Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Have You Found Grace?

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Genesis 6:8

I found myself in a online debate the other day with a man proclaiming that all religions hold truth.  It is a fairly common belief.  God must have many paths to heaven so any valid means that will get you there is fine.  He then asked me to show how Christianity and "my" true gospel were any different that that of any other religion.  Fair enough!  How is true biblical Christianity different than all other religion, and what makes it distinct and unique enough to be the only valid truth?  In one simple word--grace!  Have you found grace?

Rather than discuss the faulty reasoning in God allowing many truths (which has been done on this site frequently), let's look at what makes the gospel distinct and separate from all other religion.  Religion, no matter who the "prophet" was who instituted it, has one main method of salvation.  It is the belief that each person can be good enough, do enough good works, or follow a distinct set of rules so that God is impressed enough to allow that person to enter heaven after their merits are weighed in God's scale of justice.  In other words, each man or woman can do enough good to be his or her own savior.  It sounds reasonable.  Yet, the Bible clearly warns, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25)"   Furthermore, it is constantly repeated that all sin and are unworthy of heaven.  Question:  How much sin did it take to force Adam and Eve to leave Eden and eternity in the first place?  ONE! 

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:23

Simply put, man made religion ignores God and his many unique attributes, two of which are fearful and awesome when throughly considered.  The first attribute is His utter and complete holiness.  He is absolutely holy.  This is the very cry of the angels in His presence continually, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!" He is so holy that no being tainted by even one sin can forever stay in his presence.  This is the very reason that a simple rebellion in Eden forced Adam from the garden until a means to atone for sin could be enacted.  

Next, God is ultimately just.  Let's say that someone lived for 25 years without committing any theft; however, circumstances at 25 convinced him/her that armed robbery would be OK.  What would you think of a judge that did not sentence this armed robber for his crime? Should one act of hate or murder at 60 prevent justice from being rendered? Using an old formula I learned somewhere long ago, let's say that you only sin just 3 times daily.  Maybe a "white" lie or two and the omission to do good or be truthful.  In a year you would have 1095 crimes against God's court.  If you lived 70 years at that rate, you would enter God's just and holy court with 76,650 indictments against you!  Do you now wish to convince THE just and holy Judge that you are good enough to enter heaven's society?

John Newton: Writer Of Amazing Grace

The author of the great hymn, "Amazing Grace", John Newton understood clearly that he was undone before a holy God and in need of grace.  He had a long list of transgressions.  As a blasphemous atheist, he had led many into the false notion that there was no God.  He even watched one of his "disciples" in futility, a man he led to atheism, die a Christless death in Africa.  He had been involved with the death of hundreds as a member of the slave trade.  The list of transgressions escalated quickly by his early 20s until he one day realized that he was hopelessly lost.  As a youth, he had tried to live right.  He even dabbled in asceticism, punishing himself to appease God.  All it did was to make him see the futility in trying to be good enough to please God while building a hatred towards a harsh, demanding God.  

Grace is God's free gift of salvation by trusting in the atoning work of Jesus.  God also loves you!  Divine love is one of His many attributes too.  He does not wish for you to be caught in sin nor to try and serve as your own advocate in his court.  Only a fool represents himself.  Jesus will assist you in pleading guilty in God's court today if you will accept him as your advocate.  " And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous...( 1 John 2:1b)." In grace, he will then assure that the atoning death at His cross covers you sin.  You will be saved by God's free gift and not by trying to appease a holy, just God with good works.  This is what makes true Christianity stand out distinct and separate from all religion of man!  God is the savior--not man! It is the message that made John Newton receive this free gift of pardon when he realized he was guilty and undone before God!  

Time is short.  Jesus is coming.  God's justice is about to cause Him to set in motion those events which will bring an end to the sin of humanity.  Are you ready?  If not, find grace!  It is amazing!  Hurry!  Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!

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