It really is amazing

Selwyn draws our attention too the last words of the Bible, Revelation 22:21 (NIV): ‘The (amazing) grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.’

He writes:Doesn’t it strike you as fascinating that the last word in the Bible is a word about grace? And, so it should be, for it is not only the first word in everything but the last word also. Nothing is greater than grace. … Christians are amazed by grace. Though we may not realise it all the time, that is what we all thirst for. And when it is seen – not just sung – then all the world will fall silent before it (Jesus). It’s amazing. Utterly amazing.”

It’s amazing for us, as followers of Jesus, because we fully realise that our fantastic eternal life with Jesus is a free gift; fully paid for, by our loving God – who was willing to die for us, while we were still sinners. Amazing!

The gift we needed most

We are coming to the end of this study on the theme of God’s grace. I think that we can only partly comprehend the scope of God’s gift to humanity.

The verses (as follows) selected for reading and meditation, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (NIV), provide a framework for our response to receiving His amazing gift.

… Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to (spiritually) bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

I think the highlighted parts – speak for themselves!

Grace comes with everything

Over the last few days, Selwyn has been taking about falling into a performance trap – the trap of thinking that you must always do something to be accepted by God. As Selwyn states – it’s Satan’s bait of pride that leads people into this powerful trap.

He goes on to say: “If you have to come to the point where you are depending more on your own resources to run your life than on the grace God gives, it is time for an act of repentance.” His prayer for today, provides a way to take the first step of repentance: “O God, I confess my instinct is to do something to earn Your love. Forgive me for harbouring it. I turn from all thoughts of trying to earn Your approval to rejoicing in the fact I already have it. Thank You, my Father. Amen.”

I don’t have much to say about today’s study.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Superbounding grace

I liked Selwyn’s conclusion: “(We should) … begin each day with thoughts of love rather than defeat, to awake to grace not shame; to face every situation in the confidence that we can fail without losing our relationship with our heavenly Father. I assure you that if you walk in the knowledge of that, it will enable you to fail less.”

The other aspect, which I liked – are these verses from those set for reading and meditation (Romans 5:15b-19, NIV): ” … For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!  Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

So, doesn’t that make you want to jump for joy – God’s grace is far greater than all sin?

‘An altogether Christian’

I thought that today’s study highlights a beautiful truth.

It centres on this verse, Galatians 4:7 (NIV): “So you are no longer a slave, but a son (or daughter); and since you are a son/daughter, God has made you also an heir.”

Selwyn writes: “It is true, of course, that we are called God’s servants in Scripture, and that cannot be denied, but when it comes to describing the relationship as opposed to the role, the best word to use ‘son’, ‘daughter’ or ‘child’.

A servant is appreciated on the basis of what he or she does; a child on the basis of who he/she is. The servant starts out determined to please the master; the child knows he already has his parents’ pleasure. The servant is accepted because of his workmanship; the child because of a relationship. …

Always remember, your role may be that of a servant but your relationship is that of a child.”

Our relationship is that of a loved child of our Father; but we are still required to develop a level of maturity in this relationship. Young Christians often have an attitude of a demanding child who expects Jesus to give them everything; whereas, we should (through the power of the Holy Spirit) develop an interest in our Father’s business and seek to devote our energies in working in His harvest field, according to His priorities (not ours).

Do you agree?

Who holds who?

Selwyn writes in today’s study: “Nothing in you can extinguish God’s love and nothing in you can increase it. … The Christian life is not a matter of trying (to earn God’s love) but trusting  – trusting that the grace by which we’re saved is powerful enough to sustain us. … It is not a case of needing to hold on to God but of letting Him hold us.”

Jude is perhaps a book, that we know about but don’t spend a lot of time meditating on the content.

These following verses, are great (17-25, NIV): “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you,In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

To Jesus, who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

In summary, the decision to let God hold us, involves letting go of our natural drive to be independent, and often that action can only happen with God’s help.

‘The tyranny of the oughts’

Another good study: today, Selwyn looks at some of the signs that Christians are caught up in the performance trap?

He lists them as follows:

  1. “A never-ending battle with … the feeling that one ought always to be trying hard to please God and, however hard the effort, that one ought always to try harder.
  2. An over whelming sense of guilt and condemnation.
  3. A high degree of anxiety.
  4. A sense of low esteem from constantly belittling oneself.
  5. Repression of the emotions; and
  6. a spirit of legalism resulting from an oversensitive conscience.”

Selwyn goes onto say: “At the heart of the performance trap is a diabolical lie that our spiritual life depends entirely on how we perform. … God does not delight in you for what you do but for who you are, a child of His grace.”

I like these three verses from today’s set text, Paul’s letter to the Galatians 5:4-6 (NIV): You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

The last verse, is simply amazing – it summarises a lot of what Selwyn has been talking about in this issue. It’s a good verse to remember and keep in our heart as we go about our daily activities.

In regards to point 2. above – Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:1-2, we read: “Now, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” What does it say to Jesus, when you go around still feeling a sense of guilt and condemnation – after, what He has sacrificed for you. Are you trying to tell Him that the price He paid for your freedom – wasn’t enough?

One way to counter the worst aspects of the performance trap – is to meditate upon God’s majesty and sovereignty – His power is made perfect, despite our weaknesses.

What’s your view on this?