Musings – 11/24/12
These chapters were about God's love and His grace. They were very good, but also called us to action. The author had some pretty powerful truths to share. First, in the God is Love chapter, he restated the fact that God is love, but He's holy love. This means that He loves, but He also hates sin.
The chapter about grace was very good. The author started out by stating the numerous ways we are fallen people. First, we are inherently immoral. We're sinners, and we cannot do anything about it. The phrase: people are generally good? Well, that's wrong, sadly. Yes, we can do good things, but only with God. Second, God is a just God. He is a fair, just judge. He will judge us righteously in the end. Only if we are covered with the blood of Jesus can we get to heaven. We cannot do anything of ourselves. No one can do anything to get them to heaven. Third, God is free. Somehow, we sometimes feel that God is obliged to love and help us, though we never deserve it. God does not have to forgive us, love us, or even pay attention to us. I mean, He created the universe! Why should he care about some little people who don't even obey Him?
So where does that leave us? Totally fallen and unable to ever escape our sinful world or commune with our Creator. Pretty sad, huh? But God didn't want it to end there. A sentence from the book states: "...once a person is convinced that his state and need are as described [hopeless], the New Testament gospel of grace cannot but sweep him off his feet with wonder and joy. For it tells how our Judge has become our Savior." (Packer, 132) The grace of which he speaks of is the grace found in the New Testament; the story of His Son, Jesus dying on the cross to atone for the sins of humanity. It is by God's grace that we can even pray, speak, or be saved by Him.
Mr. Packer made three particular statements, all of which are a marvel to the Christian. First, Grace is the source of the pardon of sin. The gospel centers upon the justification or remission of our sins. "Justification is free to us, but it was costly to God, for its price was the atoning death of God's Son." (Packer, 133). Isn't that awesome? Second, grace is the motive of the plan of salvation. The analysis of grace begins with the movement of sonship in Christ (we are now God's children, once we accept Christ), proceeds to redemption and remission of sins, and moves on to the hope of eternal life and glory with Christ. Third, grace is the guarantee of the preservation of the saints. The saints here are referring to the Christians. And grace is that guarantee that we will be in heaven when the world ends, whenever that be.
The proper response to that gift of grace which God so graciously gave us is first, the acceptance of it so that our lives are changed and our sins erased, and second, the actions and lifestyle which result from the knowledge of God's grace. When we completely understand how poor and hopeless we are, then the story of grace becomes that much more unbelievable and attractive. Who could resist a God who is perfect, but still desires that we should be the closest of friends? xo, Ella