What is grace to you? For me, it’s just what it says it is: God’s unmerited favor. I will also add, it’s undeserved kindness! God’s grace is for everyone.
Paul and Barnabas were teaching in Antioch and some men (Pharisee party) insisted that before a person could become a true Christian he must keep the law of Moses, which included circumcision. They were adamant that the “Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses. (Acts 15: 5)
Paul’s argument was that “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did for us, for He purified their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15: 8)
- God’s love and grace makes no distinction between “us and them.” Neither should we.
Do we have “us and them” in our vocabulary? The longer I know Him, the more I come to realize it’s “as one.” “As one,” cannot separate like “us and them.”
Paul reiterates that “God showed His concern by taking from the Gentile a people for Himself.” (Acts 15: 14) He reminds them, it’s only “Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that we are saved, just as you are.” (Acts 15: 11)
“We should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (Acts 15: 19)
- Rules and regulations keep people from the Lord.
- Religion is a set of rules. Christianity is a relationship.
- The gospel is “Come as you are.”
The Holy Spirit welcomes all. We all have a past. We all have things we are working on. We all are a work in progress. No one has arrived.
Please, don’t ever think that you have to clean up before you come to Jesus. He loves us as we are. He accepts us, just as I am. God’s grace is for all to know and see. My fellow Christian, God’s grace is seen in us.
I am just starting to understand this: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6: 1-2) (Taken from Acts 15: 1-21, Paraphrased)
The words of Job have ended, for a short while. A new man comes on the scene to speak. His name is Elihu. This fourth counselor had been on the sidelines listening to the dispute-dialogue. So now he’s ready to speak, to let Job and the three other friends know that they are all wrong!
He begins and declares, “It is the Spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.” (Job 32: 8) I say Amen to that!
- It’s important to discern what “spirit” or “Spirit” is speaking.
Elihu continues as he is “Full of words, and the Spirit within me compels me; inside I am like a bottled up wine, like a new wineskin ready to burst.” (Job 32: 18-19)
- There is a time to speak and a time to listen.
- The Holy Spirit will show you when it’s time to speak, Ya might feel like you’re gonna burst! (Taken from Job 32, Paraphrased)
Joshua is full of words at this point as he is blessing, prophesying, and giving his farewell to the leaders. He exhorts them saying, “The Lord your God fights for you, just as He promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God.” (Joshua 23: 10-11)
He reminds them that every promise has been fulfilled and that not one has failed. But he warns them not to violate the covenant. God takes covenants seriously! He prophesies, “Fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods…and serve the Lord. If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24: 14-15)
He concludes by setting up a large stone under the oak near the holy place of the Lord, as a memorial. Joshua sent the people away, and died at 110.
This covenant should be active and alive in our lives today, as believers. I don’t understand how some have said that the Old Testament is not valid anymore.
- Yielding our hearts to the Lord is what He always wanted.
- Circumcising our hearts is what He wants.
- Jesus wants pure hearts before Him.
These are all the same concept, only said in a different manner. Just pick one and live by it!
This covenant that Joshua spoke forth is a renewal that God’s people today can glean from. His covenant of grace, with us, enables us to serve him with pure hearts–out of love and devotion, not out of obligation. Others will know and see the difference in our hearts, as Holy Spirit teaches us to yield.
UNBROKEN LOVE SERIES
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