A personal walk with God and stuff learned on the way

Posts tagged ‘Grace’

All things are possible

Christians will often tell you that God speaks to them through the Bible and there are times when a familiar passage has brought new meaning to them at a specific time.  Even though they have read it before, for some reason, one day, it has new meaning and the words leap off the page.

Every believer has had this happen to them at some time or another.

A recent example for me was the following verse from Mark 10.

 “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

I understood this to mean that, while men are limited, God is not. When we are unable, God is able. He holds the world in His hands and He can do anything he wants when he wants. This is similar to another passage in Jeremiah.

“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17

Recently, however, I read this in a different light.  Although we are unable to do many things on our own, when God is with us, we can do anything God requires of us, like in Philippians 4

 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Phil 4:13

This means that God’s grace working in us can empower us to do what we would be incapable to do without Him.

2 Cor 4:7 describes us as ordinary jars of clay jars with an extraordinary treasure inside. We can go beyond our natural strengths because God is working in us. Bible history is filled with examples of those who were weak in themselves, but when God got hold of them, they became fearless and capable:  Paul, Moses, Peter, Gideon, Samson, David and Solomon are just a few. I have also found that God won’t move on our behalf until we ask Him in.  He will let us wear ourselves out until we get to the point where we are at the end of ourselves.  In my experience it’s better for me if I admit that early on and ask for God to help me before I become unstuck!  The power available to the greats of the Bible is available for us if we ask Him, but we need to ask Him.

With God, all things are possible.

Not by works

As Christians it is important for us to see things the way God sees them.  This can be difficult for us when God’s ways differ from those of the world and what we are used to seeing around us.  For example, when someone commits a crime and goes to prison, there is an expectation that they must be rehabilitated before they can be let out again. In short, they have shown to have changed their ways and can be trusted not to re-offend. They have to show they can go back to being a productive member of society.

In the Christian life when we sin, we are required to admit to God that we’ve done wrong, ask for forgiveness and do an about-turn in our attitude and behaviour. However at this point we can often get off-track because our thinking is rooted in the world’s system and not in God’s economy.

1. Repentance is a gift from God

Rom 2: 4 God’s kindness leads you toward repentance

God is so good to us that it is He who opens the door for us to come back to Him after we have done wrong.  He wants to be in relationship with us and so the sense of sorrow and regret that brings us back is from God. He is drawing us back into fellowship with Him.

2. We cannot stay on the straight and narrow on our own

Work out and fully complete your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling, self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience and watchfulness against temptation; Not in your own strength, for it is God Who is all the while at work in you, creating in you the power and desire, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (taken from Phil 2:12-13)

Doing an about-turn when we realise we have wronged God is our part, but without God’s abundant grace and enabling working in us we can be sure we cannot keep from going back to do the same thing again. This is SO important for us to understand. We CANNOT live the Christian life without repeatedly relying on God’s help to keep us from falling.

 3. (This is the most important one) We don’t have to “work our way” back into God’s good graces

 Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Here’s the thing. Forgiveness is just that. It isn’t parole or probation like in the world’s system. We’re not let out on good behaviour. We don’t have to earn the right to get back in with God before He can accept us. He already DOES accept us. Repentance must be genuine and we need to rely on God constantly to help us stay away from our natural weaknesses having the run in our lives, but afterwards we don’t have to work to get back in with God – like a penance – Jesus death was the end of all that. Trying to get out of the dog house by being a better person is like trying to earn your salvation. It can’t be done and God won’t let you succeed! The way we are saved is the way we live the life that God wants – by grace.

Accept God’s gift of grace and forgiveness

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