Tag Archives: grace

SWIMMING IN THE POOL OF GRACE


SWIMMING IN THE POOL OF GRACE

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
A childhood memory is that of the simple joy of reading comic books, and one in particular: Donald Duck. It seems Donald had a rich uncle who was also very stingy. He had accumulated so much money that it filled a swimming pool. This uncle (scrooge by name) loved to dive off the diving board into the pool of money and wallow in it, throwing it into the air and immersing himself in the sheer glee of it all.
This little story is at best crude, but it does have a way of illustrating the marvelous, fathomless grace of God toward his creation, and specifically mankind.
The word “grace” is commonly defined as “Unmerited favor.” It is first employed in the Bible in Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” The law of first mention is that a word finds its clearest meaning in the context of its initial usage. Here and throughout the Bible, it is clear that great favor of a totally unmerited nature is bestowed upon mankind. It is favor that builds upon itself as it finds welcome acceptance in its beneficiaries.
Certainly, Noah did not merit the favor of God, but this favor (grace) was bestowed upon him by which he escaped the global flood, and repopulated the earth.
The multiple instances of grace being bestowed on various saints of old would require a sizeable book, but suffice it here to fast forward to the New Testament where the word and its meaning takes on expanded appreciation, though remaining far from our comprehensive understanding. As the apostle John presented the Word in the first chapter of his gospel, he spoke of this abundant grace. Moreover, he recorded the testimony of John the Baptist about Jesus: “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1: 16-17.
In an attempt to better understand the idea of the phrase “grace for grace,” most scholars say this means grace piled on top of grace. Another likens it to the continuous supply of manna to the Hebrews in the wilderness wanderings. By grace it was there this morning, and by grace will be there the next day to replace what was used. But in the writings of John, it is contrasted with law which came by Moses. Thus, it is conveying the unmerited favor of the New Covenant: the church, the faith once delivered to the saints in contrast to the law and its penalties of the Old Testament. It is favor beyond that of spiritual salvation to that of comprehension to the point of spiritual maturity. It is unmerited favor piled upon unmerited favor. To a submissive people to Him, it is as David of old said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Psalm 68:19. What a spiritual pool of grace we have in Christ Jesus! Enjoy the swim!

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THE PLACE OF LAW AND GRACE


THE PLACE OF LAW AND GRACE

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Oil and water do not mix. But, they would mix before law and grace would do so. A question was posed about Exodus 23:3, 6, “Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause,” and “Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.” Does this mean that poor people should be exempt from any law based on their socio-economic status? Following is my reply.
It is my studied opinion that Israel is here commanded to be “straight shooters” under the terms of the Mosaic Law. That is, the poor man was not to be excused simply because he was poor, and the judgment against him was definitely not to be skewed in his disfavor. Now consider contextual meaning as well.
These verses are the initiation of Law to Israel, the covenant people of God. It was vitally important that they learn (and we as well from them) the difference between sin and righteousness, and just how completely righteous God is and how completely sinful man is. This law then became our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, and to His grace, Paul argues in Galatians 3:24-25.
However, the law and the prophets were until John (the Baptist) Luke 16:16. Jesus said they must be fulfilled, Luke 24:44, and He did so according to Matthew 5:18; Col. 2:14-17. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came to us by Christ Jesus, John 1:17. Grace does not mean that the law was not righteous, quite the contrary. Covenants may change, but principles do not.
Law is Law! It is commandment plus penalty. If either is absent, the law is not in play. It cannot be injected with anything else and still be law. But, it is recognized that some cases tried by the medium of courts of law may either merit or demand mercy. But, when mercy is injected, it negates law and creates grace. Grace is what Jesus is all about. He as The God-man met each and every demand of Law. He fulfilled it to the very jot and tittle, and offers to us not the punishment of law which we deserve, (and by which God’s standard will always remain) but, His own righteousness by grace through faith.
Moreover, just as the law cannot be injected with anything else and remain law, so it is with grace. It is ludicrous to seek to maintain grace through law. This is the trouble the churches of Galatia got into, and which Paul addressed in his epistle by their name. After all, the law was not given to righteous people, but for sinners. By it, they could understand their lost condition, and their inability to do anything about it except through grace.
That mercy and grace should rule whenever possible among the affairs of men is underscored repeatedly in Jesus’ teachings, especially in Matthew 18:21-3

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THE GRACE OF CHRISTIAN SPEECH


THE GRACE OF CHRISTIAN SPEECH
September 22
“He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.”– 1Pe_3:10.
“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt.” — Col_4:6.

THE IDEAL of Christian speech is given in the Apostle’s words to the Colossians. Our speech should be always gracious; and grace stands for mercifulness, charity, the willingness to put the best constructions upon the words and actions of another. It is a great help in dealing with envy, jealousy, or unkind feeling to compel our lips to speak as Christ would have them. If you are jealous of another, the temptation is to say unkind or depreciating things, but if we live in the power of the Holy Spirit, He will enable us to check such words and replace them by those that suggest kindly consideration on the part of ourselves and others. Endeavour to say all the good that can be said, and none of the evil. It is remarkable that when we make the effort to speak kindly on behalf of those against whom we feel exasperated, the whole inward temper changes and takes on the tone of our voice.
There should be salt in our speech–purity, antiseptic, and sparkling like the Book of Proverbs. A playful wit, a bright repartee, are not inconsistent with the Apostle’s standard, but whenever we mix in conversation with people, they should be aware of an element in us which makes it impossible for them to indulge in ill-natured gossip or coarse jokes.
We must continue in prayer that God would open to us doors of utterance, so that we may speak of the hidden beauty and glory of our Saviour. Sometimes, also, when we are hard pressed to know how to answer difficult questions, it is given to us in that same hour how we ought to speak, and we find that the Holy Spirit has found an utterance by our lips (Luk_12:12; 1Pe_3:15).
It is recorded of our Lord that during His trial He spoke not a word to Pilate or Herod, but as soon as He reached the Cross, He poured out His heart as their Intercessor, saying: “Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do!” Speak more to God than to men who may be reviling and threatening you. It is blessed to realize that He is able to guard the door of our lips, for probably there is no part of our nature that stands more in need of His keeping power.

PRAYER
Live in us, Blessed Lord, by Thy Holy Spirit, that our lives may be gospels of helpfulness and blessedness. May all foolish talking and covetousness, bitterness, wrath, and anger be put away from us, with all malice. AMEN.

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GRACE AND TRUTH


Author: W.P. Mackay

Let us suppose that a convict, who has just finished his term of penal servitude, wishes to lead an honest life. He comes to a man who has a large jewelry establishment, and who requires a night-watchman. He is engaged to watch this house through the quiet hours of the night, when he has everything under him, and every opportunity to rob his employer. On the first evening of his watching he meets one of his old companions, who accosts him. “What are you doing here?”

‘I’m night-watchman.’

‘Over this jewelry shop’

‘Yes.’

‘Does he know what you are?’

‘No, no, be silent; if he knew, I should be dismissed.’

‘Suppose I let it out that you are a returned convict!’

‘Oh I pray don’t, it would be my last day here, and I wish to be honest.’

‘Well, you’ll require to give me some money to keep quiet.’

‘Very well, but don’t let any one know.’ Thus the poor man would be in sad feat and trembling, lest it should come to the ears of his employer what his previous character had been. He would be in terror lest he should meet any of his old friends, and lest his resources should be exhausted in keeping them quiet.

Let us suppose, however, that instead of the employer engaging the man in ignorance of his character, he went to the convict’s cell and said, ‘Now I know you, what you are, and what you’ve done, every robbery you’ve committed, and that you are worse than you believe yourself to be.  I am about to give you a chance of becoming honest, I’ll trust you as my night-watchman over my valuable goods.’ The man is faithful at his post. He meets old companion after old companion, who threaten to inform upon him. He asks, ‘What will you tell about me?’

‘That you were the ringleader of house-breakers.’

‘Yes, but my master knows all that better than you do, he knows me better than I know myself.’

Of course this silences them for ever.

 

This latter is — GRACE AND TRUTH

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Man by Nature


Man by nature likes neither grace nor truth. He is satisfied neither with perfect justice nor perfect goodness.if John the Baptist comes in righteousness, he is hated, and men say he is too harsh, and not human, but hath a devil. If Christ comes in love, He is taunted with being a friend of sinners. So when the righteous requirements of God’s law are preached, many people are apt to turn and say, ‘Oh yes, but that is too strict; you must allow a little margin for our imperfection.’ God says, ‘Make no provision for the flesh.’ Alas! it will take far too much; but allow it nothing. When a sanctified walk, separated from the world and all its belongings is insisted on, a certain class are sure to call this legal preaching. And on the other hand, when the grace of God is preached, man’s wisdom makes it out to be toleration of evil and lawless licence.

Dr. Dr. W.P. Mackay, M.A

 

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THE LAW


Author – Dr. W.P. Mackay, M. A  1903

 

‘The law was given by Moses: grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.’ The law showed what man ought to be. Christ showed what man is, and what God is. The law was given, but grace and truth came. The word translated ‘came’ is very strong in the original. It might be rendered ‘were impersonated’ in Him — always kept in due harmony and proportion. Calvary tells out fully what man’s true state is, what God’s truth is, and what grace means. The law is what man ought to be to God. Grace tells what God is for me. The first word of law is ‘Thou,’ the first of grace is ‘God’ so loved. But it is grace through truth. God has investigated everything, nothing has been overlooked. The greatest sin that any man could possibly commit has been committed, namely, the murder of God’s Son. At the same time the greatest grace of God has been manifested.

 

Wonderful, marvelous grace

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James Wilson, founding father, died August 21, 1798


jameswilsonAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

He was one of six founding fathers to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

President Washington appointed him to the Supreme Court.

Born in Scotland, he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, speaking 168 times.

His name was James Wilson and he died AUGUST 21, 1798.

The first law professor of the University of Pennsylvania, James Wilson wrote in his Lectures on Law, 1789-91, that all law comes from God, being divided into four categories:

“law eternal,” “law celestial,” “laws of nature,”

and:

“Law…communicated to us by reason and conscience…has been called natural; as promulgated by the Holy Scriptures, it has been called revealed…

But it should always be remembered, that this law, natural or revealed…flows from the same divine source; it is the law of God.”

“Human law must rest its authority, ultimately, upon the authority of that law, which is divine.”

James Wilson continued:

“Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.”

James Wilson stated:

“The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.”

James Wilson remarked at Pennsylvania’s ratifying convention, November 26, 1787:

“Governments, in general, have been the result of force, of fraud, and accident.

After a period of 6,000 years has elapsed since the creation, the United States exhibit to the world the first instance, as far as we can learn, of a nation…assembling voluntarily…and deciding calmly concerning that system of government under which they would wish that they and their posterity should live.”

In expounding on the “Will of God,” James Wilson described it as the:

“…efficient cause of moral obligation – of the eminent distinction between right and wrong…(and therefore the) supreme law…

(It is revealed) by our conscience, by our reason, and by the Holy Scriptures.”

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania records in Updegraph v. Commonwealth, 1824:

“The late Judge James Wilson, of the Supreme Court of the United States, Professor of Law in the College in Philadelphia…

for our present form of government we are greatly indebted to his exertions…

In his Course of Lectures (3d Vol. of his Works, 122), he states that…

‘Christianity is part of the common-law.’”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.

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Grace and Peace 


 

2 Thessalonians 3:16-18

“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all,” 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

Paul used someone other than himself to pen most of his letters. We do not know exactly why Paul did this, but we learn in today’s passage that he did at least pen one verse in his own handwriting. Paul even made an explicit point to let the readers know that this final admonition was written in his own hand. There is a lot of speculation as to why Paul would do this. Was it because he wanted to show his special care in writing this particular letter? Was it simply his sign of authenticity?

This could very well be the case. There may have even been a case of forgery that led to the idea that the day of Christ had already come. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:2.)

What is really important here was Paul’s salutation. He wrote (may) “the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means” and “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” Paul wished grace and peace to his readers. As believers, we have received both God’s grace and peace. Paul now prayed that these two wonderful gifts would continue with us. Paul wished for the believers in Thessalonica and believers everywhere to be filled with God’s wonderful grace and peace.

 

 

JUST A THOUGHT

Do you find rest and comfort in God’s grace and peace in your life?

Nathan Rogers

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Forgiveness [and] Sin Offering


sālach [and] chattā’t
Today’s first word has such deep theological significance that its forty-six occurrences speak exclusively of God’s forgiveness of man, never of men forgiving each another. As well as “to forgive,” the Hebrew sālach (H5545) means “to pardon or to spare.” Its first occurrence, in fact, demonstrates this profound importance. After Israel’s sin at Sinai, Moses interceded for the people, praying, “O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon [sālach] our iniquity and our sin” (Exo_34:9).
The deepest significance of sālach, however, lies in the very fact that almost half its occurrences are in Leviticus and Numbers, the books that most strongly emphasize the Levitical, sacrificial laws. In Lev_4:1 to Lev_5:13 (cf. Lev_6:24-30), for example, we read of the sin offering (chattā’t, H2403, a derivative of chātā’). This was a blood sacrifice—for without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (Lev_4:20; also Heb_9:22)—and was offered in the case of unintentional sin (Lev_4:2), sin committed out of weakness (in contrast to defiant, rebellious sin, for which only judgment awaited in Num_15:30-31). Sālach appears no less than six times in this Leviticus passage (Num_4:20; Num_4:26; Num_4:31; Num_4:35; Num_5:10; Num_5:13), where it is always translated “forgiven,” and underscores God’s forgiveness of sin through His mercy and grace.
What, then, is the significance of all this to the believer today? True, once-for-all forgiveness comes through Jesus Christ. Since “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins,” it was Christ alone who “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Heb_10:4; Heb_10:12). The OT sin offering specifically prefigured the reality that Christ would be “made . . . sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2Co_5:21). Further, as the sin offering was taken outside the city (Lev_4:21; cf. Heb_13:11), so would the Lord Jesus be taken outside the city (Heb_13:12; cf. Joh_19:17-20).
Further still, in the very next verse in Hebrews, the believer is challenged to “go forth therefore unto [Christ] without the camp, bearing his reproach” (Heb_13:13). In other words, we are to leave behind all false religion (which Judaism had now become) and embrace our Lord totally, even suffering for Him (Php_1:29; 2Ti_3:12; 1Pe_4:12-16).
Scriptures for Study: What city does Heb_13:14 refer to (cf. 2Co_5:1)? Then, in 2Co_5:15, what kind of sacrifice do we offer God now?

 

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Mercy [and] Grace


cheseḏ [and] chānan
While not interchangeable, cheseḏ (mercy) and chānan (grace) are closely related. While mercy is the withholding of what is deserved (e.g., death and hell), grace is the bestowing of what is not deserved (e.g., life and heaven). 2 Samuel 9 gives one of the most graphic pictures in all the Bible of both mercy and grace, with ten startling parallels to the Savior and sinner:
First, Mephibosheth, the son of King David’s friend Jonathan, was crippled by a fall (2Sa_4:4), just as each of us was crippled by Adam’s fall, even rendered “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph_2:1-3).

Second, as David wanted to show Mephibosheth “kindness [cheseḏ] for Jonathan’s sake” (2Sa_9:1), God has shown us mercy and grace for the sake of the Lord Jesus (Eph_4:32).

Third, that kindness was neither deserved nor earned by Mephibosheth, who could do little for himself, much less do anything for the king of Judah and Israel. We in turn deserved nothing but death, and there are not enough works in the universe to save a single soul (Eph_2:8-9; Tit_3:5).

Fourth, Mephibosheth was sought by the king (Tit_3:1; Tit_3:5), again picturing unmerited favor. Likewise, not a single person has ever “[sought] after God” by his own power (Rom_3:11). “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” Jesus declared (Joh_15:16). A dead man can do nothing, so “no man can come to [Christ], except the Father which hath sent [Him] draw him” (Joh_6:44; cf. Joh_6:65; Act_16:13-14).

Fifth, David ordered and empowered servants to fetch Mephibosheth (Act_16:5), a graphic picture of evangelism. God has likewise called and empowered each of us as witnesses (Act_1:8; Mat_28:19-20).

Sixth, a result of all this was that Mephibosheth reverenced the king (2Sa_9:6), a challenge to us to worship Jesus.

Seventh, he became a servant of the king (2Sa_9:6), as are we of Christ (e.g., Rom_6:16).

Eighth, he was given riches and security (Rom_6:7), just as we have spiritual riches (Ephesians 1) and security in Christ (Joh_10:28-29; Rom_8:29-39).

Ninth, he was made a king’s son (Rom_8:11), as we are God’s children (Joh_1:12-13). And tenth, his physical condition was hidden from view when he sat at the king’s table (Joh_1:13). We, too, have been sanctified by Christ (Heb_9:12-15) and “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph_2:6).
Scriptures for Study: If you haven’t already done so, read this wonderful account and rejoice in God’s mercy and grace.

 

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