This is true Christian joy.
Have you ever viewed your standing with God as holding a chalk board, constantly writing and erasing sins as they come and go? I used to view it this way, and let me tell you, that is scary. I would live in constant fear that if I sinned once and then died, God would be like “Well, sorry. Hate it for ya.” There is no joy in this. There is no stability, no security. How is it that Paul can write about the unshaken faith in his salvation, if he was constantly worried that it was a fragile scaffold that could fall apart at any minute? I have come to the conclusion that His grace covers our constant sin, so long as we are striving to live the Godly life. Striving to live this life does not mean having a life absent of sin, rather a life that does not revolve around sin. There is a difference, and a difference that is not always recognized by the religious community.
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
We cannot live in sin. This is when we are not actively trying to avoid sin. You hear this in the religious would today, “Well, we’re all just sinners. But the grace of God covers sin, so it doesn’t matter we’re good,” and then the sin continues to happen without repentance. Once we have been raised into the new life, united with Christ through the watery grave of baptism, we are to live according to that new life. Will we fail? But of course. The difference is we continue to get up. Christ’s blood will cover our falls, not because we deserve it in any way, but because he loves us and had redeemed us. It is up to us to stay in his hand.
“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”
Remember to look at the full story. Look to see if certain doctrines truly hold the implications that people say they do. It has been my experience that they do not, at least for a good percentage. This is why we are to study the word of God, and why I write about that so much. It isn’t to bore you or to yell at you. It is to emphasize the importance of it. Biblical concepts should always be discussed, wether or not other people disagree with them or have different interpretations. I believe the protestant reformation to be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it finally called into question doctrines that were being fabricated by man contrary to the word, but also a curse because it shattered and divided the church. We should be striving for the unity of the body. I believe the only way to do that is to through out biases and opinion and simply get back to what the bible says. If it says one thing, we should believe it no matter how many people tell us that it says something else. May the Holy Spirit guide us in this.
Suggested Daily Reading: Romans 5-6, Hebrews 5-6.
Grace be with you.