I spent some time in church this morning, before participating in Holy Communion, in deep reflection on the words of a powerful hymn, about which I had previously shared:
And now O Father mindful of thy love.......
Look father look on his anointed face,
And only look on as found in hin;
Look not on our misusings of thy grace....
And I realized how much these words apply very profoundly to each and every human being - not just Christians, even though as believers we carry a particularly heavy burden. As the reality is that when Christ died on the Cross of Calvary for our sins, grace ( as we did nothing to deserve such " amazing love" ) a window of opportunity was opened for every human being born of the Sin of Adam, to escape the " deserved" wrath of God, and to be reconciled with the Creator of heaven and earth. But how badly, how arrogantly, how persistently rebellious, how forgetfully, how dismissively, how easily have we "misused" that grace. For some of us, it happens even before we leave the church building on a Sunday morning after a" wonderful service For others, even after God's mercy has been particularly evident in our lives and we have been duly thankful - for a few days. And for others the temptations to " follow the way of the world", are just too much and we fall, and wonder why we cannot be obedient to Him who died for us on the Cross. It's a daily struggle. Being thankful for God's grace and mercy and being equally aware of how we " misuse" this grace - judging others, being unkind in thought and word, getting angry easily, keeping malice, going through the day and getting caught with living, and not remembering the Lord for hours, having an unforgiving spirit when God in Christ forgave and forgave and forgave and forgave and.......
But as I was reminded week by the Psalmist, we have so much more to give thanks for in the midst of our " misusings of thy grace".
Praise the Lord O my soul and .......
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbour his anger forever;
he does treat us as our sins deserve,
or repay us according to our iniquities......
for he knows how we are formed, and he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103 1-14 NIV
Thank God indeed.
The other, and now clearly related issue, which struck me this week was that, it is precisely because " we are dust", shaped in iniquity, and living according to the flesh, why we cannot truly live the Christian life until, we are transformed by the Spirit of Christ. The problem is that unbelievers cannot comprehend this revelation, and many believers, are not yet at the place where they can accept that we can be " like Christ", though sinful. As if we are condemned to
" misuse God's grace" forever. And our Lord did not die on the Cross to give us a partially holy life, a incomplete salvation but the " abundant life". The following meditations by Oswald Chambers I found very instructive this week, and should help us " to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be build up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:12-13.
SANCTIFICATION JULY 23
"Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us...sanctification"
1 Cor. 1:30
The Life Side. The mystery of sanctification is that the perfections of Jesus Christ are imparted to me, not gradually, but instantly when by faith I enter into the realization that Jesus Christ is made unto me sanctification. Sanctification does not mean anything less than the holiness of Jesus Christ being made mine manifestly.
The one marvellous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh. Sanctification is " Christ in you". It is His wonderful life that is imparted by faith as a Sovereign gift of God's grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real to me as it is in His Word?
Sanctification means the impartation of the qualities of Jesus Christ. It is His patience. His love. His holiness, His faith, His purity, His godliness that is manifested and in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness the holiness that was manifest in Him,and He manifests it in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is on a different line. In Jesus Christ is the perfection of everything, and the mystery of sanctification is that all perfections of Jesus are at my disposal, and slowly and surely I begin to live a life of ineffable order and sanctity and holiness: " Kept by the power of God".
Now we can begin to understand why Herod, (representing the evil powers of this world) tried to kill the Christ child. Why evil forces continue to try and " dilute" the message of the Gospel. Why false prophets are so prevalent in our churches and trying to lead God's people astray.
Why the hymn writer was moved to pen these words in that glorious song:
Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown
When thou camest to earth for me........
O come to me heart Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart fro thee
Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word,
That should set thy people free,
But with mocking scorn and a crown of thorn
They bore thee to Calvary:
O come to my heart Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for thee.
Because any day we children of God realize our full potential in Christ Jesus, there will indeed be a mighty army of God marching through the Land: " setting the captives free, searching for the lost, binding up the wounded, healing the sick and caring for the dying" , all for the glory of God. But first we have to repent of our " misusings of thy grace", and invite Jesus to :
" Come into my heart Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee"