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Thursday, January 6, 2022

God's wonderful grace

 

Grace is the  word of triumph in the Gospel of the New Covenant.

Grace is God's undeserved favour, in spite of who we are, or where we have been or what we have done. Grace is God's Holy Spirit giving us a new start (born again) on God's terms and by His strength.

It does not eliminate repentance – the need "to turn to God from idols".

It is not the modern psychology that says 'you are ok as you are'.

God's grace grants complete forgiveness.

     "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every wrong."       Bible – 1 John1

God's grace sets us free from Satanic domination.

      "By grace you are saved, through faith"   Ephesians 2

God's grace gives us the gift of eternal life without works.

     "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."     Romans 6

God's grace brings us into complete acceptance with a Holy God.

      "Accepted in the Beloved one"      Ephesians 1

A thinking person will ask – 'But how?  I must do my best for judgement day'  -      no.    Grace depends on God , not on us!!

How  can God forgive?    -   by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

How can we overcome the Devil? – by the resurrection victory of Jesus.

How can God promise eternal life to stumbling followers? – because life is in His Son.

How can rebels become part of God's family? Because God is Love.

 

Because of God's activity in grace, we can choose to be more than conquerors through Him who loved us.   Romans 8

May encourage you to read the Bible references given, in their context, to discover the wonderful love, mercy and grace of God to us today. If you do not have a Bible , contact me   johnmckee@internode.on.net

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Totally up to date

 

Making sense of the Bible 5

New expectations:  Many wanted to make the Gentile converts into Jewish adherents. i.e.  committed to Torah laws and traditions. This wasn't working so the Acts15 conference was called. Paul and Barabbas described the transformation of ungodly heathens to Christ followers. Peter related to the elders how God taught him not to call God fearing Gentiles unclean (Acts 10). James connected the Divine interest in Gentiles from the Old Testament prophecies.

So the conclusion of the elders and apostles was to write the new terms and expectations of converted Gentiles.

1   "Abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols '   - worship

2   ' Abstain from blood and things strangled'   -   food

3   ' Abstain from sexual immorality '     - morals

These were significant in the  Gentile context, but please observe what was not included – Sabbath keeping, clean/unclean food, visiting the temple for festivals, offering sacrifices, vows, racial expectations, central government....

For many Jewish zealots, this was not good enough, and Paul was persecuted by them to the end of his life. Peter summarized the situation very well:-

"We believe that we will be saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus , just as they will"  (Acts 15:11)

Notice the word GRACE -  That means that Jews and Gentiles would be accepted on equal term by God and by one another.

Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ – faith in Him the Son of God.

They preached this good news throughout the world  even to Spain and India. The Gentile believers faced many problems, so Paul with others gave direct instructions that reflected the holiness of God (repentance) and the overflowing grace (undeserved favour and forgiveness) that changes an ungodly Gentile into a follower of Jesus Christ the Lord. This is not presented as a new set of rules, but a new life, led by the Holy Spirit to live and love as the Lord Jesus.

The same Holy God of the Old Testament, honoured in a different way – grace removing sin and radiating the glory of His Son (2 Corinthians 3)

May I now encourage you to read the history of ' Acts', followed by the explanation of the Gospel in 'Romans'.  Then read the instructions to these groups of believers who like us were living in an ungodly society. You will be blessed.