“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.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Grace is an offense

Grace is an offense. Grace is not love. Love does not offend; but grace does because it contains the element of demerit. Grace is love toward unworthy, selfish hearts. Grace is the appeal of God that alone can awaken the human, sin-filled heart to love in reciprocation, in obligation.

The offense comes from our natural, automatic misconception that the human heart is good and merciful and compassionate. When that misconception gets corrected, then that same human heart turns into a horrific, destructive tormenter toward the one who dared to correct it. Suddenly, we see ourselves differently than before. Through grace, we see ourselves do and say outrageous things we thought we could never do or say. We are what we didn’t think we were. Grace is very revealing. And uncomfortably so.

Grace is God’s powerful weapon against the powerful pride of sinners. It is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and o the joints and marrow, and is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). In every action of Old and New Testaments, it was grace, even if by rebuke, that allowed sinners to see their appalling characters. “The Lord…will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” (1 Cor. 4:5).

Here is where many have lost their lives. They clothed their correction in mercy, yet they suffered persecution and death. Why? Because their audience refused to hear the message that their lives were not acceptable to God. That their passion and humanism were like filthy rags; their “goodness is as the morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.” (Hos. 6:4).

Love apart from Law is nothing but emotion. It is imaginary; it is fantasy. While true love is a principle; it is based on principle. Therefore, to disregard the Law of God and still profess to love is to think of love in a different way than God thinks of it. It is a love that faints under the faintest trial. “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isa. 40:6-8).

Only love based upon the word of God and His Law withstands the fiercest blasts of the enemies. Only love born out of the Spirit’s furnace of affliction instills endurance and patience. Only heaven borne love remains after the dust settles. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1 Pet. 1:23-25). So, the sinner needs the furnace of affliction from grace or reproof to see the sinfulness of his nature.

Grace is more subtle than reproof. Rebuke is in your face; grace is in your heart. Rebuke is unvarnished, while grace is softer and gentler. God can do both, and has sent messengers to do both. But He prefers the gentler way, grace. Grace is what He really loves. But, in mercy to the rebellious sinner, He must humble the flagrant rebel in order to make him receptive to the gentler grace.

Before the Messiah came, the world suffered under 600 years of unrelenting paganism. Then it had a heart to need mercy, and its ears opened to the word of God’s grace. God sent His Son. But, everyone who was completely sold to the misconception of man’s basic natural goodness could never accept God’s grace. Grace’s insinuation that man was basically evil could only be rejected, and its tormenters of grace must be killed. All through the Dark Ages, the warfare against grace continued by the same group who had accepted the lie of man’s basic goodness. Out of the evil that proceeded from their hearts, some turned from their wickedness and came into God’s grace. But, Satan led the rest to adopt the most extreme profession of goodness—holiness. They would not only imagine themselves to be good and ethical, they would pretend to be holy. They would make the grandest profession of all, to be Christ’s right-hand men, His viceroy on Earth while He was away (maybe forever, as they thought).

“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 24:48-51).

Yet, despite the grandiose and bloody perfusion of deception, the usurping Vicar of Christ would only prove to the universe the power of God’s grace to reveal the darkness of the fallen human heart. This why God allowed the 1260 year trial of His people. And today, anyone who will let grace undo all their self-deception and make their sinfulness stand before God naked of all pretended goodness, can have the Holy Ghost sent down from Jesus and receive the new heart and new life. Gone will be the tormented conscience, and here and forever will be the new nature.

Grace will mean unmerited favor. It will mean favor toward undeserving miscreants. Can you accept that judgment? Can you have eternal life? If your life is full of grievous damage to others, with one mistake after another, then you qualify for grace. Or, are you one of those who can never admit to doing anything wrong? “They that be whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. But, go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice; for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matt. 9:13).

Grace an offense, yes; but salvation for the filthiest and hurting.


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