Love and Grace

Have you sinned against God? We all have! Did you feel shame and guilt for what you did? Been there. Done that, too! If you didn’t, that’s a problem. Did you wish for a way out from under your yoke of slavery to sin? I did, and I hope you did, too, or that you do. Did someone share with you the way out from your slavery (addiction) to sin? I hope so, and I hope you took it. I did.

Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? I am! Do you know what it means to be a follower of Christ? I hope so. Are you walking in fellowship with him, following him wherever he leads you, and doing what his Word teaches us? I hope your answer is “Yes.” If not, I surely hope you will. It is the ONLY way!

The Lord Jesus led me to read Ephesians 1 (Select vv. ESV).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. Vv. 3-4

Did you know, as a believer in Jesus Christ, that you were chosen in him even before God created the world? We are in Christ, by faith in him, because he chose us, called us, drew us, and persuaded us to believe in him. And, then because we believed; because we had a heart response that said “Yes” to Jesus Christ, and to his will and purpose for our lives.

But, did you also know what we were chosen for? It wasn’t just for forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God. It was that we should be holy and blameless before him. So, how does that happen? How are we made blameless in his sight?

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Vv. 7-10

We can’t be holy and blameless before God apart from faith in Jesus Christ. None of us is righteous in our own merit, not one! We have all sinned and have come up short of attaining God’s divine approval. So, there is nothing we can do, in and of ourselves, to earn or to deserve God’s divine approval.

We also could not ever be holy and blameless before God if Jesus Christ, God the Son, had not left his throne in heaven, come to earth, taken on human flesh, and died on a cross for our sins, and been raised back to life.

So, what happened when he died? He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). Thus, when he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him. When he rose from the dead, he rose victorious over our sins, and Satan, and death. He conquered the power of Satan and sin, which was holding us in prison, so that we could be set free from slavery (addiction) to sin, and so we could walk in his righteousness.

Although we were separate from God, due to the sin of Adam, in the Garden of Eden, Jesus, through his shed blood on a cross, bought us back for God, i.e. he redeemed us, so that now we can be in true fellowship with God.

So, what does it take to have this applied to our lives? And, what does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ?

True Faith

What I can tell you is that faith in Jesus Christ is not a mere intellectual assent to who he is/was, and to what he did for us in dying for our sins, and in being resurrected from the dead. It is also not an emotional decision we make just because we want to escape hell and go to heaven when we die. It is also not mere words we repeat after someone in a prayer, after which we are congratulated that we are now part of the family of God, and guaranteed that heaven is our eternal resting place (home).

So, what is faith? With respect to our salvation, the Bible teaches that it is surrender to God, a yielding of our lives over to Jesus Christ, and leaving our old lives of sin behind us to follow Jesus Christ with our lives. Thus, when we believe in Jesus Christ, we die with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, and we are resurrected to new lives in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 6:35-66; Ac. 26:16-18; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 2:20).

So, when we trust him to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives, to deliver us from both the punishment of and slavery to sin, we are born again of the Spirit of God to new lives in Christ Jesus. We are made righteous, holy and blameless in Christ Jesus by God’s grace, through Jesus Christ’s blood shed for us on a cross, and through our faith in him. But, as we see from these verses above, this is not just positional righteousness, but it is to be lived out in our lives, in the power of the Spirit, on a daily basis.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. Vv. 11-12

Many people will tell you that “being saved” just means that Jesus took the punishment for your sin, so you would be free from that punishment, so you’d be forgiven your sins, and so now you have the hope of heaven when you die. Some of them will also tell you that God requires nothing of you – no submission, no repentance (turning from sin) and no obedience. And, that is because they equate these things with works-based salvation.

But, if we study the scriptures, we soon learn that the first part of this is only a half-truth, and the second half of this is an outright lie.

The Bible teaches us that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). It teaches us that he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15). And, it teaches us that he died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the Spirit, but according to the flesh. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have the hope of eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17).

As well, his grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt or without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).

This is the purpose of his will, to which we have been predestined, that we might walk in holiness and righteousness, and not just be positionally made righteous by God’s grace, through faith in Christ. It is also that we might be to the praise of his glory, not just because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, or in our lives in delivering us from our slavery to sin, but because of what he does in our lives every day in empowering and in strengthening us to live godly, holy and righteous lives, pleasing to him.

I Sing of His Mercy / An Original Work
Based off Psalm 32 / April 10, 2014

Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven
By the blood of Jesus Christ.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does
Not count against them; freedom found.
When, in silence, I did not confess
My sin to You; had no strength.
Then I owned up to my sin and
You forgave and cleansed me within.

Therefore let the godly pray to You;
Draw near to You; grace they’ll find.
They will not be o’ertaken by afflictions,
But in Christ peace abounds.
Lord, You are my hiding place.
I find my refuge in You secure.
You protect me from all evil.
You give songs of vict’ry in You.

Lord, You teach me to walk in Your ways;
Counsel me in love, I know.
Help me to not be stubborn and
Unwilling to follow in Your truth.
Thank You for Your love and mercy.
I put my trust in You always.
I rejoice in my Lord and
I sing of Him throughout all my days.

Thursday, December 14, 2017, 5:39 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for your love and grace, for your life given for us on a cross, so that we could be free from addiction to sin, and so we could be free to walk in your holiness. Amen!

15 thoughts on “Love and Grace

  1. Hi Sue, the scriptures that you choose, the words that you say, are all correct. I know you know your Bible. I’ve read a good number of your posts now and sometimes you come so close but I still find something lacking, not at all in your faith or understanding but more so in your delivery. I deliberately chose to stop following you but God keeps putting you back in my mind so here I am, following you again. I previously decided to not continue to follow you because I did not wish to say something that might cause you to be hurt, so I thought it best that I remove myself from the equation. But I do feel compelled so say something so here goes.
    Please accept what I say as words given to you in love. I am very mindful that those who make judgements will be judged in like manner and that would be me that I’m talking about.
    You’ve made your point, repeatedly, many many times. Change it up a little, you acknowledge that none of us are perfect, including yourself, but the image that you hold up is your success and the failures of others by comparison. Nothing that you say when quoting scripture or even explaining it is scripturally wrong, it’s more the inference that is conveyed that you have achieved what we have not and by we I mean, those other than yourself that have not achieved your level of obedience to God. You can’t write off all believers who have sold out to what you call the government controlled church. God’s grace is not stopped by imperfection. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well He dealt with initial requirements, which was that she would understand who He was and that He could give her living water for eternal life. Remember that Samaria was not Jerusalem, Jesus acknowledged this but He still spoke to her and offered eternal life to her through faith in Him. You’re never going to find a “perfect” church because the people in the church aren’t perfect. It’s almost like because they have rejected you, you will reject them. You know that is not right. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to accept and accommodate weaker Christians, not separate ourselves from them. I have a daughter who continually gets fired from positions that she accepts. The common denominator is my daughter, not the various supervisors of the jobs she takes. Perhaps it is an attitude that you display that others find objectionable. I got slapped on the wrist for doing this myself many years ago, you can read about it on this post of mine here: https://bcooper.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/its-not-just-what-you-say/

    If I have misjudged you Sue, I am sorry for doing so and please accept my apology. I have not walked in your shoes, I have not been exposed to what you have been exposed to and I most certainly do not presume to know your heart. I only offer what I see as one sitting outside looking in. I acknowledge that I could be wrong.

    I would only ask that you take what I have said into consideration. I shall not speak of this again unless you ask me to do so.
    May God richly bless you and yours with His grace and love.

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    • Bruce, Thank you for taking the time to respond to this writing the Lord Jesus has given to me to write. Thank you, too, for sharing your thoughts with me. I am praying through what you said to me. So, let me ask you for some specifics here. You say, “but the image that you hold up is your success and the failures of others by comparison.” Where, in this writing, do you believe that I did I did that? Please quote me where you believe I did that, because I am not seeing it. This will help give me some context to what you are expressing here so that I have something specific I can take to the Lord in prayer. Thank you. Sue

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    • Regarding your seeming suggestion that the reason I have faced abuse, mistreatment and /or persecution from those in leadership positions is because I am the one at fault, and that I am the common denominator, let’s have that discussion at some of the recent blog posts where I have also talked about some of these situations, such as the one just previously mentioned plus:

      https://runwithit.blog/2017/12/13/dangers-of-compassion/

      https://runwithit.blog/2017/12/11/an-addicts-spouse/

      https://runwithit.blog/2017/12/11/giving-up/

      Thanks! Just trying to keep these discussions in the right context and not try to cover all of these here where we are talking about God’s love and grace to us in delivering us out of slavery to sin.

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      • Hi Sue, I’m not going to go further into those areas, if you deem them as unjustified then so be it. In the link I sent you previously for that post of mine, the Lord’s response to me was that sometimes we set up how the person will respond by the manner in which we approach them. The Samaritan woman being the case in point. I don’t want to get into a shooting match, if you disagree just say so and we’ll leave it at that. Blessings!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sue, I’m going to respond to your question like Jesus often did, I will ask you a question. Where in your post do you cover the part where one is deemed already being perfect while one is being made holy or being sanctified as in Hebrews 10:14? And if you will indulge me, why of all the things that I said, this is the only thing that you want me to clarify? Did you go through the post link I shared with you? If the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:12-13 or Romans 7:23-25 had not attained perfection due to his inherent sinful nature, where is the progressive process explained? I indicated to you that your quotations where all correct and they are, walking in the spirit is our goal, just like being perfect like our Father in heaven is our goal but asking for forgiveness for our sins which so easily besets us as in 1 John 1:8-10 is also part of the progressive process. Aiming for perfection is always our goal but falling short is also part of our reality due to our inherent sinful nature. Understanding that all Christians go through various stages of walking in the spirit as we progressively die to self is a reality and accepting this in ourselves and others is a necessity. Let me know if I have answered your question Sue.

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    • Bruce, I read your blog post at the link you provided. With regard to how Jesus approached the woman at the well, if you will go back and read the beginning two paragraphs of this post, and to do so prayerfully, asking God what he thinks about it, I believe you will see that I, as well, took a very gentle approach to the subject of deliverance from slavery to sin, of God’s love and grace to us. In fact, I answered some of my own questions, to let the reader know where I am, that I am not asking anything that I am not willing to answer myself, and to give testimony of God’s saving grace in my own life.

      The approach was to let the readers acknowledge for themselves if they believed they had sinned against God, if they had felt guilty for their sin, if they had then hoped for deliverance from their bondage to sin, and if someone had pointed them to the way of freedom, and, if so, if they had taken it. And, then it asked if the readers believed in Jesus Christ, and if they knew what it meant to be a follower of Christ, and if they were walking in fellowship with him. And, then I said I hoped so, for this was the only way.

      I believe God gave me these words to say, and that he gave them to me the way he would have said them, and that they very much model the approach Jesus took with the Samaritan woman. And, then he went on to tell her what she needed, the living water which would satisfy. And, that is what I went on to say, too. For, if I am going to give someone the hope of being delivered from slavery to sin, I have to tell them the truth. There was nothing unkind in what I said. I shared what the Bible teaches, because many are giving people a false hope of salvation based on lies. Lies are never kind. We should speak the truth, but to do so in love. Love tells the truth, though, and it does not give people a false hope. Sue

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bruce, the process you speak of is all throughout this writing, but not just in the spoken words, but in the scripture references, too. There is no indication here that one must be perfect. In fact, if you read most of what God gives me to write on this blog, you will see that I often refer to the fact that we, as believers in Christ, are still capable of sin, and that we probably will sin, but that when we do sin that we have an advocate with the Father, which is Jesus Christ, and that daily, by the Spirit we are to be putting those sins to death, daily dying to sin and self and walking in the Spirit and not walking in the flesh.

    A walk is just that, it is the process of dying to sin and living to God, putting off sin and putting on Christ daily. It is not perfection. It is confessing your sins, being cleansed of your sins and not walking in darkness while claiming to have fellowship with God. These are not my words. They are scripture. Jesus doesn’t demand sinless perfection, otherwise he would not have had to die for our sins. But, he does demand that we not walk (in lifestyle) according to flesh, but according to the Spirit, otherwise we will die in our sins. This is the reality, and it is the message I must share, because it is truth, and because if people have the idea that God is ok with them walking in sin, they need to know he is not, because their eternity depends on it.

    With regard to Romans 7, it must be read in the light of Romans 6 and Romans 8. If you interpret Romans 7 to mean that Paul was continually giving in to the flesh, and that he was walking in sin, by the flesh, then what he said in Romans 8 would be a big fat lie! It would mean that every time he told others that they should imitate his lifestyle, that he was telling them it was ok to walk in sin. Romans 8 makes it clear that Paul was delivered from slavery to sin, and he makes it clear that if we still walk in slavery to sin, and not according to the Spirit, that we will die in our sins. This isn’t just a goal we must one day reach, this is the reality of what it means to be in Christ, by faith in him, and if we are still walking (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, in the darkness, that we don’t have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).

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    • Hi Sue, all of what you say is true. And no, Paul was not constantly giving into the flesh but he was constantly aware of the conflict, and as you noted, he did not claim to have reached perfection. As you recall, in my initial response to your post I said that I may be wrong. I just felt in my heart that God wanted me to share with you the necessity of being aware that there are stages and degrees to which a Christian progresses and that sometimes we can set up a negative response in others by the way in which we frame our interaction with them. When God clearly said to me, “What did you expect him to say/” I instantly knew what He meant. I’ve never forgotten it. If it doesn’t apply to you then I sincerely apologize. If I have hurt you in any way I am sincerely sorry for doing that, please know that was never my intention. No one knows what you have been through but you and God and I don’t presume to be God, nor your judge. I’m sure you could find something without too much difficulty in the posts that I put out to critique me on. I hope you can find it within your heart to forgive me.
      Love in Christ
      Bruce

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce, be assured that you did not hurt me by your words. Did I feel, in some of the things which you said, that you were judging me unfairly? Yes! But, I forgive you for that. Yet, do I feel that I, in my own self, always communicate perfectly? NO, absolutely not! God is still growing me in that area.

        But, did I face abuse, rejection and persecution from those in positions of leadership or authority over me because I did something wrong? NO, with maybe one exception. Does that mean that I articulated everything in the best way possible? NO! But, it means that their basis for rejecting, mistreating, abusing or persecuting me was not due to any fault of mine. I shared some of those stories in the links provided to you. But, that is only a few of them.

        Regarding this blog God has given to me, the Lord called me to this ministry for a purpose, and he equips and empowers me for the work to which he has called me. I don’t choose the scriptures or the message or the songs. God does. He puts a song in my mind, he leads me to the passage of scripture, and I pray that he gives me the words he wants me to say. Does that mean that my words are never a part of this? What I believe there is that the Holy Spirit guides me in what to say, i.e. the message, and I believe he will stop me, and has, if I start writing in the flesh, and then I will delete those words and start over and just wait for the Lord to put the right words in my brain. But, I can’t guarantee that the flesh never gets in there, but I pray it does not.

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      • You know how the Holy Spirit leads you to do what you do, well I felt the Holy Spirit lead me to share with you what I shared. I had even stopped following you because I didn’t want to share what I felt led to share, but you kept coming into my mind and my prayers, so we survived and maybe became a little closer. I would like to think so. I see your honesty and that’s all anyone can ask for. I’m sorry Sue, heaven only knows what God had in mind but I felt I had to, so I did. Trust me, I very seldom do something like this, almost never. I’m going with you’re still my sister in the Lord and I may have blown it but you forgave me. Thank you for your understanding and thank you for forgiving me. Many blessings on you and yours.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce, I have no problems at all with you sharing with me what you believe God laid on your heart to share. Maybe God wanted these misunderstandings to be cleared up and for you not to just write me off because you disagreed with me on some points, and you were afraid to voice those to me. It is not in his will that we, as followers of Christ, should let our differences separate us unless what is separating us is that one of us is living in unrepentant sin against God. Then, that is another matter entirely. And, the Bible speaks clearly on that subject.

        I don’t want you to feel that you cannot disagree with me, though. You can. I would just ask that you consider what I have to say to you prayerfully, to see if, biblically speaking, there is merit in what I am sharing, even if it disagrees with what you have always believed. And, I will endeavor to do likewise. Agreed?

        I do want to share two more links with you, that you may have already read, but that may help increase your understanding of why God allowed in my life the things he did and how that has been instrumental in giving me what I need, to do what God has called me to do. They are:

        https://runwithit.blog/2017/11/19/i-cant/

        https://runwithit.blog/2017/11/17/my-jonah-story/

        I also don’t know if you revisited the one on “Please Don’t Hate Me,” but in a discussion with another responder, I shared maybe 3 stories in detail of how I was mistreated by those in leadership positions. Maybe this will help you understand where I am coming from, and that what I said is true, that I did not cause these to happen. Not saying my communications were perfect, but that the fault was not mine, not in these cases.

        Interestingly enough, I have had times in my Christian walk where I failed miserably, where I ran from God instead of to him, but it was not these times that I was mistreated or abused or persecuted. They left me alone then, for the most part. But, as soon as I began walking with the Lord again, then the persecutions began again. I came up for air only to be pushed down under by those who were supposed to be lifting me up. But, this was all part of my strengthening and getting me ready for this present ministry. I had to finally get to the place where I would no longer let these situations undo me, but to where I would always turn to the Lord and keep obeying him no matter what. But, that turning point didn’t happen until 2004.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed Sue and I will check out the links you gave me and also the other comments that you have indicated. Thanks again for your understanding and patience with me. Blessings.

        Liked by 1 person

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