Christianity 201

December 25, 2016

Rejoice, O World! Rejoice! A Savior Has Been Born!

by Russell Young

Today is Christmas! It is a celebration of the revelation of God’s grace and mercy to humankind. For millennia the human condition had been one that had brought grief to the Creator through the rebellion and intransigent hearts (Gen 6:6) of those whom he had created for his good pleasure and purpose. The mandate of the One born as a baby was to rescue or redeem the world from its depravity so that it might please God once again. It was and is the Creator’s desire to fellowship with those who had been formed in his image. For this purpose, the babe in the manger was born, lived his life and died among us.

John wrote: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save it through him.” (Jn 3:16─17 NIV) He did not come to condemn the world to destruction but to rescue it and it not just humankind that was his mandate, it was the world—all that had been created. The Lord came to complete God’s creation so that it would accomplish their (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) purposes. He came to “save” it.

The world had become a place worthy only of destruction; it was not worth preserving given its state of evil. The minds of people had allowed them sovereignty over the world’s affairs. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work,” (1 Jn 3:8 NIV) which includes recognition of the sovereignty of the One who created all that is.

Part of the Lord’s ministry was to make people “acceptable” to God once again (Rom 15:16) and all creation is waiting expectantly for that to happen. (Rom 8:19–22) When the ministry of Jesus is completed there will be no more wars or hostility and he will reign in peace. It is in the hope of the restoration of God’s kingdom and our place in it that we rejoice.

Isaiah has presented his victory and the hope available to all of those “in him” upon his return as king.

“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
The Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and power,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—
And he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
Or decide by what he hears with his ears;
But with righteousness he will judge the needy,
With justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
The leopard will lie down with the goat,
The calf and the lion and the yearling together;
And a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together;
and the lion will eat straw like an ox.
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child will put his hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy on my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

(Isaiah 11:2─9 NIV)

Rejoice and celebrate the hope, love, and promises provided through the One whose birth is honoured today, the One who has been provided for the salvation of man and of God’s creation, the One who has been faithful to the Father and to his promises. In the child whose birth is celebrated today rests the hope of humankind and of all creation.


eternal-salvation-russell-youngCheck out Russell Young’s book now in print and eBook — Eternal Salvation: “I’m Okay! You’re Okay!” Really? available through Westbow Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble; and in Canada through Chapters/Indigo.  9781512757514 $17.99 US

July 5, 2014

If You Feel You’re Not Good Enough

Since discovering the Gordon Rumford’s website, I’ve used his material a few times here. The website really resonates with me. This article, which I’m including today because simply, you never know who is surfing the internet, appeared a few days ago under the title which you can click to read the article at source.

You Cannot Out Sin God’s Grace

“While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house,
many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples,
for there were many who followed him.”
Mark 2:15 NIV

“When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Mark 2:16-17 NIV

Various times over the years I have had a broken person in my office who was persuaded they had out sinned God’s grace.

In one case a devoted Christian woman recalled her past life of sin and the several abortions she had because of unwanted pregnancies. She now saw that she had taken the lives of unborn babies and simply could not believe that God would forgive such willful acts of sin.

Another man had fought the battle of the bottle unsuccessfully.

He had heard the Gospel preached many times by one of Canada’s most eloquent preachers in the twentieth century, Dr. T.T. Shields. Over the years of sitting under such powerful preaching he had steadfastly refused the invitations tenderly given to come to Jesus and be delivered from sins’ consequences. He told me again and again, “Gordon it is too late for me.”

My tearful response to the man was that it is never too late to turn to Jesus. I used the story of the repentant thief who received the gift of eternal life while dying on the cross (Luke 23:39-43).

These and others were urged by me to seek the Lord and His forgiveness regardless of how great or how many sins were committed by them. My usual statement to such people is, “You cannot out sin God’s grace.”

Somehow certain people seem to think their sins are too great for God to handle. The woman of whom I wrote found peace with God. Alas, I think the poor man I mentioned needlessly died in his sin. Read the following words:

Come, you sinners, poor and wretched, Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready waits to save you, Full of pity, love and pow’r:
He is able, He is willing, doubt no more.

Let not conscience make you linger, Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requires Is to feel your need of Him:
This He gives you, Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

Come, you weary, heavy laden, Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better, You will never come at all:
Not the righteous, Sinners Jesus came to call.

The author of these words was a man named Joseph Hart. In his own words he described himself as follows, “a loose backslider, an audacious apostle, and a bold-faced rebel.” He was in his forties when the Lord caught up with him and dramatically turned his life around 180 degrees. The second half of his life was spent writing hymns and preaching the Gospel.

If today you are struggling with the sins of your past—never, never think you can out sin God’s grace. The Lord is willing, ready, and able to rescue you from the worst of sins and start you on a journey that ends in heaven itself with Himself. Will you come today and receive His free and full salvation? He waits for you. Come, and come today. You cannot out sin God’s grace.

You don’t have to clean up to be part of God’s family. We are a community of the broken. Like the poem above says, if you wait until conditions are “right” to come to Christ, it will never happen.  So why not make today the day?  If you’d like to go to the next step, click this link.

June 1, 2014

The Depravity of Humankind

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  (KJV)

“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
    a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart
    and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
    I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
    not as they pretend to be.” (same passage, from The Message, w/ vs.10)

Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.  (KJV)

But man is born to trouble as the sparks and the flames fly upward.  (same verse, Amplified)

This weekend we were talking about the theological idea of the depravity of man, and my youngest son, who has been studying these things this year, pointed out that while man is totally depraved he is never utterly depraved. This came out in a discussion as the proposition that some of the worst people history has offered were still made in God’s image, while some of the best people the world has ever seen still need a savior.

My son defined it this way:

Total depravity means every single part of you is affected by sin.
Utter depravity means every single part of you is destroyed by sin.

Man is born with a sin nature that must be dealt with. It permeates body, mind, emotions, and spirit; but is never beyond the redemptive grace of God. But man is also born with an innate capacity to respond to God’s offer of salvation. (Whether you believe this is a matter of election or free-will choice is immaterial here, what matters is the capacity to say yes to God.)

So, you’re probably thinking of some of the examples that came up in our discussion…

Could Judas or Adolph Hitler asked for and received the grace of God toward the end of life? Yes. It’s important when remembering the “last minute” salvation given to the one crucified with Jesus that day was a criminal. That’s the only identification we have of him.

Could Mother Teresa or Billy Graham rest on their own virtue and righteousness and miss somehow the need to be covered by the atoning blood of Calvary? Yes. Anyone could try to get their own their own merits and not be resting in what Christ has done for us.

We live in the tension between being born in sin and depravity yet not being so utterly depraved that we cannot respond to the grace and goodness of God.

June 11, 2013

The Righteousness We Don’t Earn

Chad Hendley is in student ministry and blogs at A Servant Named Chad. This article is packed with different insights and takeaways. For today’s post title I chose to look at the difference between the righteousness we work for versus the righteousness imputed to us through Christ’s atonement. Chad’s post title emphasized the atonement as fulfilling the righteousness that the teachers of the law in the First Testament knew to be God’s unchanging requirement; he called it Not A Dot Shall Pass Away. You’re encouraged to read C201 posts at their original source.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17 ESV)

The Jewish religious leaders of the day had made a strict set of rules and traditions beyond the Law of God given to them by Moses. They kind of put a fence around the Law saying you can do this, this, and this, but not this, this, and this. The problem with this was that it had taken all the heart work out of their religion. While all the Laws were strict and hard to follow, it made it easy to follow God in a sense because it boiled down the whole thing to a list of do’s and don’ts. It completely ignored the greatest commandment of “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” It just became, “Do all these things right, and you’re fine.” Isaiah prophesies of this saying:

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.” (Isaiah 29:13-14 ESV)

Isaiah prophesied of time when the fear and awe and love of God were replaced by heartless obedience to commandments of men.

Because Jesus did not hold to the strict traditions of these religious leaders, and because he just upset a lot of leaders due to their jealousy, he was accused of throwing out or causing people to disobey the Law. Jesus makes a point here to expressly say, “I have not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.”

It is helpful to recognize that Christ fulfilled the Law in 2 different ways.

Christ perfectly upheld the Law. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24 ESV) He perfectly completed the Law living without sin. The only person in history to do so. By no means did he come to do away with it, for he himself is the only one to perfectly complete it.

Christ himself was the very fulfillment of all the Law pointed to. Much more than that, he himself was the fulfillment of the Law, that is all that Law pointed to. Remember? The sacrificial system that was set up, where, when you sinned, sacrifice must be made to atone for your sin reminding you that God is just and that sin must be punished? Christ fulfilled the Law in that he himself completed once and for all what the Law was pointing to.

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:11-18 ESV)

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:18 ESV)

To emphasize how permanent the Law and word of God is, he explicitly indicates that they will remain until the end of time as we know it. An iota referred the smallest letter of Hebrew alphabet that resembled an apostrophe. The dot refers to small marks in the written Hebrew language that helped distinguish some letters from others. Jesus is saying that not even a single letter, nor even a single stroke of a letter shall pass away from the Word of God, much less the its propositions and content.

Jesus, later equating the duration of his own words with the duration of the Law says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35 ESV)

So if there is one thing you may be certain of, it is that the word of the Lord endures forever. What does this mean for us?

It means that the word of God is trustworthy and true. In the New Testament, time and time again, Jesus and the authors point out instances where something happened in order “that the scriptures might be fulfilled.” They are indicating here that the scriptures are totally true and therefore must be fulfilled. That is exactly what Jesus is saying here. “The Law and Prophets will not pass away until all is accomplished.” The assumption here is that scripture is without error; therefore, we may be certain that all it says will be and must be accomplished. The fulfillment of all that is written then verifies the completeness of truth of the scriptures.

This, in turn, means that scripture MUST be the ultimate authority in our lives. Everyone has an ultimate authority. What’s yours? For many people it’s self. “I am my own ultimate authority. I am the only one I am responsible for, and I decide what’s best.” For other people it’s the culture. “Society defines what is right and wrong, so I’ll do whatever society and the culture says is ok.” For some people it’s science and reason. “I only believe what I can learn scientifically.” But there are a few problems with these: 1. You are a single individual with limited knowledge and understanding, and with a tiny view of the world limited by your experience which gives you little authority to determine for yourself what’s right and wrong. 2. Society is ever changing thus is no solid base on which to form a worldview. Does what’s right and wrong change? It shouldn’t. 3. Science is not a broad enough in scope to rests one’s life on. Science tells us nothing of right and wrong or love or purpose or emotion. It is a tool, but not a foundation.

And if scripture is the one true ultimate authority, we must submit our lives to it. Many people choose not to give Christianity serious consideration, because deep down they are scared of what they shall find. They know that if they dig and find that it is true, there is no option but to surrender one’s whole self to Christ. The worse sin that we often find, is those who claim to believe, but have not totally surrendered, still playing with the world. You have not dug deep enough either. YOU CANNOT  TRULY BELIEVE THIS AND LIVE AN UNCHANGED LIFE. When you come near the person of Christ you will find that there is no middle ground. It’s all either all in or nothing. We are to have child-like faith, but this is not a faith for children.

Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19 ESV)

Jesus makes another practical conclusion as well from the fact that God’s word shall never pass away. This is the responsibility not just to obey but also teach others to obey his word. This is not a hard principle right? If God’s word is true and the ultimate authority for our lives and shall never pass away, if they are the measure by which our reward shall be doled out, if they are the works which reveal the fruit of God’s work in our lives, and the means by which we can honor him, then we must definitely be careful to be obedient to it and to be careful in teaching others to do the same. It only makes sense right? If God takes it so seriously as to say it shall never pass away, we should take his commands just as seriously right? For his name sake and for his glory.

Whoever loves him less and thus obeys him less shall be lesser in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever loves him more and thus obeys him more shall be greater in the kingdom of heaven. Note here Jesus is talking about believers, for both attain to the kingdom of heaven, but Jesus says some shall be called greater than others. It is a matter of reward, not a matter of salvation.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 ESV)

God or no God, heaven or hell, is determined by the saving work of the Holy Spirit and genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but there will be varying levels of reward in heaven. The Apostle John, also the author the Revelation text we just read, said “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.” (2 John 1:8 ESV) But be careful of your heart here. Our obedience must not be fueled by this desire to be great in heaven, for that is pride, but for those who humble themselves and seek to honor him, Jesus says, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20 ESV)

Jesus stresses the importance of the Law and the word of God, the importance of keeping and teaching the word of God to others, then he drops the doozy! Unless your goodness is better than the most religious, rule-keeping person you know, then you won’t get into the kingdom of heaven. At one point, Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” One of the commands is to tithe. To give a tenth of all that you receive from the Lord. So you know what these guys did? They tithed, they gave a tenth of the herbs they received to cook with. They did everything right! How in the world can my righteous be better than that of the most strict religious person I know???

Because, through faith in Christ, God gives us a righteousness that is not our own. Our righteousness must not just be a little better than the scribes and the Pharisees, our righteousness must be that of Jesus Christ! The Pharisees tried it, and it didn’t work. They worked and worked and worked trying to be perfect on the outside when Jesus told them they were dead on the inside. YOU CAN’T DO IT! You cannot work your way to heaven. If you could do that you wouldn’t need Jesus! Remember…King David? Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

~Chad Hendley


Practical Christian Living:  Looking for books that are suitable for giving to non-Christian friends, neighbors, fellow-students, co-workers or relatives? Check out the blog Books for Evangelism to familiarize yourself with resources that do more than preach to the choir.

November 24, 2012

Grace Quotations

“…Jesus’ approach toward a decadent Roman empire, as well as toward individual sinners who must have offended him deeply, seemed almost the opposite of the self-righteous attitude of many evangelicals.  As I studied Jesus’ life, the notion of grace kept hitting me in the face.  All his stories made the wrong person the hero: the prodigal son not the responsible older brother, Lazarus not the rich man, the good Samaritan not the Jewish rabbi.  And I began to see grace as one of the great, often untapped, powers of the universe that God has asked us to set loose.  Human society runs by Ungrace, ranking people, holding them accountable, insisting on reciprocity and fairness.  Grace is, by definition, unfair.  That intrigued me.”

~Philip Yancey


“Most every cult you could name is a cult of salvation by works. It appeals to the flesh. It tells you, if you will stand so long on a street corner, if you will distribute so much literature, if you will sacrifice so much of life, if you will be baptized, if you will contribute your money, if you will pray or attend numerous meetings, then your good works and hard effort will cause God to smile on you. Ultimately when the good is weighed against the bad on the Day of Judgement, you will finally earn His favor. The result in that, I say again, is man’s glory, because you added to your salvation.

“Grace says you have nothing to give, nothing to earn, nothing to pay. You couldn’t if you tried! Salvation is a free gift. You simply lay hold of what Christ has provided. Period. And yet the heretical doctrine of works goes on all around the world and always will. It is effective because the pride of men and women is so strong. We simply have to do something in order to feel right about it. It just doesn’t make good humanistic sense to get something valuable for nothing.

“Please allow me to be absolutely straight with you: Stop tolerating the heretical gospel of works! It is legalism. Wake up to the fact that it will put you into a bondage syndrome that won’t end. The true gospel of grace, however, will set you free. Free forever.”

~Charles (Chuck) Swindoll


“You are loved by your Maker not because you try to please him and succeed, or fail to please him and apologize, but because he wants to be your Father. Nothing more. All your efforts to win his affection are unnecessary. All your fears of losing his affection are needless. You can no more make him want you than you can convince him to abandon you. The adoption is irreversible. You have a place at his table.”

~Max Lucado


“Romans 8 is all about living in a suffering world marked by brokenness… Verse 28 says: For those loving him, God works together all things for good. …Earlier in Romans 8, Paul discusses how things fall apart because the world is burdened with evil and sin. Things are subject to decay. Everyone will eventually experience the decay of their bodies; that’s the nature of things. The little grains of sand on the beach used to be a mountain. Everything falls apart; things do not come together. This verse tells Christians to get rid of the saccharine, sentimental idea that things ought to go right, that things do go right, and that it’s normal for things to go right. Modern, Western people believe that if things go wrong, we should sue, because things ought to go right. But Christians have to discard that idea completely. Christians have to recognize that if our health remains intact, it is simply because God is holding it up. If people love us, if someone is there to hug us or squeeze our hand, if someone loves us in spite of all our flaws—if someone loves us at all—it’s because God is bringing all things together. God is holding it up. Everything that goes well is a miracle of grace.”

~Timothy Keller


“I don’t think we should avoid reading the Noah narrative to our children. They need to hear of God’s global judgment, of his grace not only to Noah but to the animals and the creation itself, and of his covenant promise never to flood the earth with water again. But we should never sentimentalize this terrifying moment in our history. Instead we must point our little ones to the fulfillment of the rainbow: Jesus of Nazareth.

“The apostle Peter makes much of the Flood, pointing to it as a type of the last days cosmic judgment of the universe (2 Pet 3). He also speaks of baptism as corresponding to the deliverance of Noah (1 Pet 3:18-22), representing God’s faithfulness to bring a righteous Man through the flood of his wrath and into a new creation. One cannot emphasize this without emphasizing both God’s amazing grace and his terrible justice. Maybe that’s why we trivialize baptism too.”

~Russell D. Moore


“Martyn Lloyd-Jones states that preaching grace is not only risky, but the fact that some take it to an unwise extreme is proof that a minister is indeed preaching the true grace of God. Some people will take advantage of it. They will misrepresent it. They will go to such an extreme that they will promote the erroneous idea that you can go on sinning as much as you like. If you claim to be a messenger of grace, if you think you are really preaching grace, yet no one is taking advantage of it, maybe you haven’t preached it hard enough or strong enough. I can assure you of this: Grace killing ministers will never have that charge brought against them. They make sure of that! This issue of grace is indeed controversial. It brings grace abusers as well as grace killers out from under the rocks!”

~Charles (Chuck) Swindoll


“The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, and Muslim code of law—each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.”

~Philip Yancey


‘He’s prone to stoop. He stooped to wash feet, to embrace children. Stooped to pull Peter out of the sea, to pray in the Garden. He stooped before the Roman whipping post. Stooped to carry the cross. Grace is a God who stoops. Here he stooped to write in the dust.’

~Max Lucado


More grace quotations

November 21, 2012

God’s Promised Presence

Cindy Holbrook blogs at Living Inside Hope, where this appeared under the title Finding Grace in God’s Sight. You’re encouraged to click through to read this and more at her blog.

Finding grace in God’s sight has very little to do with comfort and ease. Finding grace in God’s sight may very well be the answer to our problems and the beginning of new and hair raising adventures. All at the same time!

“Safety does not consist in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.” ~ Believer’s Bible Commentary

More and more we are hearing a call. It is a call to move out of what we consider a comfort zone, and move into a different place that God wants us to move in. Oh, and it will involve effort on our part.

Some of us may very well feel that we have lost God’s grace and favor at this particular season. When in fact, we may indeed HAVE His favor and the only thing is that we cannot recognize it.

Let us look at Moses and a spectacular prayer he made while he was talking to God about what was going to be the next step in his and Israel’s journey. A journey, mind you, that had almost culminated with Israel’s utter destruction. Mose’ intercession and God’s grace stopped that event. It could not be one without the other. If there was no compassion and grace in the nature of God, no matter how Moses had interceded, God would not have granted him favor.

Yet, that is another story. This is the story of Mose’s prayer about finding favor with God and what was to come.  Read this prayer and exchange between Moses and God:

So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:11-17 NKJV)

Believer’s Bible Commentary came to this conclusion:   Moses asked for God’s presence to lead His people to Canaan. Then the Lord graciously promised that His Presence would go with them. Moses insisted that nothing short of this would do. Like Noah, Moses had found grace in the Lord’s sight and received his request. “Safety does not consist in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.”

God’s grace may not be remaining in the place where we’ve been. It may very well be on the move and He is telling us that He will be the one going with us on this next ‘leg’ of our journey. Yet in and through Jesus Christ, we have been given grace. Here, in these verses, God let’s us know what His grace includes.  His presence. His rest.

God didn’t say, kick back Moses, and sit a bit. Smell the roses. Buy that new television set and charge it to Me because I’m pouring out my prosperity on you. Yes there are seasons like that, but this isn’t one of those seasons. There is too great of challenge for that.

God promised His presence. God promised His rest.

Moses in turn, knew what he himself needed to continue to find grace in God’s sight and he knew enough to ask for it. God’s grace is divine. It only comes from Him so even as He gifts it to us, we should indeed be asking for it. No other person or thing can bestow on us the grace of God. Only God can do this. In the very asking of it is the acknowledgement that it is His alone.

Moses asked God to show him “HIS WAY” that he many KNOW GOD and receive grace and favor from God.

Moses then asked “and consider that this nation is Your people.”

Moses first looked to his personal relationship with God. That mattered first and foremost. He didn’t try and separate God from God’s ways. Rather, he wanted God to show him His WAYS so that he could learn to KNOW GOD. We cannot split God’s ways from God himself. We must learn His ways. We study His Word not to learn more stuff. We study His Word to learn His Ways that will cause us to know Him.

And then Moses asked a particular thing for those to whom the LORD had made him responsible. He wanted them to be considered by God as His people.

Surely we are asking God many of the same questions. Where are we going and how are we to fulfill His call? Who is He going to send to us in this work?

Nor can we ignore the call about helping others. There are more catastrophes happening than ever now. We are connected globally now and we see human need at every longitude and latitude.

The nations we live in are facing great turmoil. Our churches are facing great turmoil. Our families and friends are facing great turmoil.

The great commission is becoming the great pressure for all of us. God is ‘forcing’ out His laborers into the harvest field and we are it!

This time we are facing can bring about calamity to us and our children. Or this time can be a divine and glorious moment where God brings us out and into a new place He has planned for us.

This is a time when His presence must go with us. This is a time where we must have His rest. We must have His power and grace to work with Him in faith and trust. For that is a portion of His rest. Only a portion to be sure, yet a portion not to be overlooked. The final rest He gives us will be a successful and triumphant outcome, if not in this world, then in His heavenly Kingdom where our true inheritance lies.

We have found grace in God’s sight for we have received and accepted the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24)

Even though we can’t see all of God’s ways right now for us. Even though we may not see every twist and turn ahead and God isn’t giving us a clue about it. Even though it seems we have more burdens and responsibilities that the LORD is placing upon us.

His presence now goes with us. He will give us His rest.

This is what we can count upon. This is where we meet with God.

 

We find grace in God’s sight, if we find grace in our hearts to guide and quicken us in the way of our duty.  ~ Mathew Henry

September 24, 2011

It’s Grace


Grace binds you with far stronger cords than the cords of duty or obligation can bind you. Grace is free, but when once you take it you are bound forever to the Giver, and bound to catch the spirit of the Giver. Like produces like, Grace makes you gracious, the Giver makes you give.

(Eli) E. Stanley Jones


We tend to give an unbeliever just enough of the gospel to get him or her to pray a prayer to receive Christ. Then we immediately put the gospel on the shelf, so to speak, and go on to the duties of discipleship. The grace that brought salvation to you is the same grace that teaches or disciplines you. But you must respond on the basis of grace, not law.

Jerry Bridges


Who can estimate the value of God’s gift, when He gave to the world His only begotten Son! It is something unspeakable and incomprehensible. It passes man’s understanding. Two things there are which man has no arithmetic to reckon, and no line to measure. One of these things is the extent of that man’s loss who loses his own soul. The other is the extent of God’s gift when he gave Christ to sinners…Sin must indeed be exceeding sinful, when the Father must needs give His only Son to be the sinner’s Friend!

James Charles (J. C.) Ryle


The difference between mercy and grace? Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace gave him a feast.

Max Lucado


The Law tells me how crooked I am; Grace comes along and straightens me out.

Dwight L Moody


Grace is something you can never get but can only be given. There’s no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about anymore than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks. A good night’s sleep is grace and so are good dreams. Most tears are grace. The smell of rain is grace. Somebody loving you is grace.

Frederick Buechner


Grace is the incomprehensible fact that God is well pleased with a man, and that a man can rejoice in God. Only when grace is recognized to be incomprehensible is it grace. Grace exists, therefore, only where the Resurrection is reflected. Grace is the gift of Christ, who exposes the gulf which separates God and man, and, by exposing it, bridges it.

Karl Barth


More quotes and annotation for the ones above available at Daily Christian Quotes