Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Devotion: The Gift of Grace

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV).

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in (through the faithfulness of) Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.  He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:21-26 NIV).

“All these new things are from God who brought us back to himself through what Christ Jesus did.  And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favor and be reconciled to him.  For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out.  This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.  We are Christ’s ambassadors.  God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God.  For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins.  Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us” (II Corinthians 5:18-21 TLB)!

Scripture clearly states that no one can be declared righteous or made right with God by trying to keep the law.  Those who depend on the law to save them are under God’s curse, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who breaks a single one of the laws written in the book of the law at anytime” (Galatians 3:10 TLB).  The law, which has nothing to do with faith, teaches that those who do or follow these things (the law) will only have life in doing or following them (the law).  But thank God, Christ has redeemed us and brought us out from under the doom of that impossible system of laws by taking on the curse himself.  Yes, Christ purchased our freedom from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us when he hung on that wooden cross.  Because Christ purchased our freedom, we now can share in the blessings belonging to Abraham, who was full of faith and accepted God’s promise.  It is through the blessings of Abraham that we of like faith might receive the Spirit that God had promised to give (Galatians 3:10-14).  The man who finds life will find it through his faith in God (Habakkuk 2:4) and not through a law that is not of faith.  Justified freely by his grace (Romans 3:24), the just shall live by faith.

As always, we pray that today’s devotion will give you a new perspective on this “free gift of God, this gift of grace,” which is given by the righteousness of Jesus Christ and has been made available to all.  If you are blessed by this devotion, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings - KW

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