Our Mandate – Grace

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. Jn. 1:12-16

Before I go ahead and discuss today’s subject, I have an apology to make. I wouldn’t want to bury my head in the sand and pretend that this blog is running extremely well. My readers will certainly have noticed that, of late, I have been posting very irregularly, and that my posts are few and far between. I pray that no one will interpret this as a sign of slackness on my part, for I carry the running of this blog as a serious responsibility from God.

The reason for my long absence here has to do with other responsibilities which have recently cropped up and had to be dealt with. But they are only temporary, and I will soon be free to run this blog like clockwork.

My apologies, therefore, to all those who might have began thinking that I had given up on this blog! Not, by the longest shot.

Today I want us to meditate on our responsibility as children of God. As sons and daughters of God, we have a responsibility in this world. We are called to be men and women of grace – and truth. Let us combine verses 12 and 16 in this portion of scripture, which makes perfect sense:

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name… And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”

The Bible here says that we who have believed in Christ have received the fulness of God’s grace. In other words, we potentially have as much grace as Jesus had when He was here on earth. For Jesus came and lived on earth in the body of flesh, without sin (v.14). Even in the flesh Jesus reflected the fulness of God’s grace and truth.

I can almost hear a pin drop as we contemplate the profundity of this fact. Knowing how weak we are, we wonder if that could even have been possible.

But as children of God, we are mandated to carry the same grace and truth that Jesus carried. Why? Because this was God’s mandate to Jesus, and Jesus accomplished it to the full. How could we do less?

But carrying the grace and truth of God is not easy, for it requires death to the flesh. The Apostle Paul was one of the people who fought valiantly against the flesh, and yet he had this to say:

“18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Rom. 7:18-19)

In other words, Paul by and of himself could not carry the grace of God and do that which pleased God.

Paul concludes cryptically:

“24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…” (vs. 24-25)

But in Galatians 6:14, he explains exactly what he means by these words.

“14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Paul knew what he wanted. It was only through the cross that Paul could find the grace and truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So Paul gladly welcomed the cross and the sufferings of Christ into his life.

Where can we find true joy? It is when our flesh is crucified on the cross. This is where we can find true spiritual victory. This is what we find with Paul, the apostles and the early church.

Unfortunately, the flesh does not love to be crucified. The enemy of our souls, the devil, knowing this, has set in the path of God’s people heretical gospels, gospels that cater to the flesh. And men, as long as they have “religion” in their system, are contented. When God’s people are following only religion, but are not allowing the crucifixion of their flesh, there is no spiritual growth in their lives; and it is this growth that makes us men and women of grace and truth.

If the Church today is serious about fulfilling God’s mandate to carry His grace and truth as our Lord Jesus did, then there can be only one way to achieving this: it is by walking in the revelation of the cross, denying self, taking up our cross and following Christ.

Only through the power of resurrection can we truly walk in God’s grace and truth.

Finally, let us consider what it means to walk in God’s grace and truth.

It means being a good person. But it is more than that. It is to be spiritual, something which is infinitely far beyond being just good. Being a spiritual person is knowing the will of God. And in most cases the will of God has nothing to do with being good in the natural.

[Below: A young boy in Mwanza City breezes along in his wooden ‘car’]

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