We have a real treat for you this week!
We greatly rejoice that some Christians in China, led by Brother Keith Hobkirk, are beginning to translate some of our Gospel writings. As you can see, our ministry is steadily growing in its scope and influence. Thank you for your prayers and financial help which sustain us as we spread the Gospel.
Below is a sample of some of the work the brothers and sisters are doing.
BY Miles McKee
唯有耶稣 Miles McKee
The best thing that can happen to any of us is to become convinced that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.
Apart from the mercy of Jesus Christ, we are utterly and helplessly lost. There is no saving merit in anything that we can do or feel. In ourselves, we have nothing to recommend us to God.
Let me ask you, have you become convinced that Christ alone is your Saviour? Have you been persuaded that you cannot save yourself? Have you seen that the Lord needs no assistance from anyone to give you eternal life? Have you seen that from first to last, Christ alone is your hope?
I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit. One aspect of the Spirit’s work is to destroy all the vestiges of self-righteousness we harbour in our hearts (John 16:8).
Self–Righteousness, that great, stubborn rebel against God, must be rooted out. The Holy Spirit continually brings us to a place where we see and confess that we are nothing and Christ is everything.
Someone says, ‘I’ve been reading about all those deep convictions that people used to get during the revivals of yesteryear. If I could experience those, then I’d be sure that I was saved.’ But, wait a minute, that is just another way of you bringing something to Christ in exchange for salvation. That is self-righteousness. It is a lack of trust in Christ alone as your only qualification for eternity.
“But I want to feel something,” says someone else.
Christ Jesus doesn’t want you to bring your feelings to Him. Feelings are no part of Salvation. We are to trust in Christ alone, not in feelings.
‘’Feelings come and feelings go
And feelings are deceiving
My warrant is the Word of God
Naught else is worth believing.
Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.
I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”
“But I feel so spiritually unfit.”
Do you not know that the only fitness you have before Him is the fitness of being unfit?
“Oh, but I am so entirely unworthy.”
Do you think Jesus came to save the worthy? Do you ever expect to have any worthiness in yourself? Jesus saves “the ungodly” (Rom 5:6-8). Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not worthy people (1 Timothy 1:15). Spurgeon said it like this; “It is our badness, not our goodness, which drew Christ to us as a Saviour.”
‘With Pitying eye the Prince of Peace
Beheld our helpless grief;
He saw, and, O amazing love!
He ran to our relief.’
Christ didn’t die because we were good. He died for us because we were sinful wretches. We had nothing whatsoever in ourselves that could recommend us. …and still don’t. Yet the Young Prince of Glory came from Heaven to save us. What do you think you can add to that? Is there anything with which you would care to supplement His finished work?
Be advised, don’t try to show Christ how worthy you are to be saved. He’s unimpressed. Our righteousness is sin but His righteousness is salvation. We are nothing; Christ alone is everything!
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
“But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you (Mark 16:7).”
As a believer, have you ever blown it? I mean royally blown it? Have you ever failed God, failed the Gospel, failed your family, or failed yourself?
As a result, you suspect that there is no longer a place for you in the Lord’s affections. If so, this message is for you.
Do you remember Peter? He was quite a remarkable man.
The Lord gave him a new name and told him to become a “fisher of men.” He walked on water. He experienced the incredible event of Jesus’ transfiguration. And it was Peter who was the first to confess that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah.
What a stellar ministry… so full of promise. But, suddenly, Peter crashed with an unceremonious wallop.
It might be helpful at this point if we paint the scene of this major failure. Jesus has just been arrested and taken to the Palace of the High Priest. Almost all of His disciples had run away in fear for their lives. Two of them, however, Peter and another (probably John), followed behind the mob as they escorted Jesus to the kangaroo court.
Having, with John’s help, gained admittance into the compound, Peter now warms himself at a fire in the Palace courtyard, (Luke 22: 55). Suddenly, he is approached by a woman (John 18:17) who identifies him as one of the Lord’s disciples. When he hears her words, Peter immediately denies any connection with the Saviour basically saying, “I don’t know what you are talking about! You’re crazy!” Then he walks away, (Matthew 26:71). Almost immediately, another girl sees him and calls out, “This is one of them!” (Verse 71).
Again, Peter denies all ties to his saviour. In Matthew 26:72, we see that Peter now resorts to denying the Lord with an “oath.” In other words, Peter swore before heaven that he did not know Jesus. He may have said something like: “I promise before God and swear to Him that I’m not lying, I do not know Jesus of Nazareth!
What a tragedy! This time Peter doubles his lie count. He lied when he denied knowing Jesus and lied when he swore that he wasn’t lying!
An hour passes (Luke 22:58). Peter is approached for the third time by a delegation of sorts. He is again accused of being one of the Lord’s disciples. Peter’s Galilean accent has betrayed him. This group of accusers was led by a relative of Malchus whose ear Peter had cut off when Jesus had been arrested. When the apostle hears this allegation, he loses control and begins to “curse and to swear” (Matthew 26:74). His tongue becomes vile and vulgar. He calls God to be his witness that he doesn’t know Jesus.
Oh, how are the mighty fallen!
Notice the progression (or regression). First Peter lies. Then he tells a second lie to cover up the first lie. Then he tries to prove his lies by cursing and taking God’s name in vain.
Watch out Peter! God’s going to get you!
Sleep with one eye open Peter!
You’re a failure Peter!
If you’d been a stronger man Peter!
You’re not fit to be an apostle Peter!
Listen to me! Peter was a man of God. He loved the Lord, but he failed. Get used to it! And when he failed it broke and humbled him (Luke 22:62).
It’s no wonder that we learn of his invitation to meet the Master in Galilee. This is grace in operation. “Tell the disciples and Peter. Make sure you tell Peter. Whatever else you do, let Peter know that he’s welcome.”
But Peter has failed you!
Yes, and be sure to tell Peter that He’s welcome.
But he’s let you down.
And?…be sure to tell Peter
Listen to me: if the bad news is that you’ve spiritually failed, the good news is that there are both grace and restoration waiting for you in Christ Jesus.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
“Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
As usual, Mr Spurgeon nailed it when he said of this scripture, “There are mines of instruction in this verse. Superficially read, this royal promise has cheered and encouraged tens of thousands, but there is a wealth in it which the diligent digger and miner shall alone discover.”
Let’s then, go mining and see if we can scratch the surface of this marvellous truth.
Who issued the invitation to, “Come unto me?” Was it a psychiatrist? No! Was it a politician? No! It was the lovely Son of God who voiced these words. And who is He? He is the God/Man, the Eternal Word made flesh. He has come to us in our need and invited us to come to Him.
This verse wonderfully demonstrates Christ’s compassion for His people. He loves us. His love, however, is not the kind of love that wants to help but has no available resources. it’s quite the opposite. His is the love of Omnipotence. And what is the message of Omnipotent love? It is simply this, “Rest in Me.”
Are we weary? Then let us come to Jesus and rest.
Disappointment will make us weary.
A broken heart will make us weary.
Sin will make us weary.
Working to gain God’s acceptance will make us weary.
Legalistic religion will make us weary.
To be weary means to be worn down with burdens or to be exhausted. Does that describe any of us? How desperately we need to hear Him say; “Come to me.”
Listen, He’s not angry at you. He loves you! Hear His voice in the Gospel. There’s rest for you. Don’t let unbelief keep you from His rest. How could someone who has gone to the cross for us not care for us? He was wounded and butchered for us. As believers, He wants us to come to Him.
So what qualifies us to come to Him?
It’s our weariness, not our worthiness!
It’s His mercy, not our merit.
It’s our destitution, not our distinction.
It’s our hardship, not our holiness.
It’s His love, not our labour.
As believers, we have no need to drag ourselves around in abject misery. We learn to come to Him. To Him, and not to Moses! To Him, not to a favourite doctrine, an ordinance, priest or pastor. We come to Him, to Jesus Himself.
Let us come to Him for His gift of rest. Since rest is a free gift, it cannot be purchased or worked for. So then, how do we receive it! The answer is by faith alone.
Faith alone takes us to that rest. Faith alone sees that it is a rest received from the hand of the all-powerful God. It is a blood-bought rest. It is a rest bathed in love.
This rest is for the weary, for those who labour. It’s for you and me because we need it. May we all become weary enough to discover Jesus as our resting place.
To conclude, why to thirsty people drink? It’s because they are thirsty. Why do hungry people eat? It’s because they are hungry. Why do people rest? It’s because they are weary.
There is rest in knowing who Jesus is and what He has accomplished in His doing, dying and rising again. There is rest in understanding the cross. There is rest in the Gospel. There is rest because He shed His blood.
May we come to Him and enjoy Him and His rest.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place
And He has made me glad.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
CHAPTER 2-A MANUAL FOR GODLY LIVING (Exposition of Romans Chapter 12)
If one should select a portion of Scripture as a manual or guide to Christian living, surely he could do no better than to turn to the closing chapters of Romans. Here we have the Christian’s duty in various relations of life. In this chapter we shall attempt an exposition of Romans 12.
We now enter what is called the practical part of Paul’s letter to the Romans. If the doctrinal portion of Romans is distasteful, the practical portion will be even more so. He who despises the mercies of God will rebel at the commands of God. Practical Christianity must rest upon doctrinal Christianity. You cannot divorce doctrine from life. As G. Campbell Morgan puts it: “You cannot grow the tulips of the kingdom of God unless you get the bulbs from heaven.” A man’s conduct is the fruit of what he believes. The flower of a godly life has its roots deep in the soil of experienced grace.
Paul, after giving us the greatest of all expositions of the grace and mercy of God; gives vent to his feeling of adoring wonder at the ways of God: and follows with an exhortation to becoming conduct on the part of those who can follow him in the gracious experiences of the mercies of God.
1. PAUL’S GREAT APPEAL (1, 2). Observe,
1a) HE BESEECHES. He does not command like Moses who gave the law. The Christian minister cannot give orders nor compel; he can only get things done by beseeching. A Christian hierarchy, whether in the form of a Baptist Board, or a Methodist Bishop, or a Roman Catholic Pope is contrary to the very norm of New Testament Christianity.
1b) HE BESEECHES BY THE MERCIES OF GOD. This is the greatest argument for a consecrated life. Paul wants the mercies of God to be realized and bear fruit to the glory of God. The highest and purest of all human motives is to act out of appreciation for the mercies of God.
1c) PAUL BESEECHES THE BRETHREN. Exhortation is ministry to the saints. He is not appealing to the sinner, but to those who have an experience of grace and mercy.
1d) HE BESEECHES THEM TO PRESENT THEIR BODIES TO GOD. The believer’s body is to be a living sacrifice in contrast to dead animals offered under the law. It is not to obtain but to acknowledge the blessing of salvation. It is a sacrifice of praise. The body is to be a holy sacrifice. Under the law the animals offered in sacrifice had to be ceremonially clean and physically sound; under grace the human body must be morally clean. A whiskey-soaked body is a filthy sacrifice. The sacrifice must be pleasing to God. It is not man nor even the church that we must please but God. Consecration is primarily to God and not to a cause or a work. One may be consecrated to a good work and yet scarcely ever think of God. Everything is to be done as unto the Lord. The sacrifice of the believer constitutes his “reasonable service.” The Greek word for reasonable is logikos, and is variously translated reasonable, intelligent, rational, spiritual, etc. The word is found in one other place in the Greek New Testament. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (#1Pe 2:2) and is translated by the phrase “of the word.” It comes from the same root as logos, which means word. The believer’s service to God must be regulated by the word of God. This is most important, for one may be busy in doing what God has not commanded, and in the way God has not commanded; yea, one may be doing what God has forbidden.
1e) HE BESEECHES BELIEVERS TO BE DIFFERENT. “And be not conformed to this world.” World here means the inhabitants of the world morally considered. The world is bad; it lies in the lap of the Wicked One. “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (#1Joh 5:19). The devil is its god. He has dominion over it. The world is self-centered and Satan—controlled. The believer is not to agree with it, or be like it. He must not fall in with the world in its thinking and doing. He must think and do according to the Word of God.
1f) “BUT BE YE TRANSFORMED”. The Greek is “metamorphoo,” and means a change in appearance. It is the word used for the transfiguration of Christ. In our text it denotes a moral change, to be effected by the renewal of the mind. A change of mind-new thoughts and new ideals-is wrought in regeneration, and this change must be renewed and deepened. Outward transformation must begin in the mind and heart. If a man’s conduct is to be right his thinking must be right. In this way the believer will know “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God,” and be able to demonstrate it in his every day life. Believers are God’s demonstrators, we are to demonstrate the fact and worth of God in human life. The commercial world uses this method in making sales. The car salesman will put you into his car and behind the wheel to demonstrate its speed and riding comfort. The refrigerator man will put a refrigerator in your home on trial to let you see its freezing qualities. In this day of keen competition many things are sold in trial. It is a solemn and pertinent question the believer should put to himself; what kind of a demonstrator am I for Jesus Christ Whom I profess to trust and love and obey? What impression does my life make on others?
2. SPECIAL DUTIES BASED ON SPECIFIC GIFTS (3-8).
2a) Have a just estimate of your gift. There are different measures of faith—do not think you know it all—do not act as if you are the “whole cheese”. Think soberly about yourself and your abilities. Do not be intoxicated with conceit. Recognize the gifts of others. Be humble.
2b) We are many members in one body. Every church (local assembly) is a body of Christ likened to the human body. Each member has his own gift and place in the body, and what he does affects the whole body. Each member of the church ought to be dear to every other member.
2c) Each member must exercise his own gift. It is not a natural talent, but a gift sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit. There are seven of these gifts here enumberated:
2c1) PROPHECY. The Spirit given ability to utter Divine truth. It strictly signifies the foretelling of future events, but seems to have a wider sense in the New Testament, including the gift of explaining the Scriptures. It is forthtelling as well as foretelling. There are no foretellers since the New Testament was completed. We have in the Bible all the truth we need for our spiritual good.
2c2) MINISTRY. The Greek word means service, and is used in a wide sense. It is used of Christ in #Ro 15:8 “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” , of Phoebe in #Ro 16:1 “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:”; of the office of deacon in “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:” (#Php 1:1), “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre” (#1Ti 3:8). In our text it does not seem to refer to an office, but to practical service in the church without naming the particular service. Every member is to render some service.
2c3) TEACHING. The ability to teach God’s word is a gift of the Spirit. It is a gift the pastor or bishop must have “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach” (#1Ti 3:2). A mere exhorter should never be made a bishop, that is, a pastor.
2c4) EXHORTATION. This means to excite to duty and dissuade from sin and requires a peculiar talent—a gift of the Spirit. It is not an office. We need laymen in our churches with the gift of exhortation —men who can arouse the brethren to greater activity; to be more than seat warmers. The exhortation of a Godly layman seems to have more effect than that of the pastor.
2c5) GIVING. Giving is both a duty and a grace “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia” (#2Co 8:1). Giving is the duty of all and a gift of grace bestowed upon some. Where this grace is exercised there will be large gifts for the work of the church. Let large givers give without fanfare or ostention.
2c6) RULING. The Greek word means “to go before,” or “to take the lead”. It is used of the bishop (pastor) in “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;” (#1Ti 3:4): “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine” (#1Ti 5:17). As a leader the pastor must be zealous and diligent. The pastorate is no place for a lazy man.
2c7) SHOWING MERCY. The gift of aiding the needy and of forgiving an enemy. And this must be done cheerfully and eagerly and sincerely. Gill thinks the last three gifts: giving, ruling, and showing mercy, relate to different branches of the deacon’s office. Perhaps so.
3. GENERAL DUTIES BASED UPON SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIPS (9-16).
#Ro 12:9. Love is to be sincere—without hypocrisy. Feigned love is disguised hate. “Abhorring evil.” It is not enough to cease from doing wrong; sin must be hated. “Cleaving to the good.” The Christian is not a mere negation; there is a positive side to his character. While hating evil he must love and hold fast to that which is good.
#Ro 12:10. We are to love one another as members of the same family. And where honor or preference is involved we should want another brother to have it. While the worldly vie with one another in receiving honor; the saints should compete with one another in giving honor.
#Ro 12:11. “Not slothful in business.” This has no reference to secular work, but to service for the Lord. We are to be on fire for the Lord. Stifler renders the verse this way: “In zeal (the outward) not slothful; in spirit (the inward human spirit) fervent; serving the Lord.”
#Ro 12:12. “Hope…tribulation…prayer”: the bulk of many a life. We may not be able to rejoice in present conditions but we can rejoice in hope of a better day. And this hope will give patience and steadfastness in the day of affliction, for hope sees an end to them. And while hoping and suffering we can keep on praying.
#Ro 12:13. We are to relieve the necessities of the saints, and practice hospitality. This implies private ownership of goods and is far removed from Socialism and Communism. Some will be better off than others. Let those who have, voluntarily share with those who have not. But indolence must not be encouraged or even tolerated. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies” (2Th 3:10,11) for a balancing truth. Every Christian home should be an inn where strangers of the household of faith might find entertainment: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (#Heb 13:2).
#Ro 12:14. Bless your persecutors. The saint must never answer in kind, must not fight the devil with fire; he knows more about that weapon than we do. We are to render blessing for cursing; not railing for railing.
#Ro 12:15. Share the experiences of others. Rejoice with the rejoicing ones and weep with the weeping. Here is Christian wisdom. Christ did not weep at Cana, nor laugh at the grave of Lazarus.
#Ro 12:16. “Be of the same mind one toward another.” Be easy to live with. Regard one another mutually, and let this attitude reach the lowly. Don’t be snobbish and exclusive. The world neglects and rejects the lowly, but Christ died for such people, and we should have fellowship with them in the body of Christ. And do not have a too high estimate of yourself.
4. CHRISTIAN GRACES TOWARD THE WORLD (17-21).
#Ro 12:17. Do not return evil for evil, but meet evil with good. And be honest. Watch your step for the eyes of the world are upon you. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (#Mt 5:16).
#Ro 12:18. Do your best to live at peace with all men. Be sure you are not at fault when peace is destroyed. If men hate you let them hate you for the truth’s sake and not for the evil you do.
#Ro 12:19. Do not seek revenge. Vengeance belongs to God. A Christian seeks revenge when he tries to get even with an enemy—he takes himself out of the hands of his Heavenly Father. It is a way of saying that you can handle your enemy better than He can. Do not usurp His place in judgment; wait for Him to act. He will set things right in His own time.
#Ro 12:20. Befriend your enemy. Help him in time of need. In this way you are heaping coals of fire on his head. This is the only punishment you may inflict—and take care you do not do it literally. A woman who complained of the ill treatment of her husband was asked if she had ever tried heaping coals of fire on his head replied by saying, “No, but I did dash a bucket of scalding water on him.”
#Ro 12:21. Be a conqueror. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Fight your foe with the weapon of good deeds. You conquer when you befriend an enemy, and leave vengeance with God to Whom it belongs. May grace be given to both writer and reader to heed these flesh-rebuking admonitions!
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 3
Why do believing sinners, who have done nothing sufficient to save themselves receive the reward of righteousness — eternal life? It is because Jesus, who did no sin, received the death penalty on their behalf!
Now that’s grace!
In the same way that our sin was reckoned to Christ, His righteousness was reckoned to us.
Now that’s grace!
My rags for His righteousness!
Now that’s grace!
Christ was treated as being something that He was not ….. a sinner, so that we would be treated as that which we are not…righteous.
Now that’s grace!
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
Now that’s grace!
So let us ask, at the cross did Christ become sinful in Himself? The answer is simple……No! 1000 time no! If he did become sinful in Himself, then it must also follow that we become savingly righteous within ourselves. It would also mean that the salvation which saves us is not reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4), it is within us. This then leads to a confounding of Law and Gospel where the believer’s holiness of life becomes the foundation and ground of His justification. But that is anti-gospel nonsense.
Our acceptance is not grounded on any quality within us, but on the worthiness and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
Now that’s grace!
The gospel concerns the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Christ. It is not about our doing and dying nor indeed about anything in us or about anything we have done. We have been credited with His righteousness, not because we deserve it but because we need it.
Now that’s grace!
Christ, however, was treated as though He were actually sinful in Himself and because of that, we are now treated as though we are actually righteous. His righteousness, not ours, remains our only qualification for heaven.
Now that’s grace!
But, back to the cross. Someone asks, “Were the sins placed on Jesus real sins, or was this whole drama merely an act?” If it were an act, then the righteousness that is placed on us is also a fiction. However, the good news is that the sins placed on Christ on were real and the righteousness reckoned to us is genuine. It is “even the righteousness of God,” (Romans 3:22-23) and causes us to pass from death to life.
Now that’s grace!
When sin was imputed to Jesus, His relationship with the Father was radically affected for it caused God to withdraw His presence from Him. God cannot dwell with sin. Conversely, when Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us it radically affected our standing with God. It caused the Father to draw us into His presence and welcome us. It brought us into a beautiful place of fellowship with the Father for He loves to have fellowship with the righteous in Christ.
Now that’s grace!
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Recently, I was stunned when reading the present Pope’s declaration concerning his upcoming ‘Year of Mercy’. Accordingly during that period Pope Francis will give priests a special dispensation of power to forgive those who have committed the sin of abortion.
A line from W.C. Fields sprang to my mind, “Hour of mischief, what kind of skulduggery is this?”
In his statement, the Pope expressed compassion for those who have aborted their babies. Furthermore, during the Holy Year of Mercy, he will permit priests to absolve penitent women of the sin of having had their pregnancies terminated.
How sweet of him, but who in the name of thunder does he think he is to give permission to anyone to forgive sins? Only God can forgive sins…and He doesn’t limit His forgiveness to a 12-month window of opportunity.
This entire Papal proposal reeks of arrogance from start to finish. It is another example of how Francis, mild-mannered as he is, assumes the position of God Almighty! How does he take it on himself to allow his priests to forgive a particular sin for a particular period of time?
All sin is sin against God (Psalm 51:4), it’s not against Pope Francis. Thus only God, not Francis, can forgive (Mark 2:7). Yet the Pope presumes to give power to his priests to do just that. But then again, there should be no surprise here for Francis claims to be the “Vicar of Christ.” That implies that he has the same power and authority that Christ has over the church. Why, in the light of this, do evangelicals in their droves now embrace the Pope as a Christian leader instead of declaring him to be Antichrist? Nary a whimper is to be heard from the pens and sermons of many Bible Believers as Francis perpetrates, perpetuates and promulgates his falsehoods and deceptions upon the gullible and the credulous.
There is only one priest who can deal with sin and his name is not Francis, His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the God-Man. He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by Him (Hebrews 7:25).
In contrast to Rome’s 12-month period of mercy, the Bible speaks of unlimited mercy found in God. We read in Ephesians 2:4-5, for example, that God is rich in Mercy… literally He’s ‘plush’ with mercy. And what is more, mercy for those who have aborted their babies is not limited to the time frame of one year. The throne of Grace is open to everyone who approaches by faith, at any time, for any sin regardless of the Pope’s sell by date. In fact, Hebrews 4:16 urges us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” There is mercy for those who come to Christ. He is the faithful High Priest, no other priest is required.
As I read the Pope’s statement, I was also reminded of how some years ago an old lady was lying on her death bed. A local priest came to see her and announced that he was there to absolve her of her sins. ”Let me see your hands, “she demanded.
“Yes, your hands.”
Reluctantly, the priest proffered his hands for examination. After a minute or so the old lady said; ”Sir, I perceive that you are an imposter. The only one who can absolve me has got nail scars in his hands….Scars that were received at the cross of Calvary.”
Perhaps someone who has had an abortion is reading this. It has deeply troubled your conscience. The guilt pierces you. You believe you are beyond forgiveness. I implore you, therefore, to look to Christ Jesus, plead guilty and throw yourself on His mercy. Your sins and iniquities He will remember no more.
May the Lord grant that you see the mercy and grace that is available to you in Christ Jesus. He is the only priest who can and will forgive sin for He alone is the God/Man!
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Here are some descriptions of grace.
It’s Amazing! Matchless and Marvellous!
One of our old hymns says it like this,
Marvellous 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.
According to Romans 5:20, Grace is also abounding!
Listen to our verse again.
Romans 5:20; ‘Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:’
There are two words for ‘abound’ found in this verse. They each have a different meaning. ‘Sin abounded’, (Gk ‘pleonazo’) ’But grace did much more abound,’ (Gk, ‘huperperisseuo’)! The sentence means something like this, ‘Where sin abounded, grace super-abounded’ or ‘Where sin overflowed, Grace flooded in!!!’
We might have expected to read that where sin abounded God’s anger and judgment abounded more. But sin can construct no dam which can keep us from the heaven-sent, abounding flood of grace that is ours in Christ Jesus.
One of the wonderful things about God’s grace is that it abounds to us for the past, present and future! Often when we think about grace we limit it to the past. We think about how we were saved (past tense) by grace. Ephesians 2:4-5, for example, highlights past grace; “God who is rich in mercy,made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
How beautifully undeserved is this grace. We don’t earn it or work for it, grace is God’s gift. He has saved us and called us—not because of anything we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace (2 Timothy 1:9). No wonder then that grace is Past, Present and Future!
Grace didn’t just begin on the cross. Notice when this grace was first given? It was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (2 Timothy 1:9).
That’s abounding grace!
Praise God for His past grace! But, grace is not only for the past it is also for the present. God’s grace doesn’t end when we begin our Christian walk.
There is present grace. His grace impacts our lives right this moment. If we are saved, it’s because God’s grace is continuing to save us at this very moment.
The Bible says that; “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:1-2).
We are standing in grace! Our feet are firmly fixed in grace! Abounding Grace has placed us as acquitted before the throne of God and risen in Christ forever beyond the reach of judgment.
God’s abounding, present grace is operating right now, it is surrounding us at this very second. In fact, the only person who doesn’t need God’s continuing grace is the person who never sins. And we all sin! So why doesn’t God just strike us down?….the answer is GRACE, abounding grace.
Look at what happened here in Ireland. The Irish nation, in its folly, became the first nation in the world to vote in, by referendum, the legality of same-sex marriage. In the wake of the vote, members of the LBGT coalition were quick to trumpet that a double rainbow appeared over Dublin immediately after the success of the Yes vote was announced. They said it was a sign of God’s approval of the subject of their campaign (see HERE).
But here’s a reality check! Rainbows have nothing to do with same-sex marriage! The rainbow is God’s covenant promise that he will not destroy the earth again through literal floods of judgment (Genesis 9:11-17). The rainbow is a symbol of GRACE, not a demonstration of divine approval of same-sex marriage.
We are praying that the nation of Ireland will receive grace and not judgment for their defiance of God. And remember this, God gave a double rainbow on the day of the catastrophic result. Could that be prophetic? Prophetic of abounding grace? Perhaps it means that God will indeed visit us in Ireland with the converting power of His gospel? For, where sin abounds, grace super-abounds. Where sin overflows, grace floods in!
Grant it Lord, grant it! Abound in your grace!
And that’s the Gospel Truth!