TruthInvestigate

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grace

What is it? When somebody was good to us and we didn’t deserve it. Do we get tired of hearing about grace? Have we heard the word so much that it has lost its sparkles? Probably, if we are tired of hearing about grace it is because we haven’t gotten any lately, or never did.

Grace is so good that the recipients of this form of love always talk about it. We talk about what we think about. We think about what we love. So we talk about what we love.

A super wealthy man pays off your car loan, thus relieving you of that stress. That’s grace. Wouldn’t you talk about it to others? He may never do it again, but that one time was enough. It was such a shock that it stuck deep into the halls of your memory for the rest of your life.

Grace is always a surprise. A powerful man, let’s say, the president of your company, selects you to receive a bonus and also the seat next to him at this year’s company picnic.

A father or mother invites a grown child over for dinner to try to patch up a difficult relationship, to apologize for mistakes done during childhood and to initiate a reconciliation, to ask the child forgiveness and bring relief to alienation and disconnection. Or, maybe, the roles are reversed and the child is asking forgiveness from the parent.

A well-off couple has put a lot of money into their home, but the market falls through just before they want to sell it, and you get it at a price that’s affordable, and it’s a really nice house. You never dreamed of having such a nice place.

All these are examples of grace.

Won’t they be the topic of many conversations from now on? Recipients have told me of these very experiences. And they spoke of them with a big smile. It was not a forced smile; no one told them they better rejoice, or should because it was their duty. Their joy was automatic, spontaneous, natural.

We expect Christians to be happy. Why? Because they have good, decent friends at church to hang out with? Because of human fellowship? Isn’t this what the secular world uses for happiness?

Is human friendship enough? No. That may be a secondary cause of Christian happiness and joy, but as soon as it becomes the primary cause, then all the joy goes away, and any appearance of Christian joy is then forced and fake.

Why are some Christians not as naturally happy as should be expected? It must be because God’s grace is not recognized and being experienced; it’s not in the forefront of their mind, not written in their forehead. The personableness and warmth of Jesus is not being exalted. His mercy and love are not being lifted up. I’ve heard of pastors who encourage their congregations to show love or to act happy, but the pastors never preached to them Jesus’ love. “This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.”

True, the congregation has a personal responsibility to study the grace of Christ, but if they have that duty, even more so does the pastor, and to share with them what he finds. True, he is only human, but he shouldn’t scold his flock for failing in his same failure. I would say, generally there is a pervasive ignorance concerning God’s grace and our life-or-death need to search it out.

So, can decent friends at church be the source of our happiness? No, God is the one sole primary source of joy because His grace never fails. His love is perpetual; a human’s is not. No matter how good the person; he is only a creature, not the infinite Creator and eternal Father.

Our Father’s love is a well that never goes dry; He is infinite and so is His love. But human love is finite and can never stand in the place of the primary source of anything. Only “Agape never faileth” (1Cor. 13:8). How many marriages run dry of love and end in unhappiness or divorce? They were not receiving of God’s eternal grace, and thus expended all that they had and became dry as the hills of Gilboa, which have neither dew nor rain.

The faultiness of human grace compared to the eternal nature of God’s grace is the reason Jeremiah exclaimed, “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” But, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” (Jer. 17: 5,7).

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” (Rev. 4:8). The angelic hosts not only talk of God’s holiness, they talk of His grace. “The four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps...
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy .... for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood.” (Rev. 5: 8,9). And they don’t just talk about God’s grace, they sing of it—constantly. “They rest not day and night,” singing this. (Rev. 4:8).

“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5: 11-13). God’s grace and mercy, forbearance and patience and kindness, form the glue that binds God’s kingdom to Himself, the foundation of the law of His government.

But what is this compared with the hereafter? There “are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:15-17. Desire of Ages, p. 331.

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