Saturday, February 25, 2017

Grace, Faith and Glory, Part 1

Robert has graciously agreed to write an article to post on Assembly Quest: "Grace, Faith and Glory". This is Part 1.

John 1:16 ‘for of his fulness we all have received, and grace upon grace’.

Romans 1:17 ‘for righteousness of God is revealed therein, on the principle of faith, to faith: according as it is written, but the just shall live by faith’.

2 Corinthians 3:18 ‘But we all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit’.

Each year Hannah visited her son Samuel at the time of sacrifice and she brought with her a new coat. She automatically assumed that as another year had run its course he would have outgrown last year’s coat. This leads us to the question; what spiritual coat are we wearing? Do we have on something from the 2017 collection or do people see us wearing the same old thing each year? In other words, have we made any progress from year to year?

The verses quoted above remind us that great progress is available to each of us — progress in grace, faith and glory.

When we read the statement, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, we feel encouraged. How different was the manifestation of grace and truth in a Person from that of the law given on tables of stone. However, in most Christian circles, that encouragement has been taken far beyond the original intention of the verse. For in the mind of many believers, grace modifies the truth; grace reduces the truth; grace blunts the edge of the truth. As an old friend of mine used to say, ‘the saints think a gracious man is one who knows the truth but will not hold them to it’.

As we read through John’s gospel we clearly see that the truth was never modified or reduced by Christ. He made demands upon men and women that were impossible for the sinful nature to meet. ‘Marvel not that I say unto thee, ye must be born again’; ‘rise take up thy bed and walk’; ‘he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in him’.

When faced with such Divine demands, we might well be tempted to wish for the days of the law. ‘Thou shalt’: ‘thou shalt not’ presents a much simpler way of life. I believe that’s why there is so much desire for law keeping in our day. The question pages of a well-known Christian magazine is filled up every year with questions beginning with the phrase, what should the Christian do about...? It makes life so much easier when we are told what to do!

I suggest however that the true relationship between law and grace is that grace supports us to receive and practice the truth. So Nicodemus was born again; the man lame for 38 years stood up and walked; the disciples ate and drank of the blood of Christ and found themselves dwelling in Him!

But to receive grace we need to feel our need of it. Paul prayed the prayer that you and I would pray when confronted with a ‘thorn in the flesh’ — Lord take it away! He prayed three times and then discovered that the Lord had a better proposal — ‘my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness’. So from time to time he would arrive to speak in a city and he must often have looked weak and pathetic. But when the weak man began to speak, the power of God became very evident.  So he settled into a way of life where he gloried in his weakness so that the power of God could be seen.

And should we feel overwhelmed by what the truth is currently demanding from us, John assures us that His grace is without limit. For each of us in 2017 there is ‘grace upon grace’.


Susan said...

Thank you for this perfectly timed article. "But to receive grace we need to feel our need of it." Oh yeah - I'm feeling it!

Rodger said...

" When I find the word comes to me, I cannot say "I cannot." God says these things, and as sure as He says it, there is power given to me to do the thing He speaks of. These exhortations scare people, but are entirely met in that way. To the overcoming one Christ says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear," not to him that shall overcome. The person becomes an overcomer. Do not say, I cannot overcome. Has the word come to you? That word brings power with it. Every command comes to irritate the unconverted; but when sheltered in Christ it comes with the power of God, and there is power because God has put it on His own people." (GVW)

Thank you, Robert. So fundamental, and yet so easily lost; or never really known.

HandWrittenWord said...

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him;
but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
(Romans 10:4)

Susan said...

In Christ there is infinite grace. So thankful for His "grace upon grace" - one grace following another grace!
Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1

Anonymous said...

For 2017:

Grace for the Last Days

Second Timothy contemplates the difficulties that the saints have to meet "in the last days," when "men shall be lovers of their own selves . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." In the midst of all the "perilous times," the man of God is to be "strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 2:1). This is the divine safeguard to sustain him amidst a worthless profession, where the mere Christian professor is little different morally from the heathen.

In the first chapter of this epistle we read that God "hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (verse 9). This divine grace that is in Christ Jesus directs our thoughts to God's eternal purpose; and amidst all the unreality of the last days it is establishing to know that nothing can fail of all that God has purposed for His own glory and the honour of His dear Son. So that the grace that is in Christ Jesus links us with what is eternal and stable, and which cannot be affected by the ruin of the testimony committed to man in responsibility. If we are strong in this grace, the eternal grace of God in Christ, we shall not be moved by human failure, though we shall not be insensible to it. JND


Robert said...

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The grace that saves us is the grace that teaches us.

Susan said...

Amen, Robert, Amen!!!

HandWrittenWord said...

"The grace that saves us is the grace that teaches us."

Well said, Robert! And Titus 2:11-14 clearly outlines precisely WHAT this grace teaches us. And verse 15 goes on to say:

"These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."

Susan said...

"These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
Churches in my area are seeker, emergent or charismatic or a combination of these false movements. I left the visible church (mainline denomination) in 2002 after rejection in attempting to "speak the truth in love".

Rodger said...

I was thinking of 2 Peter 3:17-18:
Ye* therefore, beloved, knowing [these] things before, take care lest, being led away along with the error of the wicked, ye should fall from your own stedfastness: but grow in grace, and in [the] knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and to [the] day of eternity. Amen.

The contrasting "but" is of all importance. Positive growth in the grace that presents Christ for us, and us availing ourselves of Him in all points, as we increase in knowledge of Him, that is the divine preservative from being drawn away when all else is.

HandWrittenWord said...

Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.
(Hebrews 13:13-15)

Anonymous said...

Yes Rodger and HandWrittenWord
Outside the camp, inside the veil - Susan

Robert said...

The man born blind in John 9 was cast out of the religious camp and found that Christ was already there waiting for him.

Susan said...

Hey Guys, I was looking up 2 Timothy 2:1 at Stem Publishing on ""Being strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" and found this by Darby. On a side note, this article seems to indicate that Darby believed the sign gifts had ceased which we had discussed on a previous post. Your thoughts?

Robert said...

Susan and HandWrittenWord -outside the camp - the man who was born blind in John 9 was cast out by the religious world but found that Christ was already in the outside place waiting for him!

I re-read the previous post. It seems to me that this quotation represents what Darby thought about the cessation of gift but in the other quotation he is holding the door open for the continuation of the gift of healing in our day. I would be of a similar mind except I don't believe in the gift of healing but in the God of healing. He is still Jehovah Ropheca, the Lord that healeth. But he does not need to gift anyone to do that in our day.

Rodger said...

I find the same principle in Ephesians 1:6-9: "to [the] praise of [the] glory of His grace, wherein He has taken us into favour in the Beloved: in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offences, according to the riches of His grace; which He has caused to abound towards us in all wisdom and intelligence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself..."
We are made intelligent through His grace. But if we are not consciously in grace, shall we have the intelligence?

Susan said...

Robert said "Christ was already in the outside place waiting for him!"

Rodger said "We are made intelligent through His grace. But if we are not consciously in grace, shall we have the intelligence?"

Glorious truth and grace! God opens our eyes. God opens our mind.

Robert said "I don't believe in the gift of healing but in the God of healing." I believe that also.

HandWrittenWord said...

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
But you did not learn Christ in this way,
if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
(Ephesians 4:17-24)

Susan said...

"And should we feel overwhelmed by what the truth is currently demanding from us, John assures us that His grace is without limit. For each of us in 2017 there is ‘grace upon grace’."

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4: 16).

Robert said...

A long time ago I learned from JND that we are not to come and ask for mercy or grace. We come to obtain and find what is already waiting for us. We have a Great High Priest who knows every circumstance of our life even before we do!

HandWrittenWord said...

Susan -- yes, indeed!

For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
(Philippians 3:3)

Susan said...

Wow, Robert! I never "saw" Hebrews 4:16 that way - that we obtain and find what is already waiting for us!!!!!
We are waiting for Him, and He is waiting for us!!!!!

HandWrittenWord said...

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
(Revelation 22:17)

He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)

"We are waiting for Him, and He is waiting for us!" Beautifully stated, Susan.