God has more to do than just hanging around waiting to forgive me or you my brother/sister in Christ. Grace means more than that. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a God of purpose who calls us to actively pursue His Will. Grace is not divine indulgence of our propensity to sin. It means that at great cost we are offered an opportunity that our sin means we could never buy for ourselves: a fresh opportunity to live our lives to God’s glory by fulfilling His Kingdom will and purpose in time and eternity.
Grace means that in the the white hot mercy of God at Calvary, we are offered more than mercy, more than forgiveness, eternally precious though that is. We are given the chance that justice alone would deny us, the chance to stop being usurpers of the throne of God over our lives and over all things. Grace awakens us to this above all; that we have not acknowledged God as God nor given Him His glory; not believed in or acknowledged the Lordship of Christ, the Son of God, over us.
Listening to an at moments wonderful Worship CD today, it struck me I would never have worked that out from what I was listening to. If I was a non believer I would have thought the eternal God’s purpose in existing was to make me feel loved and cosy and secure again when I sin, full stop. I would have been left thinking I could live as I wanted and chose and all would be well. Indeed, I am beginning to think that “There is nothing I could do that could ever make God love me more and there is nothing I could do that could ever make God love me less,” is being sung about, preached about, understood and lived out in an erroneous way that (hopefully) was never meant when that truth came into vogue in that pithy form to a fresh degree about 15 or 20 years ago.
If grace does not lead to obedience (however slowly learned) and serving the purpose of God in our generation (reluctantly or gladly), it is not the true grace of God we are talking about, nor have we ever encountered the true grace of God that has appeared to us from heaven in Christ, a grace that trains us to renounce and turn from ungodliness. We seem to have slumped so far from the biblical meaning of key words in the Christian Faith. We have kept the words and concepts but altered the meaning… but then that seems to be in vogue within secular life, even at the level of government and law making.
Fake news, false reporting and altered meanings: well if it is good enough for the world….. after all is that not the way ahead: to show the non-Christian lost world that actually we are really just like them, we talk like them, dress like them, have the same life goals as them, the same ambitions, the same hopes for our children, listen to the same music as them, drink like them, go clubbing like them, spend our hard earned cash like them, holiday like them, support good causes like them, do good deeds that they approve of, swear like them, but we just happen to believe in Jesus too? So it would seem….
Revival according to one famous definition is “a new beginning of obedience” starting among God’s people. Takes the glow and the sentimentality out of that word, doesn’t it? It also reminds us that the sovereign purposes of God are intimately linked with the hearts and lives of His people in a way that I have never quite been able to fathom and yet firmly believe. ” Everything is known “to Him with whom we have to do.”