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Dangerous

The biggest lie Lucifer wants the church to believe is that the grace of God is dangerous and must be kept in check.
Tullian Tchividjian

Of course, the enemy wants us to think that the very thing that saves us is dangerous and must be corralled. If angels long to look into salvation, demons must want distract and confuse the issue.

For us to really think that we can “keep grace in check” is pretty arrogant.  God is the one who bestows grace to us in its full measure. Why do we try to ration it?

Deserve

God dispenses gifts, not wages. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us comes close to satisfying God’s requirements for a perfect life. If paid on the basis of fairness, we would all end up in hell… In the bottom line realm of ungrace, some workers deserve more than others; in the realm of grace the word ‘deserve’ does not even apply.

Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?

I’ve always heard that if you work for something you’re more likely to take better care of it and appreciate it more than if it cost you nothing. I’d agree on most things, but not salvation. To fully appreciate salvation you must not work for it. In fact, you can’t work for it. Don’t try.

The thing about grace is it’s counterintuitive-ness. It’s backwards compatibility. It’s out-of-balance one-way love. There’s nothing you can do to earn it, deserve it, or warrant it. It’s God. Top to bottom, front to back, and beginning to end.

2:4 None of this could distract from the extravagant love of God; he continued to love us with the exact same intensity.

2:5 This is how grace rescued us: sin left us dead towards God, like spiritual corpses; yet in that state of deadness and indifference, God co-quickened us together with Christ. Sin proved how dead we were (the law confirmed it!) Grace reveals how alive we now are (the gospel announces it!) Before anyone but God believed it, he made us alive together with him and raised us up together with him. (We had no contribution to our salvation! God’s master-plan unfolded in the mystery of the gospel declaring our joint inclusion in Christ’s death and resurrection; God found us in Christ before he lost us in Adam! [Eph 1:4] In the economy of God, when Jesus died we died. God saw us in Christ, in his death and resurrection before we saw ourselves there! He declared our co-resurrection with Christ 800 BC [Hos 6:2]!)

2:6 (As much as we were co-included in his death,) we are co-included in his resurrection. We are also elevated in his ascension to be equally present in the throne room of the heavenly realm where we are co-seated with him in his executive authority. We are fully represented in Christ Jesus. (Our joint position in Christ defines us; this can never again be a distant goal to reach through religious devotion or striving, but our immediate reference. Col 3:1-3)

2:7 (In a single triumphant act of righteousness God saved us from the “guttermost” to the uttermost. Here we are now, revealed in Christ in the highest possible position of bliss! If man’s sad history could not distract from the extravagant love of God,) imagine how God is now able for timeless perpetuity (the eternal future) to exhibit the trophy of the wealth of his grace demonstrated in his kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. Grace exhibits excessive evidence of the success of the cross.

2:8 Your salvation is not a reward for good behavior! It was a grace thing from start to finish; you had no hand in it. Even the gift to believe simply reflects his faith! (By grace you are! Saved by the gift of faith; grace reveals who we are and the faith of God persuades us of it! You did not invent faith; it was God’s faith to begin with! It is from faith to faith, [Rom 1:17] He is both the source and conclusion of faith. [Heb 12:2])

2:9 If this could be accomplished through any action of yours then there would be ground for boasting.

2:10 We are engineered by his design; he molded and manufactured us in Christ. We are his workmanship, his poetry. (God finds inspired expression of Christ in us. The Greek word for workmanship is poeima.) We are fully fit to do good, equipped to give attractive evidence of his likeness in us in everything we do.

Ephesians 2:4-10 MIRROR

Free

“I am and I am not a universalist. I am one if you are talking about what God in Christ has done to save the world. The Lamb of God has not taken away the sins of some — of only the good, or the cooperative, or the select few who can manage to get their act together and die as perfect peaches. He has taken away the sins of the world — of every last being in it — and he has dropped them down the black hole of Jesus’ death. On the cross, he has shut up forever on the subject of guilt: “There is therefore now no condemnation. . .” All human beings, at all times and places, are home free whether they know it or not, feel it or not, believe it or not.

But I am not a universalist if you are talking about what people may do about accepting that happy-go-lucky gift of God’s grace. I take with utter seriousness everything that Jesus had to say about hell, including the eternal torment that such a foolish non-acceptance of his already-given acceptance must entail. All theologians who hold Scripture to be the Word of God must inevitably include in their work a tractate on hell. But I will not — because Jesus did not — locate hell outside the realm of grace. Grace is forever sovereign, even in Jesus’ parables of judgment. No one is ever kicked out at the end of those parables who wasn’t included in at the beginning.

Robert Capon

Reality

Is this the end? Are we in?
Do I watch all my friends just take dives off of cliffs ‘cause their heads are full of questions they can’t know now?
And the weight of the world does not rest on your shoulders.
No, it strains and it bends on the same arms that hope sends
So don’t carry it now! Lower it down!
When faith dies and hope flies, then love must prevail or else this all means nothing.

So carry my heart home, or just leave me alone
but don’t be in between reality and me

If you calm all the waves, and my friends rise from graves
do they still have to die again a second time?
Or will we rejoice when they rise?
Now I must crucify all my truth and all my lies
I’ve believed so many things just because someone told me
When given choice of grace or abandonment, would anyone just walk away?
I’m not sure if I know today…

_

Some Days I Don’t Want to Sing (O’ Death, Where Is Thy Sting​?​)
The Collection

The lyrics to this song have kind of haunted me lately.

When faith dies and hope flies, the love must prevail or else this all means nothing.” Bold statement. (see 1 Cor. 13:13)

When given choice of grace or abandonment, would anyone just walk away?” Great question.

This song seems to me to be a call of embracing the mystery of salvation, just a exclamation of frustration with those who waver on their beliefs, or maybe both. I think I’ve been in both places.

Imperfection

Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.

Joseph R. Cooke

Love. Just love.

Love is what we want.

Love is what we need.

But, what do we mean when we say “love”. I think what we really mean is acceptance and connection. The idea that we are broken and imperfect causes us to wall ourselves away behind layer after layer of mindsets, thought patterns, and lies.

When God looks at us He doesn’t look at us with eyes of cold examination and condemnation. He looks at us with eyes full of love and grace. Recently, at a conference we were singing this chorus and as we sang it I heard in a way that I had never heard before.

GOD:
Like wine for you to drink
Like water from my heart
I pour my love on you

ME:
If praise is like perfume
I’ll lavish mine on you
Till every drop is gone
I’ll pour my love on you

When singing this I heard the Father lavishing His love on us and our only response is utter abandon of praise in return. When someone, God included, looks at us with eyes of love, grace, and acceptance our typical response is allowing them along with us to tear down the walls that we’ve built. God doesn’t make anything imperfect. He makes perfection. Renew your mind to fully accept that God in Christ has made you perfect.

Psalm 130:7 Israel, wait for the Lord! Because faithful love is with the Lord; because great redemption is with our God!

Your Cross

A saying like “take up your cross” can be a word of wrath to the Old Adam: “You must die!” The same saying, however, spoken by the crucified one who took up my cross, can be a word of life: “You are dead”—that is, crucified with Christ. Luther’s Freedom of the Christian is to the point: “The promises of God give what the commandments of God demand and fulfill what the law prescribes…He alone commands, he alone fulfills.

No Boundary

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase,
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half-done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Gracious King

A Christian who runs after sin is like a prisoner who has been released into the custody of gracious king, who then uses his freedom to re-offend and do all the things that got him imprisoned in the first place. Now our King is extremely gracious. He won’t send you back to prison. But you may send yourself there.

Flip the Script | BobbyShirley.com

Flip The Script

Grace revolves around what He has given us, not what we give to Him! You receive eternal life not because you gave Christ your life. You receive eternal life because He gave you His Life!
– Steve McVey

Grace is a “flip the script” from striving to resting.

The Blame Game is Over

Paul says you are dead to the law by the body of Christ. Do you see what that means? It means that it is not only you who are dead and beyond the orbit of blame, but God too, God himself, the Supreme Lawgiver, Blamefixer, and Guiltspreader, has died to the whole sorry business in the death of Jesus. There is therefore no condemnation for two reasons: first, there is nobody left to be condemned; and second, there is nobody around to do the condemning. And likewise, there is therefore now no condemnation for two reasons: you are dead now; and God, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, has been dead all along. The blame game was over before it started. It really was. All Jesus did was announce that truth and tell you it would make you free.

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