Tag Archive: grace of God


“But God commandeth his love for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

God commands his love for us.  Not suggests, not hopes for or wishes, but commands his love for us.  Unshakable, unmovable, unchangeable.  His love for us can not go away.  His love for you, for me is immutable.  It doesn’t diminish when we put on a few pounds, or 50. It doesn’t fade when our hair turns to grey, or falls out.  And his love doesn’t turn to another if I become wrinkled, feeble, lose my job, or any other thing you ca do or even imagine.
And when did God love us?  When we were yet sinners. Our God, the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, the God of Jacob doesn’t demand that we stop sinning and then He will love us.  God does not say to you or I “Be perfect, get your act together, and THEN I will love you and care for you.”  No, No, No.  He says to you and I come to me all you who are weary, carrying a load that is too much to carry and I will give you rest.
He could have said, Russ once you do X then I will care for you, then I will love you.  God could have said show me you love me, then I will love and care for you.  But instead God says to mankind, I will love you no matter what.  I will love you day or night, summer or winter, when you do right or when you do wrong.

God’s love for you is not dependent on your past

I can hear you now, “But Russ you don’t know what I have done.  If you only knew the inside, if you could see my thoughts, my heart.  My own family won’t have anything to do with me.  My marriage is in shambles.  I can’t find my way out of the bottle.”
Your right I don’t know you.  I don’t know what you’ve done.  I don’t know your faults, your failings, your foibles.  I don’t and maybe if I did I wouldn’t like you much.  But God knows.  God knows each and every lie you have ever told.  God knows every porn movie you’ve ever watched, every curse word that has come out of your mouth even when no one was around.  And every wicked thought that you have ever had.  And in response God says- “I love you.”
I love you when you don’t deserve it, when you haven’t earned it, even when you have abused it.  For you see God says “my grace is sufficient for you.”
Grace: Gods unearned favor, blessing, love.  The gift of Gods grace can not be earned, it can not be bought at any price, for any amount.  You and I can never do enough good things to earn or deserve it.
So you say “I don’t deserve it, God would never give it to me.” So who does God give His grace to?  Who are the heroes and saints God poured out his grace on.
Genesis 6:8- “but Noah found grace in the eyes of The Lord.”- Noah a drunk
Genesis 19:19Lot says “behold now thy servant hath found grace in thy sight.”  Lot a man who less than 48 hours earlier was ready to turn over his daughters to be gang raped by a mob outside his home.
Exodus “For thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know you by name.”  Who is God speaking to?  A hot-headed, spoiled, murderer by the name of Moses
Or Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication.”   David war-monger, adulterer murderer.  David who had a loyal soldier murdered because David had seduced his wife while he was risking his life in battle for his king, David.

So what is it again that you think is so bad that God’s grace is for others but not for you?

God’s grace is a gift given freely from God to anyone who asks.  Not something you can earn and certainly not what you deserve.  But just because it is free does not mean it is cheap.
Romans 3:4 “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”  So what does God say?  Romans 6:23 “the wages of sin IS death.”  Justice requires death, someone must die.  Justice was satisfied by death, just not your death.  God came in the form of man as Jesus. He paid that price so that God the Father can give you and I grace.
This isn’t just going to Macy’s with the credit card to pick up a bunch of Christmas gifts.  These aren’t a few trinkets purchased at the Dollar Store.  This is the biggest gift, this is the most costly gift of all.  This is the gift to end all gifts.  The gift of grace is free but is not cheap.  Make no mistake it cost the giver dearly.  And grace alone, God’s grace alone is enough.

God’s grace is sufficient, no matter what.  And best of all it is your’s for the asking.

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I’m not talking about deserters but those walking wounded that have stepped on a landmine and need a caring, gentle hand to nurse them back to health.  Yes the great physician may have amputated a hand, maybe even a leg, but are we then court marshaling our brothers for being damaged?

We all are walking wounded.  Your limp, my missing limb, we all are damaged.  Yet I see time and time again we look at someone failing, and that being used as a reason to shoot our wounded.  I’m not talking about those instances like those referred to by Jesus in Matthew 18 where a brother is in opposition to God.  But what about the sister who way back when did X, and so today she is still being shunned?  The recovering addict, the former gang member, the ex-con, or even the divorced.

Those people

“People will know you are my disciples because of your love for one another.”  Sometimes we, yes we, get so caught up in what someone else might think, that we lack compassion for those around us.  The congregation(church) I attend used to be known as “the drugie” church.  I almost wish we still were.  Not because I want to see people addicted, but because it is up to us to make God known to those who need Him.  It’s all well and good to belong to a congregation where everyone comes dressed up in their Sunday best.  But there also needs to be a place for the hurting, the damaged, the lost, the Christian ethic demands it.

Love others well.

Expect the best of people.  Raise up God’s standard.  But don’t go adding to it.  Yes Jesus said “Go and sin no more”  but He also made a point of reaching out to Peter after the resurrection.
We, you and I, are not suffering from an abundance of love, and grace towards those around us. Maybe it is time to change that.

Perhaps we should try to love too much.

Yet how often do I do this?  Oh not regarding other people.  I have an easy enough time seeing others and accepting that God is more than gracious enough to forgive them, but me.  Well that’s another story all together.  I think, “But you don’t know what I’ve done.”  The very height of pride, to presume that I am capable of some heretofore unreached depth of depravity.

Compared to what?

The thief on the cross – forgiven, Peter who denied even knowing Jesus, not just once, but three times – forgiven, a man who didn’t just pick on God’s chosen ones but hunted and killed them, yea that guy Paul – forgiven.  Maybe there is a reason God chose Paul.  Not just for 2,000 years ago, but also for today.

Not just for others.

Yes I struggle with forgiving myself, that’s my pride getting in the way.  What about you?  Does your pride get in your way?  Do you repent, ask for, even beg for forgiveness, only to not forgive yourself?

Isn’t it time we stopped playing god and instead,  let God be God.

Earned Grace

I hear so many confused answers on Christian ethics and obligations.  This morning I heard a man I deeply respect say we are no longer under the law.  And then he stopped there, Romans says “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
And that’s true but that is not all, it goes on to say in the very next verse “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”

Can you earn a gift?

Can I earn God’s love and forgiveness?  Of course not.  I will never be good enough, there is nothing I can do to make myself good enough.  After all if I cut someone off on the freeway tomorrow, what do I do to make it right?  How about the lie I told my senior year of high school?(ok the LIES, plural). People I have hurt with my actions?  How would the scales ever balance out.
See grace can’t be earned, otherwise it is not grace.  Grace by one definition is unmerited favor.  It takes one of the hardest acts of man, to accept a gift.  We really want to make it on our own.  Our pride gets in the way, and we try to be good enough, strong enough, rich enough, wise enough.  But we can’t be anything enough to earn it.

 You can’t save yourself, and neither can I.

The law saves no one.  The law is God’s standard.  We don’t obey the law in order to earn Gods love.  We obey the law because we love God.

The resurrection was a sign from God that Jesus sacrifice, his shed blood, his death was sufficient.
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English: Prestbury war memorial - northern fac...

English: Prestbury war memorial – northern face “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. On 864428. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” Our comfort is not God‘s priority.” Max Lucado from It’s not about Me

Does God love man? 

Of course, but how off track do I get. I get tied to this idea that His love means that His end game is to take care of me.  God’s goal is not to lift me up.  Instead his goal is to bring me to a place where I bring glory to Jesus, that is really what Christian living is all about.  Not bringing glory to me for his sake, but to Christ for my sake.
I, you, all of creation was made to declare the glory of God.  Yet God’s glory, his greatness is not for His good, but for mine.  Lets be clear God does not need praise, worship or adoration.  He was full and complete long before the creation of the first angel.  Before God created man, God had need of nothing.  He created man to reveal his glory for man’s benefit.  Had God not created man He would still be glorious, perfect, and complete.

If you had it all, would you  share freely?

Even if it cost you, a lot?  Me either which is why it is a good thing neither of us is God.  His desire was to create man so that we could share in His glory.  Not loneliness or need motivated this, but love.
Thank God he is not me.
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But neither will I.

When it comes to God’s grace and mercy, you can’t earn it, I don’t deserve it.  That is the point.  If we could be good enough to earn God’s forgiveness and mercy, then I wouldn’t need Jesus.

I was having a conversation with the pastor at church and we were talking about the roles of grace and the law.  How do we explain Christian ethics and lifestyle and what it means to live a Christian life.  The conundrum is the balance and conflict between the two.  I can’t earn forgiveness, and Paul talks time and again how the law brings death.  Yet I know that the law is God’s standard.  So what do I do with that?

Obeying the law won’t save me, it won’t earn me salvation or forgiveness.  For if I could keep the law I would not need forgiveness.  Without a doubt there is the danger of falling into legalism.  It is way to easy to fall into looking at how I am keeping this law or that precept, and how you are not.  Then next thing you know I start looking down my nose and judging you, because although you may be great at keeping laws 1-2-3, they’re not the ones I think you should be focused on keeping.

At the same time how do you encourage people to keep the law, not for what it does for them but because of whose laws they are?  So I’m wondering if this makes sense?  We should strive to keep the law, knowing we are going to fail.  But still strive to keep the law because the law is God’s standard, shows the attributes of God, and pleases him.  Not because God wants to be a wet blanket, but rather than the law is how the universe works.

Would you want someone you love to suffer for you?

So if we love God, wouldn’t we want, try, even strive to keep the law?  1- because it is God’s standard. 2-because it pleases God. 3- Because of all He has done for us.  4- my sin Jesus took on himself on Calvary, suffering for my sin, why would I want to make Him suffer more?

After all God does not need us to “behave” to bring him joy, although our obedience and worship brings him joy.  We can’t earn God’s mercy, so why keep trying?  It’s not about trying to earn Mercy from God we already have mercy as much as we will ever need.

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So the other day my mind started going places I really don’t want it to go.  To a life I used to live, and unfortunately with considerable zeal, & I find myself wondering why.  That life, that old me I gave up, turned away from, and made a vow to never return.  No I didn’t follow thru on the thoughts but only because of the grace of God, not to mention his strength/mercy.

Do you ever wonder if “Christian Living” is even possible?

I’m thinking is it any wonder that so many that are held up as leaders of spiritual matters fail (some not just falling but jumping off the cliff). Jesus said plainly that if a man even lusts after a woman he has already sinned, yet how many laughed at former President Carter over his confession of that very same sin.  Do we think Jesus was joking?  I cannot speak for anyone else if for no other reason than the simple fact that I cannot know your heart or your mind.  But for me I will take it literally and believe God meant it.

Is living a life for Christ too much to ask?

So can I be free of that?  This sin of thought.  I don’t know but it seems that God would not make us in such a way that sin can not be conquered.  After all how many times does Peter, Paul and others write that sin “HAS” been conquered.  Notice they did not say could but has.  So thru the power of God and by the holy spirit living within me it is possible.  And yet even Paul, old camel knees, speaks to doing what he doesn’t want to do and not doing that he wants to.  Not an easy path, this Christian life I’ve chosen, but what’s the alternative?
I suppose I could walk away from God, and the church but then what?  As the philosopher once said, “The problem with knowing a thing is that once you know it, you can’t un-know it”. I could pretend I suppose, but what good would that do?  What about you, do you sometimes wish you didn’t know what you should do?  Maybe thinking it would have been easier being left in ignorance?
Me either but some days I do have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and then push forward.  Usually changing location and a lot of prayer helps.  Other days I find myself not really wanting to avoid my old self.  “Should we continue in sin that grace may abound?  God forbid.” Romans 6:1-2.
When your on overload and ready to give up what do you do?  Is it getting better, or do you stop and wonder?