Embracing Grace   Leave a comment

Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience. Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at [Romans 1:17], most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted. At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, “In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.'” There I began to understand [that] the righteousness of God is . . . righteousness with which [the] merciful God justifies us by faith. . . . Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates. (Martin Luther: Selections, pp. 11-12)

I can so identify Luther. Sin is an animal that eats the soul alive, in the Proverbs we get the saying, “guard your heart for out of it flows the issues of life” And its so true. It is so easy to just slip into your old ways, if you are not filled with the things of the Spirit, the Word of God and setting your thoughts on those things in life that are good and praiseworthy. But being good enough is not good enough, it implies human effort when only divine intervention will do. God must sanctify us even as He must save us in order for us to be saved. It is a work of God to “make a Christian and bring that Christian to Himself, as a work of perfection. The thing that drove Luther to distraction was the one thought, “ The is the greatest command was to Love the Lord your God wholeheartedly, then the greatest sin was surely, not to do so.” How do you Love God wholeheartedly when from birth we are turned into our our own wants and needs and are inherently selfish.

There is no escaping this. Not to Love God wholeheartedly is the greatest sin, and for this we need a magnificent grace to deliver us from the selfishness that is so deeply ingrained in our hearts. At church yesterday, the pastor spoke on “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” It is in Beholding that we are save, looking to Jesus in our every waking moment to keep us from the sin that would distract and consume us.

I wish I understood as clearly as Luther did, how profound the death Christ died for us, really is. I think one only finds this out when you discover how deeply rooted your own sin is. Then truly the mercy which God extends to the sinner becomes a prize to be cherished. May the Lord keep us from presumptuous sins, however it is when we do sin, that we discover, that , that is exactly why Jesus came to die for us. Because He is a livng compassionate God, who does not want any to perish. But all to come to faith in the one time sacrifice He made for our souls.
This our human pride finds very hard to swallow. We would rather “try and fix our sin ourselves” when God very well knows we can’t. So Praise be to God for this gracious gift of His Son, taking the punishment due to us. The hymn writer captured our salvation and predicament perfectly in this old hymn..

Jesus, my Lord, to Thee I cry;
Unless Thou help me I must die;
Oh, bring Thy free salvation nigh,
And take me as I am.

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Posted April 19, 2010 by Reformed and renewed in Uncategorized

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