Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Sure Foundation

Is there anything you need to do to improve on God's grace? Unfortunately, there are many people today who think that in order to lead a completely Christian life you need to follow a pattern of rules, regulations, and laws. But the reality is that it is by faith that you were saved and the Holy Spirit took up residence in you and empowered you. It wasn't because you followed certain rituals or commands.

Abraham was justified not by his works of obedience, but by his faith, which produced the works of obedience. God had promised to make Abraham a blessing through his descendants (Genesis 12:1-3), Abraham trusted in that promise and by faith he obeyed God's commands.

It is not the obedience of a command that saves anyone, salvation has always been granted on the basis of personal faith. I would urge you to be very careful when someone tries to put their conditions on your salvation, saying things like, "Faith is fine, but it’s really not enough - you must follow our way." Or, "You must be baptized in our church." It is the grace of God that brought salvation to us...why would it now be left solely up to us to continue in our walk with Him? Jesus has promised us that He will change us from the inside...through the power of the Holy Spirit! (Luke 24:49) You see, no rule or regulation can do more for you than what Jesus did on the cross...His sacrifice for us was a one time - for all time event, never needing to be repeated!

The Lord, in Isaiah 28:16 said, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation..." What an encouragement for us...that we don't have to put our trust in our own abilities, or the rules and regulations of others...our trust is in the solid, sure foundation of Christ!

Monday, August 8, 2011

God Pursues Us When We Fail

After Peter denied Christ some would have thought that his ability to follow and serve God was over, but Jesus, upon His resurrection, pursued the wayward apostle, desiring to restore him to a place of communion with God and service for the Master. John 21:15-17 records Jesus' conversation with Peter, "Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Feed My lambs.' He said to him again a second time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Tend My sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed My sheep.'"
Our Lord is in the restoration business and that's just what He did for the Apostle Peter, He brought him back to a place where he could be used by God. Jesus seeks out that which is lost and He draws back the wandering Christian after they have failed. Jesus repairs us when we are broken. He takes care of us, He strengthens us, and He refreshes us when we are at our lowest. If there are sins that separate us from the Lord, God will deal with these things; He will settle the unfinished business so that we can walk closely with Him. God is not surprised when we fail. But it is through our brokenness that God brings healing!
Have you wandered away from the Lord? Have you failed? Are there things in your life that need to be dealt with? Do you know that God is pursuing you? He desires to restore you - to repair that which is broken in your life. Jesus is YOUR Good Shepherd; will you once again turn back to Him?