The Love of God (part 3)

Greetings precious people. Over the past two weeks articles, we have been looking at the Wonderful Love of God. What makes His Love so amazing is His Grace and Mercy. God in His Mercy does not give to us what we deserve. Because of our sin, we deserve Godís judgement and wrath. Instead of giving us what we deserve, God gives us what we do not deserve, His Grace. The Grace of God is His unmerited, unearned, undeserved Love and favor which includes the forgiveness of all our sins, eternal life, and Ďreal lifeí now.

I am continually amazed at the wonderful love of God that He shows me each day. As I realize not only how much of a sinner I was, but also how much of a sinner I still am, yet God continues to show me His Mercy and Grace each day, I am just blown away. When God saved me, He didnít just know my past sins that I had committed, but He also knew all the sins that I would commit till the day I die.

The Bible, Godís Word, tells us emphatically that the Grace of God saves a personís sole. There is nothing that you or I can do to atone for my sins.

Man has two major problems with the Salvation and Grace of God. First, he doesnít think that he needs Salvation. If he recognizes himself to be a sinner, he fails to see Ďhisí sin as being Ďthat badí to condemn him to Hell. He looks around and sees others that are worse than he, and thinks heís not all that bad. He can understand why Ďothersí would need to be saved from their sins, but not him. This is simple pride at work in a personís heart. The unwillingness to humble oneself under the mighty hand of God and accept Godís assessment of all of mankind, we are poor, pitiful, lost sinners in need of the Grace of God.

The second major problem man has with the Salvation and Grace of God is, if he recognizes himself to be a sinner in need of Godís Salvation, he refuses the Grace of God. He feels that there is something that Ďheí must do to save himself. To perform some sort of rite or ritual, pay a certain amount of money; suffer a certain degree of pain or sorrow to make atonement for his sin. This too, reveals the pride within the heart of man and defines for us what we call religion.

Religion differs from Christianity in many different ways. The most significant being that of itís foundation. Religion is mans attempt to reach up to God through some work, effort, sacrifice of his own to merit the favor of God. Christianity is the Almighty God reaching down to man through the Lord Jesus Christ to save him because he is not able to do anything of his own to save him. What a radical difference!

Look at what the Bible has to say about Salvation by the Grace of God vs. salvation by works. In Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Romans 3:23-26, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 4:1-6, "What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt." But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works." 2 Timothy 1:8-10, "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." Titus 2:11, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." Titus 3:4-7, "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

Think with me for a minute. Before Jesus breathed His last on the Cross of Calvary, He uttered these words, "It is finished." Our English word finished comes form the Greek word Ďteleoí which means, to complete; execute; conclude; accomplish; make an end; finish; pay. When Jesus uttered those three words, "It is finished" He was announcing that the work of paying the price for manís salvation was complete, finished, paid in full. His work on the Cross of Calvary 2000 years ago, satisfied the requirement for the debt that you and I owe for our sins today. He saw through the ages and paid that debt by His sacrifice. His sacrifice spans the centuries. Now what do you think that you could possibly add to what He did that would make you more acceptable to God?

All that God requires a person to do is to turn (repent, turn away from sin) to Jesus Christ and place his or her trust in what He has already done and promised to do. In Romans 10:9-13, "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

Have you done this? Have you put all your trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of your soul? If you havenít, why donít you do it right now. If you have already done this, let me ask you, are you living for Him? Next time we will look at how it is by the Grace of God that we live the Christian life. Until then may the Lord richly bless you my beloved.

If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail ccalpine@juno.com

Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine