Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Andrew Blank: Growing in Grace

Here's a great post from a friend of mine [via]. 

"Do you ever find yourself getting excited when someone starts talking about God and his inexhaustible love for you? If not, I would encourage you to keep reading. Honestly, I can’t say that I always have. The journey that God has brought me through has taken a lifetime and He is still working on me, even now. I would like to share a few thoughts that hopefully might make Jesus Christ, His Love, and His Grace more real to you.

I was recently reading Romans 8 and came across a couple of incredible truths. To put this in context, at the end of chapter 7, Paul is talking about his struggle with sin. He mentions how he desires very strongly to do good, yet, at the same time, his flesh fights against his desire to do good. It is easy to see that there is an ongoing battle between the flesh and the mind (Romans 7:21-25). I find this to be true in my life as well. One of the worst feelings for me is the feeling after I sin. It usually happens when I start thinking that I have fought long enough and hard enough, and without even noticing evil creeps in very subtly and puts me flat on my face. Sad to say, my first instinct is usually to want to run away from God and hide from him. I know what I have done is wrong, and even though God already knows my sin, I still feel the need to hide my face from Him.

However, it is at these times in my life when I find God to show Himself more powerful, and more marvelous than I could ever imagine. As we move from chapter 7 to chapter 8, we discover a heartwarming truth that displays God’s power in an amazing way. Romans 8 starts off in verse one by saying this,“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Isn’t this a wonderful affirmation of the love that God in Christ has for us? But it doesn’t stop there. The next few verses read, 

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:2-4 ESV)

I think that what Paul says here is such a breath of fresh air, especially for a sinner like myself. It is incredible to think that my God loves me unconditionally, even when I fail Him miserably. When I run to God, not only in the times when I am obedient, but even in my worst moments of sin and disappointment, He comes through in an amazing way by reminding me of His promise to me through His Son; that we are no longer condemned for our sin, and that we now have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. Another thing it does is grow my love and appreciation for Christ. I love Jesus. I don't say that lightly. When I think about what Christ has accomplished for me by living a perfectly sinless life, and by freely laying down His life all the while suffering horribly on a cross, something that I could never do myself, I can't help but want to shout for joy and praise His wonderful name! Pat Sczebel wrote a song that describes my feelings perfectly. Read what the first verse and chorus of the song has to say and think about the words' meaning as you read them: 

"Jesus, Thank You"

The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend
The agonies of Calvary
You the perfect Holy One crushed Your Son
Who drank the bitter cup reserved for me

By Your perfect sacrifice I've been brought near
Your enemy You've made Your friend
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace
Your mercy and Your kindness know no end

Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank you
The Father's wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank you
Once Your enemy 
Now seated at your table
Jesus, thank you

The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news that tells us that He has died on the cross for our sins, yet he conquered the grave and rose again 3 days later (1 Corinthians 15:4). He offers this gift freely to all if you will place your faith in Him as your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9). I strongly desire that others may come to know Him and His inexhaustible grace! It doesn't get any better than this!"

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