Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Living in the Grip of Relentless Grace

What do you think about when you read that title? I just finished a commentary with that title, written by Iain Duguid. It's about the lives of Isacc and Jacob. I wish I could just quote the whole book here, but I can't so you should buy it. I used it in my devotions as I studied different parts of Genesis.
The book and of course the Bible point me to the fact that God uses wretches like me to do amazing things. Isaac and Jacob were conniving, dishonest men who manipulated their way through life. Jacob stole Esau's blessing, and wandered around for years when God had specifically told him where he should settle down (Bethel), just to name a few things. YET, he is the father of the twelve tribes of Israel!
Here is what Mr Duguid says.. "The doctrine of election is a difficult one for many people. They struggle with the justice of the idea that God chooses some for salvation and passes over others. Some people, therefore, have argued that it is a matter of God's foreknowledge. God knows in advance which people are going to choose him, and therefore he responds by choosing them. The Bible, however, is clear. God's love for his chosen people existed long before their birth, all the way back to the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4-5). God does not love us because he foresaw we would love him. Rather, we love God because he loved us from the first (1 John 4:10). In this way, our salvation is seen to rest on God's mercy and not on anything in us (Romans 9:16)."
"We should also notice, however, that Jacob is not chosen because, in contrast to Esau, he is such a wonderful person. Jacob shows himself to be a scheming, conniving, calculating little rat, especially during the first part of his life. Nonetheless, because God's choice rests upon him out of his sovereign mercy, God is going to work on Jacob, reshaping him, purifying him into a son he can use. Neither Jacob nor Esau deserves God's grace in his life, but God's sovereign mercy rests upon Jacob for his blessing, and so his grace begins the transforming work in his heart."
WOW! God did not choose me based on my merit! Thank goodness for that. I'd surely be sitting in hell. Thank you Lord for continuing to work on me, to reshape me and purify me!

Here's another one.."God's purposes for man's ultimate good will stand; they cannot be frustrated by human failures. This is a tremendously important biblical principle: your sin, even while it may have real and lasting earthly consequences, cannot derail God's gracious purpose for your life!!"
And this, "We see that Jacob was not instantaneously transformed into a holy person by his encounter with God. In spite of God's promise of protection, when trouble seems to be looming, he will continue to try to scheme his way out of it. Old habits die hard. The road to sanctification for Jacob was long and gradual and ultimately incomplete in this life. So it is also with us. We are faced daily with the choice between trusting the promise or falling into habitual patterns of sin. How frequently in our experience sin wins out over faith in the promise! Doubtless, during those times of life, Jacob would have had to return frequently to Bethel in his mind and recall the reality of God's grace. So also we should frequently remind ourselves of the grace of God shown to us in the cross of Christ, especially when we have sinned. This is a spiritual journey upon which we have been given the Lord's Supper as a vital help. As Paul tells us, "Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of Christ not simply as the general answer to the sins of the world but also to ourselves as the particular answer to our sin. Our hunger to be reminded of grace should make us long to come to the Lord's table often and should make our experience of God's grace there deep and precious."
This seems to be a theme that God has been continually pointing me to lately-that he has chosen me based on his rightousness alone and that he will accomplish his purposes through me. Through doing this study, life's circumstances, and the book we are reading in care group "The Big Picture," I have come to this conclusion. So I have decided to change my blog title to reflect that. Surely I do live in the Grip of Relentless Grace. Glory to God.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

That was so great - thanks for sharing that!