God’s Mercy and Grace (part 2)

Last week, we began a discussion about the mercy and grace of God. We learned about what the terms mean, and we started to look at how realization of God’s mercy and grace can impact every area of life.

As we see ourselves on the other side of the cross, we start to comprehend the reality that we are not still trying to get to the finish line; we have arrived.

Today I’d like to continue this discussion, and explicate these ideas further. As we continue examining God’s mercy and grace, we will see more of what He has accomplished, and more of who we are in Him.

God’s Mercy and Grace (part 1)

Mercy and grace, two wonderful gifts that Jesus has given to us. His mercy and grace are always available to us, and they are always active; never dormant or stale. Yet oftentimes we find ourselves feeling as though God’s mercy has somehow left us. Sometimes we think that His grace has abandoned us in the midst of a crisis. I understand those thoughts and feelings, and I’ve felt them myself many times before. I know that it can be very disconcerting, frightening and even depressing; again I have experienced all of that.

But is it actually true that God’s mercy has left us? Is it true that God’s grace has abandoned us? It can be difficult to even confront that thought, because on the one hand, we are uncomfortable even contemplating it. Yet even so, no problem of any significance is ever solved by ignoring it. We can and should approach the problem directly, and we shouldn’t be fearful about it. For if we do indeed believe as we proclaim that “God is good all the time”, then whatever answer we find, we can be certain that it will be good and beneficial for us.

So today I’d like to have a discussion about the mercy and grace of God, and perhaps tackle some of the more palpable aspects of it, both negative and positive.

Behold Jesus and Be Transformed

Do you want real transformation? Real miracles? Real change? There is a very interesting section of scripture that explains how real transformation occurs, and I’m exited to share it with you today.

So many people are in need of help; spiritually, emotionally and physically. And all of it comes through one specific channel and one specific source. And it’s much much simple than you may realize. Let’s get started.

Did Jesus Really Finish the Work? (Being Secure in Christ)

One of the biggest areas that I struggled with in the past, was the idea that I was waging a constant battle to “improve myself”.

– Improve my performance – to commit less sinful actions

– To look more like Jesus, meaning basically the same thing, to commit less sinful actions

– To never be comfortable, but always in this constant war to try and become what God wanted me to be.

This feeling was spurned on by the Christians around me who said things like: If you’re comfortable in your Christianity, you’re doing it wrong. A phrase which always struck me as a bit of a dangling-carrot. Did Jesus die to subject us to further futility? Is the work complete or isn’t it? Did Jesus only perform a half-redemption?

I have since come to realize that I am not alone in these questions. And millions of Christians around the globe are on a mental and spiritual treadmill. Constantly running to try and reach an unreachable goal. Never being satisfied, and never feeling any comfort – because if they dared to, they would be a “lukewarm Christian” in their view.

Well, today we are going to examine this, as we have a discussion about being secure in Christ.

How to Be Righteous

Righteousness – it’s one of the main focuses of the Christian life, and many people are constantly striving towards the goal of being righteous; or being more righteous. There are entire books, study guides and conferences all centered around living righteously, and learning how to be more righteous.

There are countless numbers of Christians today who are on a quest to “better themselves”, to be more righteous, and be more like God and please Him. I used to be one of those people, as well. I know exactly how it feels, and it seems right; it seems like a very good thing. You may even be asking right now “why wouldn’t that be a good thing?! We need more righteous people, who want to please God!”

And I do agree that it is a very good thing for people to be righteous, and of course to please God – we all want that. However, the question isn’t really whether that’s a good thing or not; but rather how do we accomplish it?

You see, no-one is questioning the importance of being righteous, but rather where we diverge is how to be righteous. Because when you ask this question, most people immediately jump to their own works and performance, and what they need to do for God.

So today, we will be examining what the scriptures actually say about how to be righteous; and the answer may surprise you!

Your Part to Play in Salvation

One of the most common questions that I receive in relation to the Gospel of Grace, is “so you’re saying that I have nothing to do; no part to play?” – and I understand that reaction. The Gospel of Grace in Christ is completely opposite to the typical message of religion, which says that we must constantly work hard, struggle and strive to earn redemption, please God, serve Him, and even work to love Him! Whereas the Gospel of Grace testifies that Jesus has done the work, made the final sacrifice, and we simply receive what He has done as a free gift.

Having said that, I do want to address this question and clear up any confusion, because you do have a part to play… though it might not be what you expect. So join me today as we examine what your part in the Gospel of Grace in Christ, actually is.

The Backwards Mentality of Religion

I had a conversation with a gentlemen once who asked me what I did [for a job] – and I told him that I was a Gospel minister – to which he paused awkwardly, and then said “Oh, I’m not religious”. So I chuckled and said, “That’s okay neither am I!” – after that we each went our separate ways.

It wasn’t until three days later, that we met again and he said to me in a puzzled voice: “What did you mean, when you said that you weren’t religious?!”.

You see, religion is not at all the same thing, as having a relationship, a union with Christ. And sometimes I think that we use the words and say these phrases, but haven’t really stopped to consider what they mean, or what the implications of them are.

It may also surprise you to hear that a great number of Christians also do not understand these differences. And so we are going to explore this today, and look at how the mentality of religion, is actually quite backwards to the truth of the Gospel of Christ taught in the scripture. And right-away I need to mention that when I say “backwards mentality” – I am not using that term as slang for stupid or unintelligent; not at all…

What I am saying, is that there is a religious mentality among many Christians, that is actually 180 degrees opposite to what the scriptures actually teach, and what the Gospel of Christ actually says. And this is what we will be exploring (and exposing) in today’s study.

Jesus Has Given You New Clothes

Several times in the past, I have heard preachers say something along the lines of:

If you were going to meet royalty, you would put you best foot forward behavior, and you would wear your best suit! Well God is here now, and you should look your best for him, too!

In a certain way, these pastors are correct… we should look our best for God. The question is “how exactly do we accomplish that?” By what means and method do we “put on our best suit”? Where exactly can our best clothes be found – spiritually-speaking?

There are some who think that we must strive, struggle, and sweat, to work for God, and exercise our own force-of-will in order to look our best for God… but is that the truth?

Today we will answer these questions in this study.

Which Mountain Have You Come To?

There’s an interesting allegory within the books of Galatians and Hebrews, which speaks of two different “mountains”.

One mountain is Sinai, which represents the Old Covenant; the Law of Moses, with it’s many rules and regulations.
The other mountain is Zion, and represents the New Covenant; the Grace of Christ.

The question in the title of today’s study, is meant to be one of self-reflection and examination: which mountain have you come to? And as we look at these mountains today, we will see that only one of these two mountains is where God can be found today… and only one of these two mountains leads to life.

Join me today, as we examine this important topic.

Pictures of Jesus in the Beatitudes (part 7)

Welcome back to the 7th and final of our study series, looking at pictures of Jesus in the Beatitudes. Today we conclude with the last three verses of the Beatitudes – and while it is true that we have spent quite some time on them, I think that you will agree with me that it has been time well-spent; because it is always good when we see pictures of Jesus. Indeed this is the entire purpose of the scriptures (Luke 24:27, John 5:39), and this fact is something that we have studied previously also.

By seeing Jesus and more of His grace, His majesty, His splendor, power and love, it strengthens our own faith – our information of who He is, His character, His nature, and what He accomplished for us on the cross. And in-addition, as we see the truth of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished, we then also see our true selves… we see our real identity as new creations in Him; and this is the point of it all.

And today we continue seeing pictures of Jesus in the final section of the Beatitudes. Get ready, because this is going to be really good!