Posts tagged ‘Grace’

Vital Salvation

Salvation is foundational. Among Christians today there is a conflict about what that is, though! Some teach ‘universal salvation’, which states that, when Jesus died, everyone everywhere at all times was saved. This conflicts with those who hold that everyone must make a decision and accept Jesus as their personal Saviour to gain eternal life in heaven.

To start with what we know, God’s grace is bestowed on everyone in this life. (A)

So God acts like God, Who is love, because that is what God does. This is grace.

The Bible makes it clear, however, that not everyone is saved. (B) So how can both be true?

Grace is unconditional, being the activity of God alone.

Salvation, on the other hand, is a covenant between a person and God. If a person refuses to sign on to the covenant (like a contract), then salvation is on hold and the conditions are not in force.

While the blessing is readily available to anyone (C), not everyone will accept the conditions Almighty God sets forward. (D)

God calls everyone from the cross. Each person has the choice for life with the Saviour here and in the hereafter, or not.

Bible References
(A) “But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45 God’s Word Translation©).

(B) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who does what my Father in heaven wants. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we force out demons and do many miracles by the power and authority of your name?’ Then I will tell them publicly, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you evil people’ ” (Matthew 7:21-23 God’s Word Translation©).

(C) “The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act” (2 Peter 3:9 God’s Word Translation©).

(D) Such as “all of you must serve each other with humility, because God opposes the arrogant but favors the humble. Be humbled by God’s power so that when the right time comes he will honor you” (1 Peter 5:5b-6 God’s Word Translation©), and “I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other” (John 13:34-35 God’s Word Translation©).

Who Has Bewitched You?

Since our assembling has been cancelled for awhile all over the world, I decided to write out some notes for the adult Bible study I teach which was to happen this Sunday morning. Then I felt led to share it with you. May God bless you through The Spirit, whether or not I live up to expectations.

“You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you…? (Galatians 3:1).

Paul writes to believers. Clearly believers can be deceived and led away. (Read Pilgrim’s Progress for an extended study on this issue.)

An important spiritual discipline is discernment. Consider 1 John 3:1-3, for example. (“…test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world…”)

Why do we fall for deceptions?

We are tempted when anyone teaches we will be rewarded for what we do. FALSE (Grace means God rewards us because that is what God does.)

We are tempted when anyone teaches we need to help God get things done. FALSE (Grace means God works through us, all glory to God.)

We are tempted when anyone teaches that God is incomplete, evolving, reacting to our needs. (Grace means God is complete and reliable, Who knows our ‘needs’ before we even ask, and so God is already filling our ‘needs’ and is not surprised by our intercessions or requests.)

We are tempted when anyone teaches that we can figure things out, like arithmetic to calculate our bank account, or systematic theology which describes what God is really like in human terms. (Grace means God’s ways are not our ways. “Greeks [secular thinkers, in our terms] demand knowledge and Jews [spiritual practitioners, in our terms] demands signs [and wonders]. But we preach Jesus crucified and risen, a joke to the philosophers and a blasphemy to the religious people.”

If all you focus on is Jesus and the cross, if the Bible is your only filter to read religious writings, and if The Spirit is the only unquestionable guide on your journey, you are situated to resist the deceivers.

Mosquito Message

mosquitoThis past weekend the mosquitoes were active in large numbers. Since it has been very dry, with less than half our usual rainfall, I was watering our gardens. Read more…

7 Words Ringing

I was in a small American town to visit some friends. The pastor (though I didn’t know he was) tested my faith fairly strongly. Read more…

Cheap Grace

This reminder of real faith needs to be attended to and lived.

The Good News

Perspectives on grace from Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship):
Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without…

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Then and Now

Every once in awhile I am struck by how kind God is – to me. I think of how my life compares now to that of my childhood. Read more…

More Than Mere Words

Good old words that the Church uses no longer carry a deep meaning in our time and culture. Grace, justification, sanctification, love of God and even church ring hollow. Read more…

Religious Secret: I Am Not The Light

I’ve always been a rule-keeper and analyser with a touch of intellectualism. So keeping God’s laws has never seemed a burden; it is just the way things should be done in my mind. Read more…

A Real Jesus Encounter

Even when I fail, sin, or go astray I do not experience anger from Jesus. That is hard to grasp. Read more…

Oxymoron

Oxymoron is a neat word. From two Greek words meaning “chaff” and “foolish” it pretty much means worthless nonsense.

Here’s some oxymorons that struck me today: Read more…