Glimpses Of God's Grace. 02/05/2014 (Morning thought)

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

This passage of scripture gives us in precis form, the parameters in which the grace of God is implemented, embraced and experienced. It first announces that the grace of God has been given to all men, and that redemption through Jesus Christ has been made available to every person. However, it also clearly delineates the resulting actions of those who have been beneficiaries of His grace. Self denial of all ungodly lusts and desires is the inevitable result, in the lives of those who partake of God's mercy. This fact and this purpose is vividly outlined in the scriptures. Let's read:   Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.

Note well that the text says "from their sins" not "in" their sins. It is of critical importance for every person interested in Christ's salvation, and desiring eternal life, to be reconciled to this all important truth. God takes us as we are, but He never leaves us as we are. The whole purpose of the plan of salvation is to restore fully, the image of God in man, and any doctrine that teaches that we can continue sinning because of God's grace, is a doctrine of devils, having no foundation whatsoever in the Bible. If Christ died so that we can continue in sin, then the plan of salvation is a flawed plan, for it would then defeat  the very purpose that made His death necessary in the first place. An example of the purpose of His grace and the resulting, corresponding actions on the part of the human agent, is exemplified in miniature form by the following story.

Chloe and Tim were two high school sweethearts who got married in their early twenties. For many years their marriage blossomed beautifully, producing five kids in an atmosphere that fostered mutual love, respect, and commitment. However, after many years, for some unknown reason, Tim started having an extra marital affair with a woman at his job. For years this illicit relationship continued in secret. Tim tried on several occasions to break up the  affair, but he seemed to be infatuated and entranced by her charm and her emotional expressions of love for him. One day however, his wife being off from work, she decided to thoroughly clean and re-arrange their bedroom. On removing the mattress, she discovered a trove of love letters pertaining to Tim's affair with the other person. Chloe then burst into tears in an episode of uncontrollable grief, scarcely believing what she was seeing and reading. She then decided to wait until Tim came from work to confront him with the issue. When Tim arrived late that evening, he hugged and kissed Chloe as usual, but quickly realized that something was not right. He then asked her why she seemed to be so disturbed, whereupon she showed him the love letters she had found. Tim then burst into tears and confessed to his wife that he had been struggling for some time with the issue, but could not free himself from the affair, even though he had really tried on several occasions to do so. With tears in  his eyes, he then turned to Chloe, asking her forgiveness and promising to be a better husband than he had previously been. Even though Chloe was obviously shaken by the incident, she decided to forgive Tim. She then embraced him, and restored him fully to her confidence, promising never to remind Tim of his illegal rendezvous.

Question: Now that Tim has been forgiven and restored to full fellowship with his wife, what should he logically do with those love letters from the mistress, and what necessary steps should he take to ensure the future well-being of his marriage.

Answer: Reason demands that he thoroughly burn those love letters and immediately sever all connections and further communications with the woman who intruded on his marriage. Chloe obviously did not forgive Tim so that he could continue the illicit affair!

On a much grander, but similar scale is the grace of God that has been manifested to the human family through the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not bleed and die, and suffer such humiliation so that we could continue in sin. The rebuke of heaven is upon any such interpretation of Christ's sacrifice for us on Calvary. That's why the apostle Paul asks the all important question in words of solemn pathos:

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Friends, in the name of Jesus Christ we appeal to every one, that we avail ourselves of the salvation that was purchased with the blood of Christ. He invites everyone to partake of His righteousness and He promises the necessary power for us to live victoriously each day. May this experience be ours today. God bless!