Grace Must Be Free

We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Picture salvation as a house that you live in.

It provides you with protection. It is stocked with food and drink that will last forever. It never decays or crumbles. Its windows open onto vistas of glory.

God built it at great cost to himself and to his Son, and he gave it to you.

The “purchase” agreement is called a “new covenant.” The terms read: “This house shall become and remain yours if you will receive it as a gift and take delight in the Father and the Son as they inhabit the house with you. You shall not profane the house of God by sheltering other gods nor turn your heart away after other treasures.”

Would it not be foolish to say yes to this agreement, and then hire a lawyer to draw up an amortization schedule with monthly payments in the hopes of somehow balancing accounts?

You would be treating the house no longer as a gift, but a purchase. God would no longer be the free benefactor. And you would be enslaved to a new set of demands that he never dreamed of putting on you.

If grace is to be free — which is the very meaning of grace — we cannot view it as something to be repaid.

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The key to not view grace and “not be foolish to say yes to this agreement, and then hire a lawyer to draw up an amortization schedule with monthly payments in the hopes of somehow balancing accounts” then, is to be always content in God.

How? By always desiring Him more because we know that our joy reach its max in Him and that, as John Piper says it, “the chief end glory of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.”

Let God gives you the heart that always longs for and is content in Him.

6 Things It Means to Be in Jesus

Taken from Solid Joys for 29th August 2013

[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. (2 Timothy 1:9)

Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ.

If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:

1. In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created. 2 Timothy 1:9, “He gave us grace in Christ Jesus before the ages began.

2. In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation. Ephesians 1:4, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.

3. In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love. Romans 8:38–39, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4. In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins. Ephesians 1:7, “In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.

5. In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God in Christ is imputed to you. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6. In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and a son of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Galatians 3:26, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

When God’s Love is Sweetest

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. (Ephesians 5:25–26)

If you only hope for unconditional love from God, your hope is great, but too small.

Unconditional love from God is not the sweetest experience of his love. The sweetest experience is when his love says: “I have made you so much like my Son that I delight to see you and be with you. You are a pleasure to me, because you are so radiant with my glory.”

This sweetest experience is conditional on our transformation into the kind of people whose emotions and choices and actions please God.

Unconditional love is the source and foundation of the human transformation that makes the sweetness of conditional love possible. If God did not love us unconditionally, he would not penetrate our unattractive lives, bring us to faith, unite us to Christ, give us his Spirit, and make us progressively like Jesus.

But when he unconditionally chooses us, and sends Christ to die for us, and regenerates us, he puts in motion an unstoppable process of transformation that makes us glorious. He gives us a splendor to match his favorite kind.

We see this in Ephesians 5:25–26. “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her [unconditional love], that he might sanctify her . . . and present the church to himself in splendor” — the condition in which he delights.

It is unspeakably wonderful that God would unconditionally set his favor on us while we are still unbelieving sinners. The ultimate reason this is wonderful is that this unconditional love brings us into the everlasting enjoyment of his glorious presence.

But the apex of that enjoyment is that we not only see his glory, but also reflect it.

“The name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and
you in him” (2 Thessalonians 1:12).

God Forgives and Is Still Fair

The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die. (2 Samuel 12:13–14)

This is outrageous. Uriah is dead. Bathsheba is raped. The baby will die. And Nathan says, “The Lord has put away your sin.”

Just like that? David committed adultery. He ordered murder. He lied. He “despised the word of the Lord.” He “scorned God.” And the Lord “put away [his] sin.”

What kind of a righteous judge is God? You don’t just pass over rape and murder and lying. Righteous judges don’t do that.

Here is what Paul said in Romans 3:25–26:

God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

In other words, the outrage that we feel when God seems to simply pass over David’s sin would be good outrage if God were simply sweeping David’s sin under the rug. He is not.

God sees from the time of David down the centuries to the death of his Son, Jesus Christ, who would die in David’s place, so that David’s faith in God’s mercy and God’s future redeeming work unites David with Christ. And in God’s all-knowing mind, David’s sins are counted as Christ’s sins and Christ’s righteousness is counted as his righteousness, and God justly passes over David’s sin.

The death of the Son of God is outrageous enough, and the glory of God that it upholds is great enough, that God is vindicated in passing over David’s adultery and murder and lying.

And so God maintains his perfect righteousness and justice while at the same time showing mercy to those who have faith in Jesus, no matter how many or how monstrous their sins. This is good news.

From

The Different Tenses of Grace

We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11–12)

Grace is not only God’s disposition to do good for us when we don’t deserve it — undeserved favor. It is also a power from God that acts in our lives and makes good things happen in us and for us.

Paul said that we fulfill our resolves for good “by his power” (verse 11). And then he adds at the end of verse 12, “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The power that actually works in our lives to make Christ-exalting obedience possible is an extension of the grace of God.

You can see this also in 1 Corinthians 15:10:

By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

So grace is an active, present, transformative, obedience-enabling power.

Therefore this grace which moves in power from God to you at a point in time is both past and future. It has already done something for you or in you and therefore is past. And it is about to do something in you and for you, and so it is future — both five seconds away and five million years away.

God’s grace is ever cascading over the waterfall of the present from the inexhaustible river of grace coming to us from the future into the ever-increasing reservoir of grace in the past. In the next five minutes, you will receive sustaining grace flowing to you from the future, and you will accumulate another five minutes’ worth of grace in the reservoir of the past.

From:

What It Means to Love Money

The love of money is the root of all evils. (1 Timothy 6:10)

What did Paul mean when he wrote this? He couldn’t have meant that money is always on your mind when you sin. A lot of sin happens when we are not thinking about money.

My suggestion is this: he meant that all the evils in the world come from a certain kind of heart, namely, the kind of heart that loves money.

Now what does it mean to love money? It doesn’t mean to admire the green paper or the copper coins or the silver shekels. To know what it means to love money, you have to ask, What is money? I would answer that question like this: Money is simply a symbol that stands for human resources. Money stands for what you can get from man instead of God.

God deals in the currency of grace, not money: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1). Money is the currency of human resources. So the heart that loves money is a heart that pins its hopes, and pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust in what human resources can offer.

So the love of money is virtually the same as faith in money — belief (trust, confidence, assurance) that money will meet your needs and make you happy.

Love of money is the alternative to faith in God’s future grace. It is faith in future human resources. Therefore the love of money, or trust in money, is the underside of unbelief in the promises of God. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters . . . You cannot serve God and money.”

You can’t trust in God and in money at the same time. Belief in one is unbelief in the other. A heart that loves money — that banks on money for happiness — is not banking on the future grace of God for satisfaction.