February 4, 2009

The Gift of Grace by Faith, Not Earned, Not Deserved

I've read and started to write something about Romans 4:1-8 a few times now. I continue to get distracted by my sin and lack of time allowed for this. And since my last entry, I've not read much beyond this same few verses and a study book my wife and I started together 2 weeks ago. I've also started meeting Jordan and Stuart for some accountability. I got my butt kicked yesterday when I admitted my lack of time in the Word. I spoke to them about some of my frustrations and sins, and how through my time with them I realized that my whole life I've been a "good" person, staying way for the sins of the world (sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll). I told them I've reach a place where I've begun to realize there is no joy in my life. NONE!!! I hate what's happened to me in work. I hate my horrible relationship with God. My relationship with my wife and my family is suffering. I'm in this trial of financial strain. The people I work with cause me other trials and frustrations. I am in a dark place in my life.

Stuart reminded me that my salvation is not based on anything I've done, anything I've earned, anything I deserve. God saved me from my sin despite myself. And, what really hit my heart was when he reminded me God sees me through Christ's blood. I am not seen as a sinner anymore. Even though my sin is wrong and I need to turn from it and flee, God has forgiven me of my sins. Salvation is not based on the number of sins verses the number of good things I do. Salvation is not based on the quality of my life or weather or not I live a "good" life. My salvation comes from God, the gift he gave by faith in Him when He called me as His own.

And now I read Romans 4:1-8. Abraham was not justified by his works but by his faith. "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Verses 7 and 8 are a quote of Psalms 32:1,2. "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgive, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."

Why does it take so much to get our attention? Why do we make it so hard to pray and read the word of God? Why do we not long to keep our relationship strong with God? In the study I'm doing with my wife, last nights lesson was on prayer and its importance in keeping the communication going with God. It said, "Relationships, whether human or divine, must be cultivated and maintained if they are to be vibrant and meaningful." We have to spend time every day with our loving Master. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 "pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. This is God's will for you (me).

One more text. Stuart texted this to me yesterday after our breakfast meeting. Psalm 69:1-2, 14-15. Mire=crap. "Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me." "Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the the pit close its mouth over me."

Praise God for His Word. It is powerful and alive.
Praise God for His People. They have the power to encourage and guide and point others to Christ.
Praise God for His Grace. It is an unearned, undeserved gift.