Hello people today I write on Grace Encounters 3, another one from the amazing Arthur Manchez series; Grace Encounters for a new beginning, turning dead ends into a new beginning. May we as Saul encounter the grace of God and be set free never to recover from such an encounter.
If we go through our Christian walk feeling that God is withholding from us then really have not been set free from judgment, if you feel that God has been withholding from you because you have not been good or have not prayed for sometime then you are not really living in the freedom of God’s grace because your feeling of God withholding from you comes from the fear of His judgment.
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
We see from verse 6 above that it is mentions that while were still helpless, some translations like the J B Philips mention it as while we were still sinners, Christ died for us at His Fathers appointed time. So if Jesus did that when we were still sinners then now that we have been justified by Him then what reason have we to fear the wrath of God or to feel as subjects of His judgment? Well the answer is we as believers in Jesus have no reason to fear the wrath of God. If you were to ask, as to what if you’d willfully sin, then too scripture would say have no reason to fear the wrath of God but this does not mean you are free to sin and this has been clearly discussed in Grace Encounters 2, Let us remember how the Apostle Paul puts it in his letter to the Church of Corinth.
2 Corinthians 5:14 (KJV)
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
Constraineth us means to lay siege, like surrounding a city manning the entrances, exits and determining what goes in and come out. In the same way God has lay siege on our hearts as and He determines what goes in and come out, when we put our trust in Him, so the sense of being free to sin is made redundant in Christ.
You may as a person like the Grace Encounter Series by Arthur Manchez but you may be afraid thinking, that if you’d let go then there would be no telling what you would get up to but you must know that fear of punishment never changes your heart but just modifies your behavior. What happens when you don’t have the will power to enforce the restrictions? In such cases then you are going to do what is in your heart. The scary thing about the message of grace and freedom from judgment is that it will expose what is in your heart. You may not like it but when it is exposed you shall realize what is deeply rooted in you, you will then call to God to help you and He will help. God needs you a believer in Jesus not to be afraid of judgment in order to help you with what you have in your heart and this is where grace comes in.
As believers we should never feel that God will withhold from us, judge us or punish us to teach us something. We sometimes feel that God allows harsh situations to enter our lives that we may turn around but this is more like when; picturize this, you are driving down a road and see an accident, you see a lot of police, fire brigades probably and ambulances rushing to the scene. You see this and turn to your co-passenger and say I know who is responsible for all this and you point your finger at the police, fire men and paramedics saying; they are! You may find it totally wacko to analyze the situation in such way but you may say that every time you’ve watch scenes of major accidents, you’ve always found these policemen, fire men and paramedics and so you point fingers at them as the cause of the accident. Similarly when tragedy strikes peoples lives, God shows up and turns things around, our mentally reasoning then associates God as the person to blame for the tragedy. The truth is we bring tragedy upon ourselves from which God latter rescues us, He certainly had no hand in the tragedy that befell.
Let us now read from the book of Isaiah, which speaks so directly on the finished work of Jesus Christ. We as Christians must remember that we cannot teach about judgment without going to the finished work on the cross and we can never teach about the cross without going to the judgment of God.
7 “For a brief moment I forsook you,
But with great compassion I will gather you.
8 “In an outburst of anger
I hid My face from you for a moment,
But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,”
Says the LORD your Redeemer.
9 “For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
When I swore that the waters of Noah
Would not flood the earth again;
So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
Nor will I rebuke you.
10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
Says the LORD who has compassion on you.
Verse 7 in the above scripture is a reflection of Jesus on the cross; on whom God poured His wrath because on the cross sinless as He is, he became the sin of the world & through Christ God gathers His body the Church; with great compassion. In verse 9, Jesus declares here that this cross was like the judgment that was on the world during the days of Noah, Jesus swore then that just as He would never again lets the waters destroy the whole earth, in the same way He swore to us that He would not be wrath with us or rebuke us in anger. Sometimes we find scripture that is contrary to the teaching of grace in the Bible but it does not seem very sensible to reject loads of scriptural evidence pointing to grace and accept a tea cup full of harsh judgment that we think is up on us. God however says to us unless you accept the overwhelming evidence of the grace that is in Christ then only will the tea cup be added to your understanding.
So do this, the next time you see a rainbow thank God for His promise that just as He swore to Noah that He would not destroy the earth with water, the same way, He will never rebuke you in anger or be wrath with you even if you mess up but He will correct you through Biblical scripture.
Let us now move to verse 10, have any of you seen a mountain being removed? Do we remember Mt. St. Helens that departed about 25 years ago? May I stand corrected but the volcano in this mountain was so powerful that it was 4 times more immense that the Hiroshima bomb. Can you even imagine that? However try now and imagine this God says that though you may see destruction and tragedy, His kindness will never depart from you, neither shall His covenant of peace be removed. Do you know what covenant of peace is being spoken of here?
Luke 2:13-14 (birth of Jesus)
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 ” Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
The covenant of peace was Jesus Himself, you ought to remember as that God has made His peace you through Christ but you need to make your peace with Him but continuing to hold on to Jesus.
Isaiah 30:18 (Amplified)
18And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!
The above scripture should be like an anchor you your soul, as I said earlier the book of Isaiah speaks so much on the finished work of Jesus. If you would like to see some feeling of expecting, looking and longing then go to any maternity ward, in the waiting room, you will find people waiting, looking, longing and also restless. The above scripture says that God is waiting, expecting and longing to have as grace encounter with you; he therefore lifts Himself up to look over to you to show you mercy. Mercy is defined as God’s willingness, power and passion to treat us better that we deserve. Remember God is looking and longing to show you love and unmerited favour, you may also see in the above verse that God is a God of justice but this does not means that God cannot show you favour because of your disobedience or actions.
Let us try and understand what this kind of justice means. Before the cross, God’s justice demanded wrath, anger and punishment as penalty but when Jesus came and died on the cross, he became the recipient of God’s wrath, anger and punishment. Over here now in the New Testament, God still remains a God of justice but now His justice demands of Him that He be good to you. God has not changed but His justice now demands that He be good to you in every circumstance because in Jesus your penalty is already all paid for.
Now for the later part we see mentioned in the above scripture that blessed are those who wait on God for His victory/favour/joy/unmatched companionship. We can thus come to conclude that God is looking and longing to be good towards you but His justice entails that you are going to have to expect and long for it. We thus must have an expectation not of judgment but we must have an expectation of good things from Him where we shall with out intention, turn happy, fortunate and envied. What am trying to say is that when our expectations change, we will not need an overnight prayer meeting even to see a break through in our lives.
To conclude, no matter how big or small our needs may be, God is looking expecting and longing to provide for you but you are going to have to expect and long from Him to provide. Hallelujah!!!