Posts tagged ‘saved by grace’

Not Just Recipients of Grace but Agents of Grace!

Rev 22:17
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

John 4:13-14
13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The true believer is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, by whose sacrifice the anger of God against him/her as a sinner is quenched, while the rebellion in the sinner is doused, conforming the sinner to the image/nature/character of Almighty God in which he/she was made. In Christ, we are a new creation, that old Adamic nature withers away while a new nature (of Christ) germinates in us occupying more and more of us each passing day. We aren’t just called unto Christ for our salvation, we are also called to reflect Christ to those around us, which is why the second greatest commandment after loving God with all our strength is to love our neighbour as we love our selves. Take a look at the above verses, it helps you see that Christ is so influential in breathing life into the lives of His elect that we can’t help but continually seek Him and in doing so we become more and more Christlike each day.

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Mat 5:14-16
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

I have quoted another set of verses for you to help you see that Jesus rubs off on the believer. If there’s one thing I have noticed in a heresy or cult is that it thrives simply because of the people’s sloth in not genuinely seeking the Lord. In most cults like Roman Catholicism and the Charismatic Movement, only about 10% of them know their Bibles from cover to cover, and among those ten a good majority have neither the guts nor the gumption to question their pastors/priests on the cherry-picked Christianity they have been teaching and move out of there. Most of such congregations, are more concerned about themselves than seeking the Lord, so while in the world they remain Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers and Managers, their knowledge of the Lord is shoddy because they don’t know their Bible as well as they know their worldly studies, which goes to show they do not rely on the Lord for their sustenance. These people therefore remain within these cults/heresies as they don’t know any better and frankly speaking, they don’t really care because the reality with a majority of them including their priests & pastors is that these people are only doing what they are doing to serve themselves and not unto serving the Lord.

John 13:34
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Mat 25:40
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

The Bible says that life is in the blood, and blood is what makes family but as spiritual descendants of Abraham through the promised seed that is Christ (Gal 3:16), the family that is established in sharing of Jesus’ Holy Spirit is of much greater value than a family established by blood, for two reasons as I see it. One because, a family established by blood lies still in Adam where each member primarily serves himself from the fall, in the family of Christ however, every member learns to put Christ first & love their neighbours as themselves. Second because, the life that is in the blood is perishable but the life we have in the Spirit of Christ is immortal. Therefore as Christians in fellowship, we do more than just reflecting Christ to the world, we actually reflect Christ to each other, making His presence known to our brothers and sisters in Jesus (Jn 13:34) who can appreciate and digest that is spiritually appraised. As children restored to God through Jesus Christ we are called to be conduits of His blessing in the lives of our brothers/sisters.

Mat 5
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jude 1
22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

2 Cor 8
6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

I would like to conclude this post by citing the above verse in Mat 5:44, 45, 48 which shows us that we who have received the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, do so only to become bearers of grace to the elect and to the reprobate in the context of Jude 1:23 as unto serving the Lord & not in the context of sucking up to the world to serve our own sick interest, because the grace of God we exhibit unto others testifies of the salvation that God is working in us (Phil 1:3-6) while proving our love for the Lord to be genuine (2Cor 8:8). For as Rom 8:30 says those whom God predestined, He also justified and glorified but why would God do so… because He predestines us to conform with the Image/nature of His Son as explained in Roman 8:28, which takes us from being recipients of grace to being agents of grace, not by our own capacity surely but by the power of the Triune God Almighty who saves.

The Glory of the Good we do belongs to GOD (not us).

Eph 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

From the fall, man in receiving to himself a righteousness of self, is a law to himself and a god to himself. It is no wonder that a natural man’s attitude is indifferent towards God owing to that fallen need to serve himself in everything he does. Hence, fallen man has made the pursuit of serving himself as the chief end of his life, a wicked end justified no doubt by the most devious means because the truth is that man is no God and so his self-centered pursuit of life is nothing short of dastardly. Even when he does something good, it is with the motive of serving his own interest, so there is never anything that is genuinely good that comes out of man because man doesn’t believe God is God, man on the contrary feels that he is god and that is why he rejects the truth about God because he sees no point in serving God’s interest over his own.

Mat 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Luke 17:10
So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.

The other day I called Amazon to thank the advisor, whom I had fired the previous day because of the delay in delivery of my order. The advisor escalated my complaint and my order was delivered the very next day. I thought it would please God to display some neighbourly love by calling Amazon and appreciating that advisor for being patient with me and doing his job. So, I passed on a note of appreciation to his colleague over the phone and through an email feedback form as well. When I had finished the call, I felt almost in the 7th heaven (figurative) for doing this but I soon realized that the glory of the good I do belongs to God and was not for me to wallow in and delight in concerning how good I am myself. This incident brought me to write on this subject that the glory of the good we do belongs not to us but to God.

Mat 10:42
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.

Mat 6:5
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward.

True religion is about pleasing God and serving His interest, for hypocrites however, religion is all about pleasing people and serving their own interest. So, just as there is such a thing as temporal blessing, we ought to understand that these hypocrites who do good to serve their own interest and rewarded in full here on earth itself, where their every blessing is susceptible to the destruction/corruption of moth and vermin, possibly reflecting their own spiritual condition before God. I once attended a Bible study in Mumbai where a UK national asked this question: “Is it ok to serve God out of the desire of being rewarded?”, I then happened to understand that the fall of Adam is so ingrained in people that many Seek the Lord out of covetousness, & these people wish to serve the Lord with the intention of actually serving themselves. Indeed, God is no man’s debtor (Rom 11:33-35) and he will pay us back according to our deeds but Salvation is when we have the mind of Christ and God’s interest become our interests (Ps 37:4).

Mat 6:19-21
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We must understand that the power to covert the heart, is of God (Ezek 36:26-27), we know that God does not look at outward appearance but at the heart (1Sam 16:7). Also, the Bible teaches us that life is in the blood, so figuratively the heart which pumps the blood in our bodies is seen as the source of our being. Therefore, the evil thoughts and actions that proceeds from the heart of natural man (Mat 15:18), shows he is corrupt at the very source of his being. However, since God has the power to covert the heart, when He looks at a regenerated soul, what God is look at or looking for is His own handiwork within us (Phil 1:6) and there is none can thwart (Job 42:2) His mighty saving right arm i.e. His Son Jesus Christ (Ps 98:1).

Jer 31:33 (in the context of Eph 2:11-16)
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

To conclude, we can never freely obey God unless we are brought to desire it and enjoy it, which is what God brings about in His people. He gives us all a heart that seeks after Him and prizes Him over everything else in our lives (Mat 13:45-46). Out of the this regenerated heart flows our actions and intentions, which are God’s handiwork and for His own glory, making evident that His elect are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) because the glory belongs all to the Triune God Almighty for our Salvation.

Christ and the Law

It is considered by many Christians today that believing in Jesus Christ means that you are free from the Law. People like to quote Romans 6:14 and John 1:17 to show that the Law does not apply to believing Christians. They say Christian life is a standard higher than the Law. Well, it must be understood that there are two aspects of the Law i.e. the physical and the spiritual/moral. Now the Bible says that if one keeps the physical aspect and yet transgresses the spiritual aspect of the Law, he still transgresses the Law but he who does not keep the physical aspect of the Law and yet maintains himself in the spiritual aspect of the Law, he keeps the Law.

Romans 2
25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

The Law therefore seen is Spiritual (Romans 7:14) and all hangs on two commandments, it is to first love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and secondly to love your neighbor (even it is your enemy) as you love yourself (Luke 10:27). It must be understood that the law that came to a close in Romans 10:4 was the law, the physical aspect which people used to establish their own self righteousness. Gal 3:24 says that it is the Law that leads us to Christ because the Law makes people realize the dreadfulness of sin (Romans 7:7) and convicts them (James 2:9) that they may be brought to repentance… back to Christ. As His Church is the believing body that is susceptible to sin, the reason a Christian has been brought to the terms of facing his sin, is because the Law is written on his heart (Romans 2:15) and so he keeps the Law and is judged by the Law (Romans 2:12) but his faith in Christ has made the curse of the Law fall on Him who was the atonement sacrifice of all the sin of His people (Gal 3:10, 13).

There was a time I felt that the grace by which I was saved was grace that gave me freedom from the Law but I have now come to realize that that is certainly not the case. In fact it is by His moral Law (Romans 6:16-18) which has been imputed in me by His Spirit that I realize that the grace I have received is not one that gives me freedom to sin (Romans 6:15). The Law is perfect (Psalms 19:7), nothing which is perfect can get any better. If I am called to love my neighbor as I love myself, then I am automatically called to never covet, steal or murder against my neighbor. The way I had come to receive the grace of Christ, was a way that was lawless, a blasphemy against Christ Himself. This I have seen as my sin, for in loving Christ, I am called to obey His commandments.

John 15:10 (Jesus’ word)
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Now here is an interesting thought in John 15:10, as per reformed theological study Jesus Christ is referred to as the Second Adam. You see both Adam and Christ were subject to the commandments of God. Adam was created perfect (un-fallen) while Christ did not inherit original sin as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. Both Adam and Christ were representatives of a people, while Adam represented all mankind, Christ represented the Church. Both were subject to the Covenant of Life i.e. the Salvation of the people they represented that depended on their works in obedience to God. It must be seen that this testing was only for a certain period of time; else the term ‘eternal life’ would not have existed. It was a famous theologian who said: In Christ, the sons of Adam boast of more blessing than their father lost. So if any racial distinctions are ever to be drawn, it is those who were represented by Christ who are superior and this is grace that he who is saved is saved by the merit of Christ and not himself. For by himself, his fallen nature is inherent from Adam.

The Bible does say that man is not justified by the Law and even where there is no Law, people perish (Romans 2:12). It is right that man is justified by faith in Christ but the grace that we receive in Christ extends to receiving the Holy Spirit, who fulfills in us the requirements of the Law (Romans 8:4). Though it says in 1Cor 15:56 that the power of sin is in the law it should never be considered that the Law is Sin (Romans 7:7) for a person comes to terms with the power of sin through the Law (Spiritual) besides 1John 3:4 refers to sin as lawlessness.

Matthew 5:18 (Jesus’ word)
18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Atonement was accomplished on the cross (John 19:30), while the Salvation of the Church is being accomplished in the furnace of trial and affliction, suffering for Christ sake (Phil 1:29) by believers all over the world (1Peter 5:9). On the other hand the sin playing out of a person’s lust accomplishes death (James 1:15) for the reprobate as it incurs the wrath of God (Jeremiah 30:23-24). So we see that His Law shall remain till His Salvation is accomplished for every elect and His wrath accomplished for every deemed reprobate.

There are many religions and cultures around the world who claims to adhere to strict regulations but when you step out into their streets and public places, their nature of rebellion against the spiritual Law of God sticks out like a sore thumb but these will surely receive His justice and even those whose acknowledgement of His Lordship is nothing more than lip service (Mat 15:8) and outward displays these will also be deemed under the same lawlessness.

Matthew 7
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

%d bloggers like this: