Monday, March 10, 2014

Everyone experiences God's grace now

A biblical doctrine of enormous beauty is the grace of God. God's character is gracious. When God wanted to ensure Moses really understood who He was; when He passed by Moses, after Moses had asked Him "let me see your glory," and also to make sure Moses got it right when he went to God's people in Egypt. God said "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.." That's Exodus 34:6.

Everything that we receive from God is through His free grace, meaning there is nothing outside of Himself, that would require Him to be gracious to sinners. He freely chooses to be gracious. When we understand that principle, humility rises and pride diminishes. God owes no one anything, He created the universe, in spite of what you may have seen on television last night on the new "cosmos." He can do with His creation as He see's fit. When we understand that principle, we become even more humble, and we tremble at times at His Word, yet we also, rejoice in the salvation He has brought to pass by the gracious Lamb of God, Our Great Savior and God, Jesus Christ.

I want to focus on another verse in this study, we have looked at grace many times before, and we will continue to look at it even more, because this is what the Bible is all about, Grace. Of course, God's grace is shown most perfectly in the Lord Jesus Christ. The picture I have at the top of the page states that blessings flow through grace, that is true and equally true is that, blessings flow to us through Jesus Christ, because of Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ we have no blessings. (Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3)

This leads me to the verse of focus for this study. Matthew 5:45 - "in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (NASB)

This verse is from the bigger context of Christ's sermon on the Mount, the greatest sermon ever preached. Christ is instructing His disciples then and for every generation that was to follow in the doctrines of the kingdom of God. This is specifically saying that God's disciples should be like him, treat all people the same, just as God does.

The point I want to place before you today is that everybody is a beneficiary of God's goodness, isn't that what that verse is saying, evil people receive God's goodness, good people receive God's goodness. God does not bless the world with rain, sunshine, water, air, and everything else that keeps us alive, in a way that it just comes to people who are saved. Every human being on the face of the earth receives good from the hand of God. Of course, most do not acknowledge that, but, it's the fact of God's Word.

We need to see this in light of the last Day, the day of judgment. On that day God's grace, which some theologians call "common" grace, not that it is a common thing, but that it is as we have said, something that everyone experiences. On the last day, the grace that every human being experiences from the day of their birth until the day of their death, stops! When we die, before the last day, of course, common grace is still being expereinced by those who are still alive. But on the last day, no more common grace for those outside the family of God.

Let's go back to Exodus to continue the description that God gives of Himself to Moses in Exodus 34, verse 7 which says:" who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the quilty unpunished, visiting the inquity of fatherrs on the children and on the grabdchildren to the third and fourth generations."

To understand this principle is to tremble before the Word of God.  God's wrath is not a play thing, and I have learned to write about it with humility, prayerfully, pleadingly so, and I plead if anyone who may read this, who is not saved, I plead with you, just as if Christ were right here with us, which He is, that you would run to the cross,without delay, confess your sins and repent, praying for God to bring about true confession and repentance and be washed in the everlasting blood of the Lamb, accept Jesus Christ today, why would you delay? "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28  All that the Father gives me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:37  Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. John 6:47.

 God's mercy and grace has placed us not just under His common grace, but His covenantal grace, His familial grace. Genesis 15 explains the covenant God makes with Abraham. Galatians 3:29 says "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring heirs according to promise." 

Ephesians 1:5 states: "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will." Did you hear that, the kind intention of His will.(NASB) It was His kindness that put us in the Family of God. It was His kindness to us, that send Jesus to the cross, for us. So that we can become members of the family of God.

This verse (Matthew 5:45) is telling us in a sense, this world will be as close to heaven as some people get, and for God's family it will be as close to hell as we get. Can you see that? There is only grace now, in the land of the living, at death, if you are outside the family of God, God will send you to hell, and there is no grace there, that part of God's character will not be there, the only part of God's character that will be in hell, is His terrible wrath.

 We see why the saints in heaven cast their crowns at the feet of the One who sits on the Throne, and why the four living creatures, day and night do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME." (Revelation 4:8) We should join in every now and than with that heavenly chorus and add our praises with those of the heavenly host, for God has done great things for us!! He has saved you and your family!!! He is due our worship!!

It's a good thing that the Word of God causes us to tremble at times, God is an awesome God, beyond our comprehension, yet He has condescended to give us His Word, His Spirit, His Son, and everything else we need in this life and the one to come.

Let us pray that God would use us to speak a Word of Grace to someone who is experiencing God's common grace but not His covenantal grace. To all of us who claim to be in the family of God let us seek to please the Lord in all that we do, for let us remember that the Lord will judge His people and it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30-31)

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

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