Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Grace is a Great Blessing!

Meditation for the week of November 20, 2011

(Hebrews 13:25)  Grace be with you all. Amen.

The writer to the Hebrews closes his epistle by hoping that those who read the letter will be benefited by its teaching.  The fundamental theme of the epistle is that Christ and His blessings are better than the blessings available under the old testament law. Apparently the writer knew that there were quite a few Jews who claimed to be followers of the Lord when they were in fact trying to be perfected by the keeping of the old testament law.  Obviously, not all of his readers understood this grace that he wrote about.

The word for grace is sometimes translated favor in the Bible.  Sometimes it is translated thanks, sometimes pleasure, and sometimes it is seen as a free gift.  It is a spiritual blessing that comes from a loving God.  All who are saved have received the grace (or gift) of eternal life according to Romans 6:23.  Grace is contrasted to the law in a number of places.  For example Romans 6:14 says,  “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”  God’s grace is available to all but has been truly received and appreciated by only a few.

This contrast between law and grace concerns the writer of the Hebrew epistle.  Do his readers really understand that grace AND truth came by Jesus Christ?  Do they really understand that the law cannot save, only Christ saves?  Do they understand that the Lord has now placed His name with a new group of people called the church and that the ceremonies of the old testament nation are not the ceremonies of the new testament church? 

While grace is seen in the old testament, that does not seem to be the predominant theme.  Ruth, a Moabite, was shown favor by Boaz who  is a picture of the Lord in the book of Ruth.  While there are other examples of grace in the old testament, most reading the old testament would likely be more taken with the righteousness of God as seen in His judging sin than in the grace of God as seen in his providing an undeserved salvation. 

I am thankful for the grace of God.  Some seem to think that grace means that God has predetermined who will believe and that those who are saved have nothing to do with their own faith in Christ.  This view  holds that believers believe because God has chosen them to believe.  However, grace does not mean that we cannot do anything to be saved.  Instead,  it means that we cannot do anything to DESERVE to be saved.  But we can strive to enter in, we can seek, we can ask to know the truth.  When the truth is presented to us, we can agree with God and believe it.  However, God does predestine those who do believe in His Son to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).  He chooses people for certain jobs just as He chose twelve men to be His apostles.  He does predestine believers to be with Him in heaven and he predestines unbelievers to be banished to hell and ultimately the Lake of Fire forever. 

One of the big contrasts between God and man is this character of grace. God’s grace is undeserved and yet it is available to all and is bestowed freely on all who trust the Savior.  Men show grace to those they like or to those who have in some way “earned” their favor which means that it is not true grace at all.  Grace is liberating and freeing.  The law and its associated religion is burdensome and captivating.  We who live this side of the cross and who have benefited by faith in the grace of God are indeed a blessed people.  We are loved, we are saved, we are freed from the bondage of sin, we have a glorious future that we do not deserve waiting for us “on the other side”. 

It is so easy to trade this precious grace for the burden of religious hypocrisy.  We find it easy to  trade this free gift for the obligatory works of the law.   No wonder, this writer wants ALL of his readers to enjoy grace. 

When we are enjoying grace, we are enjoying the Lord.

Bruce Collins

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