Monday, March 9th
The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:8-12
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9
A new series has begun that examines Christ and the unexpected things he said and did in his ministry while he was here on earth. This week deals with the "unexpected grace" Christ offered to all who would believe in him and follow him. The Psalm of David above is a beautiful expression of God's gracious provision of salvation for sinful mankind through the forgiveness of sin. Salvation has always been a provision of the grace of God that is bestowed on the basis of personal faith in God. In the Old Testament people were forgiven on the basis of faith in God for his promised provision of Grace through the cross of Christ. In the New Testament people are forgiven on the basis of faith in God for his accomplished provision of grace through the cross of Christ.
By the time Christ arrived on the scene God's simple plan of salvation by grace had been twisted into a complicated system of religious works. John 1:14 speaks of Christ's arrival in this way, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." It is no wonder that all that Jesus said and did was so completely unexpected. It was simply a collision between grace and truth on the one hand and works and deception on the other. It seems that gravitating away from truth towards a works system of relating to God is an ongoing dilemma for mankind. How easily we, too, become conditioned toward and caught up in a works orientation toward God. When it first touches our minds and hearts, the simple truth of Ephesians 2 above becomes unexpected good news to us and then sets us free.
Thank you, Lord, for your unfailing love that reaches all the way to my heart and mind with the wonderful gift of forgiveness and salvation in Christ. Cast out all vestiges of religious works in all its deception. Seal to my heart the forever reality that forgiveness and salvation is all your doing because you are infinitely compassionate, merciful, and gracious.
Posted on Mon, March 9, 2015
by Ken Hart