March 25, 2018

Great Is Your Faithfulness – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)

Most have heard and sung the beautiful song by this title, written in 1925 by Thomas Chisholm. He was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky and became a Christian when he was twenty-seven. He began preaching when he was thirty-six, though poor health forced him to retire after just one year. Toward the end of his life, referring to this song, he said, “I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”

That God is faithful, simply means He will keep His word. He will do what He says He will do. Once we have become His child, He promises to provide everything we need to live an effective fruitful, victorious Christian life and He is faithful to His promise and we need to be reminded.

For example, when we are tempted to sin or are tested we are promised: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (I Corinthians 10:13).

He will ground us firmly in His truth and keep us from moral and spiritual harm. “…the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (II Thessalonians 3:3).

When we do sin He assures us that, ” If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).

With all our failings, when we commit ourselves to Him and meet the conditions of His will, we have the assurance that He will eventually perfect us in Christ, and He faithfully will continue this until it is done. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24).

All that He has promised, He will do, even when we are unfaithful to Him, He remains faithful to us and will still keep all His promises, per His clearly stated conditions. “If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (II Timothy 2:12-13).

Many pervert God’s promise of faithfulness. Even in the midst of clearly stated “if’s”, they claim it is unconditional. However, as we recoil from that error, let’s be sure to see and treasure His real assurances. God faithfully promises to faithful Christians that He “…will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (I Corinthians 1:8).

Therefore, we determine to be faithful. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;” (Hebrews 10:23)

 

 

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March 11, 2018

Grace Upon Grace – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” (“one gracious gift after another,” NET) (John 1:16)

Most of us are more familiar with verse 14 of this is chapter, where John says,

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

From this passage, we usually focus attention on the mind-boggling idea that the eternal, “Word became flesh,” or the spectacular “glory” John saw at the transfiguration, or that Jesus brought the complete fullness of truth into a world to whom God’s mysterious plans had only been dimly revealed.

However, two verses later John emphasizes another facet of verse 14; that Jesus was “full of grace.” He reveals that, from this fullness, we receive “grace upon grace,” or, “one gracious gift after another.” The idea is that the reservoir is inexhaustible.

Unfortunately, many use the amazing grace of God as a springboard to launch demonic ideas that virtually erase the accountability of the gospel. Our Calvinistic friends confuse “inexhaustible” grace with “unconditional,” grace; a false doctrine, absolutely inconsistent with scripture.

Paul urged those at Pisidian Antioch to “continue in the grace of God,” (Acts 14:43) clearly indicating they might not.

The condition of those who did not is described in Galatians 5:4.

“You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

The ultimate consequence of failing to meet God’s conditions of grace is illustrated in Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthians,

“we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain(II Corinthians 6:1).

God’s ultimate judgment, which includes and excludes inexhaustible grace, will be determined, defined by His divine standard.

“on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge…” (Romans 2:16)

Judgment “according to my gospel,” in the minds of far too many, means according to the good news that God removed their sins unconditionally, even though they do not “continue in the grace of God,” having disobeyed and “fallen from grace.”

The gospel, God’s standard of judgment, necessarily involves the “truth of the gospel.” (Galatians 2:5, 14) Immorality contradicts the gospel.

“…immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel…” (I Timothy 1:10-11)

Christians rejoice in the inexhaustible grace that promises sinners, even enemies, forgiveness, reconciliation, blamelessness now, and promises of incomprehensible, eternal blessings in the world to come.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Furthermore, that inexhaustible grace enables worthless failures to be useful in the work that God planed before the foundation of the world and sent His son to this earth to accomplish.

“For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (I Corinthians 15:9-10)

“let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)

Still further, there is more. We need grace for times of testing and opposition as well as for serving.

“…do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. …But He gives a greater grace. …7… Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’” (James 4:4-7)

“…there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me — to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:7-9)

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;” (II Corinthians 9:8-9)

Jesus promises grace for forgiveness (according to His gospel), grace to do His work, grace when tempted, grace whenever we need help, strengthening, sufficient grace for every need, “grace upon grace,” “one gracious gift after another.”