These two words are talked about a lot these days: grace and legalism. Many churches are one extreme of the other. Many people are. Where do we draw the line between the two? The Bible is clear we are saved by grace and not by works. It is also clear that we are to obey God’s commands. We show that we love God by how we live. Our lives reflect our salvation and that Christ is in us. To me, that is the difference. Some people treat grace as a “get out of jail free” card. But if you really are saved and Christ is in you, would you not want to live for Him? On the other hand, salvation is not about rules and regulations, it is about the heart. Continue reading “Grace and Legalism”
There is so much in the story of Ruth about love, friendship, loyalty, integrity, redemption; it is an example of how God makes even the worst of circumstances for good, of His redeeming love for us, His plan of salvation, the character of Jesus Christ and the purpose of His ministry on this earth. All this is contained in four chapters. I hope that you will go on this journey with me in the next few blog posts as we dive into the book of Ruth. Feel free to comment on what you have learned through this story. May God bless you and teach you as you read through it. Continue reading “Ruth: A Story of Love and Redemption”
Previously we talked about God’s grace and the promise that through God’s grace we are saved by faith not by the things we do. It is what Christ did for us, taking our sins and paying for them by nailing them to the cross. So does that mean if we accept God’s grace and trust in Jesus that we could do whatever we want? I would say yes and no. Yes, we are free. But, we are free from sin and if you have truly accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior, you are changed. You are a new creation. Your old self has died and you now live for Him. Your desire should be aligned with God. You no longer want to do the sinful acts of your previous self. The Holy Spirit will live in you and will guide you. Now you can live by the Spirit and not by your flesh. If you do not see these changes, if your desires remain the same, you have to question the sincerity of your acceptance of God’s grace. You need to be reconciled to Him. It does not mean that you will never sin or your flesh will never creep in and tempt you. It will. There will be a battle. But remember that you are victorious because of the blood of Christ. Continue reading “Grace Abuse”
God is a loving and forgiving God. He is also just and sin is detrimental to any relationship with him. Sin cannot be in His presence. But, He wants to have a relationship with us and He loves us so much that He provided a way to atone for our sins. As the Israelites, His chosen people, were delivered from the bondage of the Egyptians, a system was created to appease God of sin. That is a long story for another time, but basically, a blood offering was needed, a sacrifice for the sins of the people. But, because of the sins of the people, including the priests, this was needed over and over, every year. Read through Hebrews to learn more about this. So, God the Father, sent His only Son, Jesus, who had no sin, to be that blood sacrifice to redeem all who believe. Jesus Christ came to this earth, becoming fully man and fully God, giving freely His life, taking the sins of the world on His shoulders, being nailed to a cross and being raised from the dead on the third day. He showed true love, unconditional love. Because of what Christ did, we can be forgiven.
Continue reading “Love and Forgiveness”
At first I thought of titling this post, “Strength through Tribulation and Persecution.” But it is more than that. Every trial we go through, every time we are persecuted, every struggle, God is with us and we grow spiritually and become a better person and we have an opportunity to help others in similar situations. He is always there whether we realize it or not. As a believer, we need to realize we will go through trials. There is a cost to following Jesus. But it does not compare to the blessings and the reward we will receive by knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. As the last of the series on “I am Saved…Now What Do I Do?” I want to prepare my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, in particular those who are young believers of things they may face while giving words of encouragement that it is all worth it. I also want to start this discussion by making it clear that what we do does not determine our salvation. It is what Jesus Christ did on the cross. Our sins are forgiven because of Him. We just need to accept that gift of grace He has given us. What we do is a result of that salvation. When we are saved, there will be a change in our hearts, our lives and our actions. The blessings are tremendous, but that does not mean things will be easy. It just means it will be worth it. Continue reading “Cost and Blessing of Following Jesus”