Monday, December 15, 2014

HE SAYS YOU ARE BLESSED by Gary Wilkerson

Many Christians won’t admit it, but deep down they believe God’s grace is too good to be true. They think it buys them too much freedom so they hold on to their sense of works because they are convinced it is the only thing that will keep them on a righteous path.

Paul anticipates this thinking, which ends in dead works: “Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you” (Romans 6:15-17, NLT).

What is the teaching Paul refers to here? It is that we are now owned by the grace of Jesus Christ! Thus, we no longer continue sinning as we did before, because that is no longer our identity: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Finally, Paul says, “My dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God” (Romans 7:4).

The new life we have been given—the life of Christ Himself—resurrects us to serve Him in freedom, peace and joy. Unshackled from exhausting works of obligation, we now can shout with David, “Lord, I delight to do Your will!” And we can’t help but witness about Jesus to a world that is hungry, desperate, starved for His grace. In a word: Grace produces results!

Friend, you can’t wring life out of something that’s dead. Only Jesus has the power to resurrect our old, dead man into new life. That kind of grace is incomprehensible, so far beyond our understanding that we will never fully grasp it in this life. Likewise, we’ll never be able to attain it on our own. As Paul writes, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Note that last phrase: You are known completely by the Lord—even amid your messed-up life of mourning and brokenness—and He says you are blessed. You see, the new life you have isn’t the result of attaining but of receiving. So, will you lay down your scales and walk in the new life Jesus has graced you with? He has already spoken His blessing over you . . . so receive it!