19 February 2010

Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sins

"When I think about the Lord, how He saved me, how He raised me...it makes me want to SHOUT! Hallelujah!" (shout out LU, Sounds, full-scholarships, and clothing stipend!)

Thinking on the Lord, and the work that He has done and is continuously doing in my life, though, does make me want to shout, "Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus! Lord you're worthy...!"

I have been reading and thinking about how great the Lord is and how terrible I truly am. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 1:14-16, "And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life."

In the past, as I have considered this verse, I always thought that Paul was referring to his previous iniquities and the persecuting of the believers in the early church. But, I was wrong. Paul was referring to the deceitfulness he could see in his own heart. He could not imagine that someone else could be as proud, self-righteous, selfish...fill in the blank, whatever the sins of the heart are. And, I, too, am just beginning to see that in my own life. How could one be as prideful and self-interested as me. On the outside, I seem nice enough, sure. But all my righteousness is as a filthy rag (Isaiah 64:6). My actions, my words, my thoughts, and even my motives are in constant need of God's grace and forgiveness.

But, praise be to God for His unspeakable glory and grace. The Bible teaches that my sin has been entirely paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:14, "For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." What great news. His perfect life, shed blood, and resurrection is sufficient for my past, present, and future sin! "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1. Truly, this is the greatest peace in the life of a believer. Every ounce of God's perfect, holy wrath was poured out on on His Son. At the same time, every act of righteousness performed by Jesus Christ stands in my stead!

The Word of God is so clear - and what a great revelation it is. Satan can attack us and tempt us to look at ourself and enter into a state of condemnation, but he can never diminish the work that Christ did on the cross. The devil tries to steal our joy and make us ineffective for the cause of Christ. Instead, conviction leads us to Christ and the cross. Focusing on His love for us changes our woes into the perfection of the saints. Surely we should not make light of our sin so that grace might abound more (Rom. 6:1). But it is imperative to recognize the forgiveness and grace that comes with knowing the Lord as Savior. Sanctification is ongoing in the life of a believer. Glory be to God, that He gives us the grace to persevere. We are closer to our salvation - future glorification - than we ever have been. To know the Lord and to be perfected by His grace is AMAZING.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments on an important subject, the grace of God. Appreciated the inclusion of Julia Johnston's hymn as well. To learn more about her and hundreds of other hymns, I invite you to check out my daily blog on the subject, Wordwise Hymns.