Embrace God’s Grace

Embrace God's Grace

Sometimes, in the body of Christ, we get this idea that grace is good and all, but we need to start focusing more on living right, and getting rid of the sin in our lives. In so doing, we can end up pushing off to the side the very news that makes the gospel so good – the fact that we are made right with God not because of the good or bad things we do, but because of what Jesus did for us at the cross.

In Galatians 2:21 Paul says that he does NOT set aside God’s grace, because if we could become righteous through the law, then Jesus died for nothing. Think about it – we often do the very thing that Paul spoke against. We shift all of the focus onto our own actions, and forget all about God’s amazing grace. We think that it’s up to us to keep God’s commands the best that we can, and that His grace us just there to make up for the rest. In so doing, we rob the revelation of grace of much of its amazingness.

If we choose to believe our standing with God is based on what we do, then according to Scripture, Jesus may as well never have given His life for us. The truth, however, is that we NEED God’s grace – every moment of every day. We aren’t perfect. We mess up in more ways than we even realize, and we can never be right with God by trying to do it on our own. When we place our trust in Jesus and His sacrifice on our behalf, however, something wonderful happens – we receive right standing before our Heavenly Father than can never be taken away from us, or in any way debased by anything we do, because it is based not on us, but on our Savior.

Sin is wrong. It shouldn’t be something we want to live in, but the answer isn’t trying harder. The answer is to accept God’s grace, and allow it to transform us, causing us to become more like Him. Will you do so? Instead of setting God’s grace aside, will you embrace it, and let it change you from the inside out?

How the Holy Spirit Convicts

How the Holy Spirit Convicts
One of the things that the Holy Spirit does is to convict. What do you think He convicts us of? All the things we are doing that are wrong? All the mistakes that we make?

John 16:8 tells us what the Holy Spirit convicts of. It says that He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. John 16:9-11 explains further just what this means. These verses paint a very different picture of the Holy Spirit’s role of convicting than we sometimes imagine!

John 16:9 says that He convicts the world of sin because they don’t believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicting of sin doesn’t mean that He points out to us every sin we ever commit. Rather, it means that He convicts those who haven’t accepted Christ of the one sin that will keep them from spending eternity with Him – the sin of not believing in Him.

John 16:10 says that Holy Spirit convicts of righteousness, because Jesus was going to the Father, and therefore we would no longer see Him. Under the new covenant of God’s grace that Christ came to establish, how do we become righteous? Not by always doing the right thing and never messing up, but rather through faith in Jesus (Rom 3:22)! When Jesus returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit was sent to be our Helper (Jn 14:16). Today, Christ is at the Father’s right hand, representing us, and our Helper, the Holy Spirit, convicts of the fact that in Him, we have been made righteous (2 Cor 5:21)!

John 16:11 says that the Holy Spirit convicts of judgment, because the ruler of the world has been judged. Our Savior has disarmed principalities and powers. He triumphed over them at the cross (Col 2:15). In other words, the devil is a defeated foe, and the Holy Spirit reminds us of that!

This is how the Holy Spirit convicts! He points people towards faith in Christ, He helps us to understand that we have been made righteous, and He reminds us that the enemy has been defeated! How wonderful God is to have sent us such a Helper!

Definitions of Words Christians Use

def

Maybe you’ve heard these words used over and over by other believers, and used them often enough yourself, but have you ever wondered what they really mean? If asked to explain them, what would you say? Check out these definitions of some of the words Christians often use!

Salvation – Salvation is Jesus saving us from our sins, and the punishment that goes with them. It is a free gift from God that allows us to have a relationship with Him. Because salvation is a free gift, there’s nothing we can do to earn it. All we need to do is receive it!

Redemption – We have been redeemed. In other words, God paid a price for us so that we could be His. That price was the life of His Son, whom He sent to save us.

Righteousness – Jesus took our place of sin so that we could take His place of right standing with God. Jesus lived the perfect life for us that we could never live. If we accept Him as our Savior, God sees us as if we were as perfect as He is. Jesus took care of the things we have done wrong, so that there is no longer anything standing between us and God!

Justification –  Jesus took our place, and gave His life for us, receiving the punishment that should have been ours. Because of this, God, the ultimate Judge, declares that we are blameless!

Grace – Grace means that instead of giving us the punishment we do deserve, God gives us what we don’t deserve – a relationship with Him, and all of His blessings (such as life, health, provision, peace, and joy)!

As He Is, So Are You!

As He Is, So Are You!This week’s memory verse from Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is 1 John 4:17. This verse says that as Jesus is, so are we – that in this world, we are like Him!

When we look at ourselves, we see our mistakes, our failures, and our imperfections. When God looks at us, He sees the righteousness and perfection of His Son covering us. You are not who you once were! You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are in Christ. He is your new identity!

As Jesus is, so are you! As He is accepted by God, so are you! As He is loved by the Father, so are you! As He is in perfect right standing before the Most High, so are you! As He is free from sickness, fear, depression, discouragement, despair, and anxiety at God’s right hand, so are you!This freedom is available to you for the taking – receive it!

Begin to view yourself in this light. See yourself as God sees you. Find your identity in Christ!

Live In His Grace

Live In His GraceWeek 30 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearly finished. This week’s reading was 2 Corinthians 11-13, and Galatians 1-2. These chapters finish one of Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth, and begin his letter to the church at Galatia.

In Galatians 1:6-7, Paul expresses astonishment at the church of Galatia so quickly deserting he who called them to live in the grace of Christ, and turning to a different gospel, which was really no gospel at all.

We have been called to live in the grace of Christ, but how often do we turn from His grace, and try to become right with God through the law – by obedience to His commandments – instead of accepting righteousness as a free gift, as God intended it? No matter how hard we try, we can never be good enough to gain right standing before God through our actions. God knows that we can’t do it on our own, which is why He wants us to live under the new covenant of His grace.

In Galatians 2:21, Paul says that he will not set aside God’s grace, for if we could gain righteousness by the law, then Christ died for nothing. In other words, if we can be good enough on our own to earn right standing before God, then there was no reason for Christ to die for us. Don’t set aside the grace of God! You were saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5). Continue to live in it!

New Creation, Reconciliation, and Right Standing Before God

New Creation, Reconciliation, and Right Standing Before GodWeek 28 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearing its end. This week’s reading was 2 Corinthians 1-5. These chapters begin another of Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 contains some amazing truths! These verses tell us that:

 

 

  • We are in Christ (v. 17). As believers, our identity is found in Him!
  • If we are in Christ, we are a new creation – the old has past, and the new has come (v. 17)! We are not who we once were. We have been made new.
  • We have been reconciled to God through Christ (v. 18-19). Because of what Jesus has done for us, there’s no longer anything standing between us and God. If we have accepted God’s gift of salvation, we have become His children, and He is our Heavenly Father!
  • We have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation (v. 18-19). This is the message that we are to share – not that God is ready and waiting to rain down judgement for every mistake we make, but that because of Christ’s finished work, He no longer holds our sins against, and we can be reconciled to Him.
  • God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God (v. 21). At the cross, He took our place of sin, that we might take His place of right standing before God!

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 is full of wonderful truths for us, as believers! May God use these verses to reveal to you who you in Christ more clearly than ever before!

Trust In What Christ Has Done

Trust In What Christ Has Done

Week 24 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is drawing to a close. This week’s reading was Romans 13-16, and
1 Corinthians 1. These chapters finish Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, and begin one of his epistles to the church at Corinth.

1 Corinthians 1:30 says that Christ has become for us wisdom from God – our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.

We are in Christ. Our identity is found in Him. Our relationship with God, and our standing before Him, is based not off of anything that we have done. It is based off of what Christ has done for us. God doesn’t accept us because we have done enough good things, or are good enough people. He welcomes us as His children because we believe in His Son, who gave His life for us.

Our righteousness and holiness don’t come from ourselves. We haven’t done anything to earn our own redemption. Christ is our righteousness. He is our holiness. In Him is our redemption. Let’s learn to trust in what He has done for us, rather than our own efforts, in our relationship with God!

Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Not Ashamed of the GospelWeek 21 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearly finished. This week’s reading was Acts 26-28, and Romans 1-2. Acts 26-28 speaks mainly of Paul defending himself before King Agrippa, him sailing for Rome and getting shipwrecked on the island of Malta, his arrival in Rome, and him speaking to the Jewish leaders there.
In Romans 1-2, we read the beginning of Paul’s epistle to the Roman church.

In Romans 1:16, Paul declares that he is not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the saving of all who believe. How many of us can honestly say the same thing? How many of us are unashamed to proclaim the gospel boldly when the occasion calls for it? In society today, a willingness to share what Christ has done is becoming more and more rare, yet more and more needed. Someone simply must tell this generation the good news!

What is this good news? What is it that we are to proclaim? Romans 1:17 answers this question. It states that the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel – a righteousness that is by faith. This world needs to know that the way to gain acceptance before God is not through being a good person, or performing good deeds. It is through faith in Christ alone. We can’t be made right with God through our own efforts. We can only become right with Him by trusting in Jesus’ righteousness, set to our account. This is the good news we must share!

Know that you have been made right with God through faith in Christ, and share the good news with others, as God gives you the opportunity. Never be ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the saving of all who believe!

Paul’s Secret

Paul's SecretWeek 20 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearing its end. This week’s reading was Acts 21-25. These chapters speak mainly of Paul, of his arrest, him speaking to the crowds, a plot against him, and charges being brought against him.

In Acts 21:10-13, Paul was warned by a prophet that he would be arrested in Jerusalem. The people pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Paul responded by stating that he was ready not only to be bound, but to die in Jerusalem for Jesus’ name. What made Paul, a former persecutor of all who believed in Christ, now willing to risk his life to bring His name to others? What caused him to change direction so completely? What was his secret?

In Philippians 3:7-11, we find our answer. In these verses, Paul declares that he considers all things a loss compared to knowing Christ. He considers them garbage, that he may be found in Christ, having not a righteousness that came through the law, but a righteousness that is based on faith in Christ.

As these verses express, Paul understood that right standing before God isn’t based upon keeping His commandments. It’s based upon having faith in Christ, who kept them for us, and gave His life for our sins. Because our right standing before God is dependent not our imperfect selves, but on the One who truly is perfect, our righteousness is forever secure.

When we truly begin to understand this, something amazing happens. We go from religion to relationship. We go from head knowledge to heart knowledge. We go from an acknowledged belief in Christ to a living, vibrant, active faith in Him. This revelation of righteousness through faith in Christ made Paul willing to face imprisonment for the sake of His name. God desires for each of us to catch this revelation. I challenge you to ask God to reveal to you His grace, and the truths of the gospel, in a great way every single day.

Robe of Righteousness

Robe Of RighteousnessImagine waking up to a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground, carpeting it in a layer of white. Everywhere you look, everything appears clean and bright. No matter how dreary and dismal your surroundings usually look, the powdery mantle lends an air of freshness to all it touches.

Just as the snow covers everything upon which it falls with its dazzling beauty, our Heavenly Father has clothed us in a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). It is through the lens of this righteousness that He views us. When you look at the snow, you don’t see the ground it covers, but rather its fresh brilliance. In the same way, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our wrongdoings and failures. He sees us as new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), clothed with His righteousness, which we received through faith in Him (Romans 3:22).

Next time you see a new blanket of snow covering the ground, think of the robe of righteousness with which your Heavenly Father has arrayed you. Remember how He sees you – perfected once and for all in Christ (Hebrews 10:14). Know that you have been made right with God through faith in His Son, and what He has done for you!

Linked up to Thriving Thursdays