Christ’s Finished Work

Christ's Finished WorkWeek 5 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is almost over. This week’s reading was Matthew 27-28 and Mark 1-4. Matthew 27-28 speaks of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and some of His final words to His disciples. Mark 1-4 speaks mainly of Jesus’ baptism, the beginning of His ministry, miracles He performed, some of His encounters with the Pharisees, and parables He told.

Matthew 27 speaks further of all that Jesus endured on our behalf. He was whipped (Matthew 27:26), made fun of (Matthew 27:27-31), crucified between two rebels (Matthew 27:38), and mocked as He hung there (Matthew 27:39-44).

This was all part of the price Christ paid to redeem us. He was forsaken that we might be accepted (Matthew 27:46). He became poor that we might be made rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). He was wounded for our wrongdoings. The punishment that we might have peace was upon Him. It is by His stripes that we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). Christ took our sins upon Himself, that we might be made righteous Because of what He has done for us, the price for our sins has been paid in full.

Jesus rose again, having dealt with our sins once and for all at the cross (Hebrews 7:27). The victory has been won. We have been reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). His resurrection is our assurance that all of our sins have been completely removed.In this world, we are as He is – completely loved and accepted by our Heavenly Father (1 John 4:17)!

This is the good news of the gospel – the power of God for the saving of all who believe (Romans 1:16). These are the glad tidings we are to spread. This is what changes lives – the wonderful grace of God, shown in Christ’s finished work at the cross. Let’s give thanks for all that He has done for us!

The Gospel of God’s Grace

The Gospel of God's GraceIn Acts 20:24, the Apostle Paul mentions the gospel of the grace of God. It is by this grace – our Heavenly Father’s unmerited favor on each of our lives – and through faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). We aren’t made right with God by our own works. We don’t maintain our standing with Him through our actions. It isn’t about what we’ve done or failed to do, but rather what Jesus did for us.

When we were dead in our transgressions, God made us alive with Christ
(Ephesians 2:4-5). It was while we were still powerless that Jesus died for us
(Romans 5:6). Therefore, our salvation has nothing to do with our actions. They aren’t what qualifies us to receive the blessing of right standing with God. Before Him, our own deeds of righteousness are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:4). They avail nothing. It is Jesus’ sacrifice that enables us to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Because of what Christ has done for us, we are now God’s children (1 John 3:1). He no longer counts our sins against us (2 Corinthians 5:19). As far as the east is from the west, He has removed them form us (Psalm 103:12). It truly is by God’s grace that we have been saved (Ephesians 2:5)!

What is our part to play? To simply receive – through faith – the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness that God holds out to us (Romans 5:17). Because our standing with God isn’t based on anything we’ve done, it doesn’t change with the state of our behavior. Our wrong-doing doesn’t separate us from Him. Even when we sin, we are still the righteousness of God in Christ, because of what He did for us at the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Does this mean that we are free to do whatever we want? By no means! In
Romans 6:1 (NASB), Paul addresses a similar question – “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” Verse 2 (NASB) gives us the answer – “May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” God’s grace doesn’t give us a license to sin. Instead, ” . . . sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). God’s grace actually frees us from sin, rather than encouraging us to engage in it. Let’s move beyond common misconception, and believe in the gospel of God’s grace!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

A Glimpse of His Love – Part Three

A Glimpse of His Love - Part ThreeMy understanding of God’s unequaled grace, love, and mercy wasn’t completed over that one trip. To this day, God continues to reveal to me more about the glorious gospel of Christ. The wonder of what Jesus did for us at the cross is so great that no matter how much we may know about it, there always remains more to comprehend.  Though I had a long way to go in understanding the full truth of the new covenant of God’s unmerited favor, the foundation for future revelation had been established.

As time went on, God continued to further reveal to me the good news of what His Son has accomplished. I came to understand how He had never intended for us to live under the burden of guilt and condemnation in the first place, and how the law was our
” . . . tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24, NASB). It was given to show mankind just how sinful they really were, that they would recognize their need for a Savior and turn to Him – rather than their own works – to secure their righteousness. He enabled me to more fully grasp the fact that we are made right with Him through faith (Romans 3:22), not by the works of the law (Galatians 2:16), and that because of Christ, in fact, He no longer remembers our sin (Hebrews 8:12).
I started to apprehend that I was a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and that
” . . . as He is, so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17, NASB). I began to understand that Christ was my new identity.

The truths that God was revealing to me affected more than just my beliefs. They impacted many areas of my life in significant ways. Once I understood how very much He loved me, and that I had right standing with Him because of Jesus, I started hearing God’s voice more clearly and consistently than I had in the past. I began to to view others in a new light – as people dearly loved by Him, and worth much in His eyes. I experienced a new passion for praise and worship, born out of the the change in my life which had started during a worship song.  I fell more in love with my wonderful Savior, who had captured my heart with His grace, and I came to possess a burning desire to share with others the wonderful news that had so impacted my own life. It was this desire that prompted me to start Called and Created. These are the effects the gospel had in my life.

The gospel is not the bad news that God is put out with us because of our wrong doing. It is the GOOD news that Christ took all of our sin upon Himself, that we might receive His place of righteousness before God. It is the truth of the undeserved, unmerited favor that our Heavenly Father has shown us in abundance. It is the power of God for the saving of all who believe (Romans 1:16). God wants you to experience this saving power in your own life. Invite Him to give you a fresh revelation of His love and grace – demonstrated through His Son’s work at the cross – today!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.” 

A Glimpse of His Love – Part One

A Glimpse of His Love - Part OneIt was the first night of a youth retreat. I found myself in an auditorium filled with hundreds of other teens, praising God. That worship session started out quite similarly to the many others I’d experienced back home, only on a much larger scale. Then I heard God whisper to my heart that I needed to understand His love better. Though I didn’t know it yet, those words were to change my life forever.

What did He mean that I needed a better understanding of His love? I’d grown up going to church every Sunday. I’d asked Jesus into my heart at a very young age. I’d been a Christian the majority of my life. Of course I knew that God loved me! In spite of all of this, I was missing something. At the time, I wasn’t even aware of my state of lack. I failed to realize that I had yet to cross the line between religion and relationship, tradition and truth – to come to apprehend the true gospel. I was at a crossroads, and I didn’t even know it.

In response to God’s whisper that I need to better understand His love, I inquired of Him how to do so. A little while later, the worship team began playing a song that was all about God’s love for us. As they did so, a realization of that love – more vividly real, more tangibly alive than I’d ever experienced before – washed over me like a wave. The sheer vastness of it was overwhelming! Jesus gave His very life for me. He wanted me to walk in the freedom His death had purchased for me – to be rid of of such feelings as guilt, condemnation, and shame, which had been rendered unnecessary by His work at the cross. It was all I could do just to take it! Though I didn’t yet understand all that it meant, this glimpse of His love for me personally was the beginning of a total life change. I would never again be the same.

The Purpose of Called and Created

cross What is the purpose of Called and Created? Is it just another site among the millions of others already on the internet?  What sets it apart? What is it aiming to accomplish?

Called and Created is all about sharing what Jesus has done – how “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians  5:21). Our right standing with God is offered as a free gift which we receive through faith. It is “not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is the gospel, the good news of Christ. It is the power of God save all who believe (Romans 1:16). It is what transforms lives.

The significance and life-changing influence of the gospel does not start and finish when an individual receives salvation (though this is the initial and most important step of the journey). It continues on to impact every part of our lives in which we are willing to trust in Jesus’ redemptive work. It accomplishes what our effort and all our own strength is incapable of bringing about. Only when we turn to God, trusting in His grace and mercy, does lasting change takes place.

God longs to reveal the truth of the depth of His love and grace to each of us, daily deepening our understanding of all His Son accomplished on our behalf at the cross. As we experience His boundless affection for us, we are capable of proclaiming the good news of what Christ has done. Called and Created aims to share this good news. This is the purpose of Called and Created.

We are part of His family (called by His name).  As we experience His grace and mercy, we display it to the world around us (created for His glory).  May you realize that you are called and created!