Do you approach the coming year
With expectation or trembling fear?
With hope and faith in God I face
The day, for I’m awash in grace.
Yes, I am weak, but God is strong,
So when the day is tiresome and long,
Upon his ready power I lean
When crisis spoils the planned routine.
To ponder all the months and days
Of Twenty-One and all its ways,
The mind might panic in alarm,
Did I not lean upon God’s arm.
The Lord alone is absolute,
With him is blessing, peace, and fruit;
In him can no defeat disturb,
For every day and year’s superb.

We call it rhetoric, for no one in his right mind would really say such a thing. Someone with as much insight and realism as the great and mighty apostle Paul certainly wouldn’t say it in all seriousness, even as much as he might have been down on himself for his pre-Christian past. But let us not brush off his words so lightly.

For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
1 Corinthians 15.9-10 NET Continue reading

We have two options: either we prove to God our own goodness, or we accept his grace through the faithfulness of Christ. Human goodness is a fiction that many adopt.

I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Galatians 2:21 NLT

The fight that Paul takes on in Galatians is this. People wanted to use Moses’ law as a means to establish their own righteousness. They said they could be right with God through the law. They insisted with the Galatian Christians that the way to get to God was through the law, because they had made it into a system of meritorious works.

Paul categorically denies this possibility. Such a fiction negates the necessity for Christ’s death.

Perhaps few today use Moses’ law for self-righteousness, but many use other systems of merit to declare themselves good and to recommend themselves to God. Because of this, the letter to the Galatians continues to be applicable, even more so today, if that’s possible.

For one of the greatest barriers to the gospel is the thought that one’s own goodness excludes the need for Christ’s purifying blood.

GraceThey say that love is blind. Perhaps it would be better to say that love ignores the challenges and difficulties of a relationship with the opposite sex. A line of thought that ignores evidences will reach wrong conclusions, which will lead in turn to great disappointments.

Some think about God’s grace as others consider love, as the blanket solution:

What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:1-2 NET Continue reading

GraceWhen we give someone a present, we hope they’ll like it. But we don’t accompany the recipient to see if the present is being used properly. It would be impertinent on our part to require an accounting of the use of the present.

For certain men have secretly slipped in among you — men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe — ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 4 NET Continue reading