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Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Monday, 2 January 2017

1 Corinthians Day 2 - Grace

1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grace to you. Grace given to you in Christ. Blameless in the day of our Lord. God is faithful. 

Perfect saints don't need grace. Our standing is not based on our perfection. Were we perfect why would there be grace? If it was all about us why would we need this gift from God? God is faithful. Faithful to do what specifically in this context? Faithful to see you in fellowship with His Son. When He sees you and I He sees us as if we are as Jesus is: Blameless. 

Religion talks a lot about sin. Sin is the breaking of the law. What law? There is only one law that governs God’s kingdom - the law of love. Adam and Eve violated love when they refused to trust God and took the word of a serpent over His. Sometimes the act of one affects many. Had Hitler been successful in his ambitious plans how different would the world be today even though he would no longer be alive? 

Since the day they violated the law of love we have been under a new kingdom. The kingdom of the serpent. In this kingdom one no one law governs it. The law of self. Everything is done to advance self. "I will ascend above... I will be like the Most High." 

Every human born is born into this confusion. Stamped into our DNA is the character of our Maker - the law of love but it is marred and almost unrecognizable because of the dominion of the kingdom of self. It got so bad that we came to see God as a God governed by self. The sacrifices offered on the altars of the Old Testament that were designed to reveal His love were offered instead to appease His wrath. God became seen as a tyrant who only did us any good if we purchased His favour. It got so bad that people began sacrificing their own children. 

Still today people think God was so angry that Jesus had to come and die to appease His wrath. The first and most important reason He came was to set the record straight about God. The kingdom of love had to be seen. Sending messages through prophets was insufficient. They couldn't even comprehend how good the news really was. That's why John said in his account of Jesus life that He was Light that came into darkness and the darkness could not comprehend the Light. The message proclaimed by the very presence and actions of Jesus was completely foreign to the people, especially the religious people. Jesus went into the temple and turned the tables upside down. Truth was not what we do to pay off God. Truth was God was willing to buy us back at any cost. The currency was not cash or blood. The currency was love. The earth and the watching universe needed to see in full living colour that the declaration "God is love" was more, infinitely more, than a mushy sentiment scrawled on a hallmark card. 

God couldn't stand back while Satan continued to lie and deceive. His creation needed to see His love in action. That is why Jesus declared "If you have seen Me you have seen God." This confusion that continues to reign that God is not as loving as Jesus or that Jesus has to convince God not to destroy us is a denial of Jesus. It makes Him a liar. The only reason the Old Testament can seem so dark in places is because the people were in darkness and saw God through the eyes of their own inner darkness. A darkness we brought on ourselves. A darkness that only grace can cure. Grace. Unmerited favour. 

Corinth was a dark city even by human standards. No father wanted his daughter to move to Corinth. No parents wanted their children to seek out the entertainments of Corinth. Paul went. His message? Grace to you. Embrace Jesus and you are saints. You are sanctified. You are in the eyes of God blameless. You were unfaithful to Him. He was always faithful to you. Live in fellowship with Christ Jesus and trust His faithfulness. 

God is faithful. 

Last week I visited a person who recently lost a parent to cancer. Their parent had served the church all their life. Sadly when the doctor announced death was imminent the reaction was fear. The fear was rooted in the belief they were not ready to die.

Paul says we should be eagerly awaiting the arrival of Jesus. 

What a contrast. Eager anticipation vs fear. Why? Because we either trust His faithful promise that we are saints in Christ or we look to our own goodness which is always and always will be lacking.

Grace. We desperately need it and we have been given it in abundance. 

"I believe Lord, help my unbelief."

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