Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grace Flows Down Like Water

And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. -John 1:16

What do you have that you did not receive? 1 Corinthians 4:7b

I have heard it said that Jesus does not want our ability but our availability. May I offer a quibble here?

I agree that it is true that our talents are gifts from God to be used in his service. In fact the danger here is to fall into some sort of mush-mouthed  "aw shucks" false humility in admitting this fact.

Sin is indeed "crouching at the door," desiring to trip us up. Our nature is such that, even though regenerate, even our good deeds may become occasions for sinful pride.

And it is on this point that I quibble with the above statement, however well-intentioned it may be. Why or how am I available to God? Is it because that, now that I have believed in Jesus, I am a better person than I was? A "new creation," even?

Well. Yes. But that doesn't get to the heart of the matter, which is simply that it's ALL a gift. Grace, you see.

For as I look into my heart (and like Paul writing in Romans 7 am driven to near despair), I find many obstacles, all sorts of objections and excuses, to whatever good God-pleasing thing I feel led to do.

Remnants of the old, self-pleasing man still remain and he is prone to inertia (remember the second Law of Physics?). So I find a need to pray, not just for strength and ability to perform the task at hand, but the desire, the compulsion even.

Jesus said, "I must be about my Father's business." That's the kind of desire I need, O Lord.

That grace.

 I know that I am heaven-bound, a stranger in this land, a pilgrim making my way home. But praise be to God, His grace did not cease to flow at the hour of my salvation.

For as the hymnodist John Kent wrote: "Hallelujah, Grace shall reign eternally."


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