November 15, 2012

Astonishing Grace: A King's Ransom

A short post on the grace of Almighty God.

Grace is the glorious attribute by which God sets himself to triumph over the greatest evil that can ever be. It is in grace He sets Himself forever over sin. Even if there is something worse than the devil could not triumph over His grace. Why? All things in the Creation are created by God and are therefore creations of the Creator, therefore limited, finite. Grace comes from an infinite God. 

There is more size, height and depth or any dimension for that matter in Christ than there are sufferings, evil or misery in all of Creation. Creation is limited, the Creator is not, therefore His grace would trump the greatest, biggest, nastiest and most unrighteous things that the Creation could throw at Him. He could brush it away with the sweep of His anthropomorphic hand.

It is in God's grace that we see the most pitted resistance by the evil of the Powers and Principalities. It is why we see such potent and vicious resistance in the religions that contain works. Religions that have works mixed with grace. This is because man's heart in its natural state is pitted and resistant to God and the idea of grace from Him. Man's heart is enmity or hostile to God (Romans 8:7). Man's mindset and wicked men in general will themselves up against grace. Everything in us strains against the idea of it even when we really want to accept it as obedient Christians. Surely there must be something we can do to gain better standing with God. Yet by thinking this do we not realize that it assumes God did not do enough already on the Cross? There is no better a place to see God's grace on display than at the Cross. Why would we as flawed creatures think we could add anything of value to what God has already done? Only a sinful and fallen mind would fall into this frame of mind. A frame of mind that is crooked or corrupt. 

Like I said, when we are in our natural state, we are pitted against God and the idea of grace.

The more we need, the more we get, yet we are not to abuse it by sinning purposely. The nature of the Spirit within us that is full of grace will not allow it without leaving us feeling horrid about it. Oil and water do not mix, nor grace and sin. One forces the other out or displaces it. By allowing the displacement of grace with sin the Spirit is forced out also. Alternately, the more grace that is allowed the more the Spirit therein dwells.

It therefore behooves us to focus in primarily on grace and should make us wish to vindicate the idea of grace. It is the religions of works that are so cleverly disguised as "true" religions because they play to our main weakness: Pride. Pride makes us think way higher of ourselves that we ought. We still believe there is something of merit in us even after the Fall and having had our sinful nature so obviously shown to us.

It just isn't true people. This is why the leap from works to grace is so difficult. We get in the way of ourselves. We want to do the work of the Father but in terms of Salvation...there is just nothing left to do. It has been done already. Sure, go out and help the poor, the downtrodden, the widows and orphans but please, don't think you can add to the works of Christ. If God is perfect (and He is) He would've most certainly had a perfect plan to exonerate and free the captives of sin...perfectly. No need for a repeat. It is finished!

When we try to add anything we are dangerously encroaching on the territory reserved for God and aligning ourselves with the enemies of God and the adversaries to the grace of God.

So in our behavior let us vindicate grace in all occasions by showing it is not from us. For as Paul said, we are to be the Letters of Recommendation for Christianity and Christ and the grace He has shown us by going out and doing the same to others. Why? To show the confidence we have through Jesus Christ that sits at the right hand of God. To show that our competence, righteousness and salvation comes from God. In His Spirit we have life. We need to live by grace, and we must die by grace and stand at the day of judgement by grace...which is from God, not us. It is not in our own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ, being found in him but given to us as a gift to free us from our own stupidity and sin.

In the end, the devil can try to aggravate our conscience as much as he likes. He can try to jam our sins back in our faces again and again making us think there is something we need to do other than believe. It just isn't true even though many have been fooled into believing otherwise. In the contrary, if we set God’s mercy against even the gravest of sins that we have committed, they are still only sins of a finite creature against the grace of an infinite God. 

In God’s infinite mercy…at the end of the day, no sin can stand opposed to it. Grace will consume it like light consumes darkness, like fire consumes straw.

Thank God for His grace. It is astonishing to this sinful creature (me) that He would bestow this wonderful and amazing gift on me. A lowly creature so undeserving of such a prize. A priceless hope of such immense wealth that none can fully comprehend it in its full magnitude as we are only finite creatures.

So for our salvation it is a ransom or release that cost the King's ransom to gain it, yet it is given freely by the King in grace.

Romans 3:23-24 ~ "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

Mark 10:45 ~ "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

But be warned, God's grace is not infinite. As R.C. Sproul said in his book The Holiness of God:

“God’s grace is not infinite. God is infinite, and God is gracious. We experience the grace of an infinite God, but grace is not infinite. God sets limits to His patience and forbearance. He warns us over and over again that someday the ax will fall and His judgment will be poured out.”

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