The Cross For His Grace

In recent times I have been traveling a lot and, on one of these days, as I was waiting for the bus to fill up at the bus terminal, I found myself in a conversation with God that went as follows.

Me: “Oh, glory! Thank you, Lord, for all this travelling; as you know, I love the adventure of travel and you have been so gracious to me in this regard.”

God: “Oh yeah?”

Me: “Yes, Lord. I am truly grateful. Moreover, these travels keep me far from home where, as you rightly said, a prophet has no honor in his own country.”

God: “Oh! I said that, did I?”

Me: “Yes, Lord. Back at home, there are so many things that make me to stumble in my walk with You, but out here, there is so much peace!”

God: “Oh? Peace. Is that so?”

Me: “Of course, Lord.”

At this point, the Lord left off talking with me. The small bus had filled up and the driver got in behind the wheel.

As soon as the bus began moving, the driver turned on the radio. The volume was automatically set to the highest level possible, and the driver left it right there.

“Hey!” I shouted from the back seat where I was seated. “Please turn down the volume of your radio.”

The driver did not respond. He did not even look back to see who had called out to him. I could not believe it. Had he not heard me? Even above the din, I had shouted loud enough for anyone outside the bus to hear.

I took a closer look at the driver and for the first time I noticed the fellow had a nasty haircut which I took an instant dislike to. I looked at him again and I did not like anything about him.

I called out for the second time.

“Driver”, I shouted loudly again. “Please turn down your radio.”

No response.

I settled uncomfortably back into my seat feeling angry and unsettled both by the the loud music and the cold shoulder the driver had chosen to give me.

After half an hour of high- speed driving (which I also did not like and I was thinking I should warn him about that, too), the bus stopped to drop off some passengers. This being a small bus, the driver was also the conductor. As he came around to take his fare I spoke to him.

“I think you did not hear me”, I said stiffly. “I told you to turn down your radio.”

Without saying a word, the young man stopped taking the fare from the passengers, walked to the front of the bus and turned down the radio’s volume to an acceptable level (as per me).

He then came back and finished taking the fare. I couldn’t help noticing that he had a kind word for each one of the passengers. He even helped an old lady cross the road.

Soon he was done and we drove off. After an hour I arrived at my destination. The driver came round to take my fare. I gave him the money and, as he searched for some loose change in his pockets, I looked into his face. I was looking for an excuse to not like him even more.

But I found nothing there. Instead, I noticed how, despite his cocky haircut, he seemed to be a normal, likable young man.

Right there the Lord spoke to me. He said to me, “You are the problem, not him. If you are looking for something not to like, it is in you, not in him.”

I hadn’t planned on talking to the young man. By the time he gave me the change, though, I realized how much I already liked him. I told him, “Thank you.”

He looked up at me and said, “Thank you, too, sir.”

Then, instead of jumping back into his bus, he just stood there. Suddenly he put his hand back into his trouser pockets and showed me an old one shilling coin.

“You’ve got to be on the lookout for these”, he said, giving me one of the brightest grins I had ever seen. “It appears the same as the new 500 shilling coin. They are using these one-shilling coins to trick people nowadays. Someone tricked me with this one the other day. It is getting to be a common practice.”

“See you around”, he said.

“See you”, I answered absent-mindedly.

As I crossed the road, my eyes were burning with tears. I said to myself, “That boy ought to be preaching the gospel, not me.” He had so much peace. And I was still learning to have God’s peace in me.

The Lord uses any situation to show us how little of His Kingdom we have in us. When we have His Kingdom in short supply in us, that shortage will manifest in us, whether we are at home or far from home.

We cannot run away from the cross. The cross working in us ushers in the Kingdom of God into our hearts. In Colossians 1:24-29, the Apostle Paul writes,

“24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

Notice the word “sufferings” there. The more Paul denied himself and walked the narrow path of the cross, the more the incredible grace of God manifested in his life.

[The Lord will use any situation to humble us]

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The Cross, The Final Solution – Part 2

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Phil. 3:7-11

In the Swahili Bible, the word used for “righteousness” is the same word used for “justice”. Therefore, we could re-write verse 9 thus:

“And be found in him, not having mine own justice, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

The Apostle Paul wanted, not his own justice, but Christ’s.

Now, that word, “own”, is crucial here. We all know that nothing good comes from the word “own” as far as it refers to man. So what is our “own justice”?

Our own justice is our rights. It is our worldly, human rights. According to the Bible, we should give them up. All of them. Including the right to life.

With the Bible, there are only two things: law and grace. If we are to be men and women of grace, we are to surrender our rights. If seek after justice for ourselves, we have become men and women of law, and Christ is become of no value to us. Christ is of value to whoever will lose their lives.

Notice verse 7:

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”

What were the things that were gain to Paul? Paul is talking about his worldly rights. He counted his rights loss for Christ. That means he gave them up, that he might gain true life, which can only be found in Christ.

Paul surrendered all. Not some, or half, but all of his worldly rights. He surrendered even his life (Acts 21:13).

But Paul was simply obeying what our Lord Jesus taught. Jesus taught:

“38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Mat. 5:38-41)

And,

“10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Mat. 5:10-12

Moreover, in Romans 8:35-36, the Apostle Paul himself writes:

“35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

And, finally, in 1 Peter 4:1 we read:

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin”.

All these scriptures go against what the world teaches; but, again, the Bible is not the world. The Bible is the Word of God. The world teaches an eye for an eye; the Bible teaches to surrender your life. If we would have true life in us, we must account ourselves as given to suffer and to die with Christ – literally.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is no soap opera. On the contrary, it is all about being man enough to face the cross of Jesus Christ.

Emboldened by the realization that nothing else could save this woman, my pastor friend asked the lady, “Would you be willing to take your own life because you cannot bear to lose? Ultimately, the real problem here is not your husband, but you, if you cannot bear to lose. In Jesus Christ there is abundance of everything you are lacking: peace, joy, and love. You need to love your husband just as he is, with all his weaknesses. But these things can come into our own lives only when we allow Jesus into our hearts, and we do that by losing.”

And with many other words he preached Christ to the lady.

The lady bowed her head and let the words sink into her heart. When she raised her head, she told the pastor, “I will come to church on Sunday.”

And, true to her word, the lady went to church on Sunday, and worshiped. She was filled with joy and a new hope in her life. The pastor had given her the secret to beating one of the most difficult situations she could ever face in life. It was to surrender her rights.

The cross is the final solution to absolutely any problem on earth.

[Women are the most oppressed members of society. In Christ Jesus, though, this state of affairs translates into a blessing, for these same women have the best head start in the Spirit if only they can take up their cross and follow Christ]

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A Friend In Jesus

Not too long ago, the Lord impressed upon my heart the importance of prayer. And, although I know it was personal, yet this impression has stuck with me so unrelentingly that I felt I should share it here for the sake of someone who might be in such need as I was. And the way God works is indeed marvellous and strange, for it is not I thought I had a need. But but the Lord impressed upon me that I ought to pray, and it was then that it dawned on me that I truly had a need – the need to pray!

Actually, the impression came in the form of a familiar song. On this particular occasion, the words of a song that I had sang for so long that it had become mundane to me became the sweetest words of any song that I had ever heard or sang! The song took me to a new level of faith, literally. Ultimately, I discovered that I had the truest Friend in Jesus.

Since then, I have shared this song with my family and with some members of my church, and although they are accustomed to singing it every so often, this time round I could see the power it had over their lives. So I thought, There might be someone out there, besides us here, who needs some encouragement in this regard. Hence my decision to share it on this blog. I share it with a prayer.

May the Lord bless everyone who has a need tonight and may He hearken to your cry. And may you discover, like I did, the meaning of the word “friend” in Jesus Christ.

“Righteousness Exalteth A Nation

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Prov. 14:34
Not too long ago, my two children were travelling alone to a neighboring country for a holiday. Now, that was something like a one-time experience for them, so they were very excited. When they arrived at our side of the border ready to cross over, they were calmly and immediately processed through. When they reached the other country’s border station, just a few feet away, they encountered a totally different experience. The immigration officer there demanded a mandatory inoculation certificate, which was supposed to have been given to them on our country’s side of the border.
My daughter told the officer that she and her brother had forgotten all about it and she asked him to let them go back and take the inoculation.
To which the officer replied that they could not go back because they had now crossed the border. They were now on a one-way ticket, he told them, and there was no turning back. In other words, they were now this immigration officer’s prisoners.
The only way he could help them, he told them, was for them to give him a certain amount of money.
My children love watching detective stories and by now they knew exactly where this was headed. They realised they were trapped. My daughter immediately took out the money and gave it to the officer, and they were let through.
When my daughter later told me this story, I was angry at first. But then the Lord opened my eyes to see the bigger picture and what I ended up with was deep sadness.
I know a thing or two about the country my children were visiting. One of the things that I know is that this country is deeply corrupt. Now, we all know that corruption is everywhere but, by every account, this country has taken corruption to “the next level”. That’s a fact.
The other thing that is open news is that this country is rife with deep internal problems, including racial divisions. Every few years internal wars flare up and people get killed, displaced, etc. Moreover, there are all kinds of problems both in government and within civil society itself. Crime – murders, robberies, etc. – is a byword in this country.
I had never connected the two – until I heard my children’s saga. That was when the Lord opened my eyes to see why a nation that thrives on corruption is going to have all the problems this country has.
In the Old Testament, the Book of Isaiah talks about righteousness probably more than any other book. One of the things we read there is:
“In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” (Is. 54:14)
That’s basically saying the same thing as our key scripture in Proverbs 14:34. You can pray all you want, you can be the most “Christian” nation on the entire planet; but if you are not walking in righteousness, you will not be established. Just in case you are wondering what the Bible means by “established”, it simply means that the things the Bible talks of here will not be within your borders:
“thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.”
Sometimes we wonder why there are wars and turmoils in certain countries and not in others. Unless it is a clear case of persecution for their Christian faith, the reason, in most cases, is clear: there is no righteousness in these countries. People are corrupt, or they are immoral, or they are anti-God in a variety of ways. That is what we are witnessing in the West also: a rejection of God and an increasingly brazen embracing of immorality. The outcome of these things for a nation is calamity, a broken and hurting society and terror on every side.
Jeremiah 4:2 also says:
“The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.”
Notice that both in Proverbs and in Jeremiah, the Bible speaks about a nation. It is not enough for a nation to call itself a Christian nation. We must work righteousness, and this, for a nation, applies firstly to its government. The first thing, therefore, that believers in every nation should do is to pray for that nation; not that there be no drought or famine or any other calamity; rather, chiefly, that the leaders and the people of that nation might exercise righteousness. That is exactly what the Bible says in 1 Timothy chapter 2 verses 1-4:
“1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
Notice, “… first of all”.
Prayers and supplications are to be made for all men, but especially for kings and for all that are in authority (like that immigration officer) – for what purpose?
“… that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
Godliness and honesty within government are the pillars of an established nation.
Let us pray.
“Lord, You reign in righteousness. You love righteousness and you show yourself the protector and defender of all who are righteous. We pray for our nation, Lord, that its people may love righteousness, right from our leaders down to the man in the lowest dungeon so that we in this nation may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

[Below: A local community meeting in Singida]

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The Basis For Our Peace

I remember once, many years ago, when we had just began to hear the gospel of the cross, that a man of God came to our church and preached a message in which I remember only the words, “Put down your weapons!”

He repeated this phrase over and over in the course of his sermon.

Over the years, I have come to discover just how much to the point this man was. We have so much weaponry in our hearts it makes a mockery of all the munitions in the entire world. And the enormity of our weaponry is not just in its sheer size and abundance but, more ominously, in its power of annihilation. We have weaponry in us that can devastate a soul, something which all the worldly artillery does not have the capacity to do.

Just imagine what a misplaced word can do to a brother or a sister. Or, more appropriately, a deliberately well-aimed barb, sent in not to edify, but to destroy… to destroy someone’s soul.

Imagine what can be born out of a heart that is not well: Jesus listed the things that can come out of such a heart:

“21 evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mk. 7:21-22).

Imagine the damage that a single God-less thought can do, even to yourself.

The things that come from our unregenerate hearts will nearly always manifest themselves in the natural, and sometimes they will flare out into verbal or even physical violence.

There is so much violence in the human heart, so much war and uproar!

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. “ (Gen. 6:11)

The way of peace they know not…” (!s. 59:8).

One of the names of our Saviour, Jesus Christ is, “The Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6) All the violence in our hearts is there on account of the King of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ, being denied His royal place in our hearts.

Somehow, we have got to make sure that our faith in Christ is just not in our words or in our minds. Our faith must have a tangible relationship to the lives we live. This can only come about when the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, is firmly enthroned in our hearts. And the Bible makes it clear that there is only one Christ: the crucified Christ, who also rose again (1 Cor. 1:23; 2:2).

That is why we must have a revelation of the cross in our hearts. This revelation is the only thing that has the power to make us put down our carnal weapons. And when we put down our carnal weapons, there will be true peace in our hearts, which is the basis for true victory in the Spirit.

[Below: Once in a while you stumble upon a great song, beautifully sang]

“… But God hath called us to peace”

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

I often wonder about the man who wrote these words, Horatio Spafford. It is not so much the tragedy that moved him to pen these words that awes me; but the fact that a man – any man – could write such words, regardless of the circumstances he had faced in life. The misfortune that overtook Mr. Spafford was horrific in its own right; but the fact is, many of us can hardly show a fraction of the kind of inner peace that he demonstrated when we find ourselves undergoing the slightest discomfort. There are some of us, saints, for whom even an itch is enough to wipe away all the peace in their lives. We will utter every kind of selfish baloney simply because there probably is not enough hot water to wash away the sweat that is causing our itch!

The Bible talks a lot about peace. Let us consider a few scriptures in this regard.

In practically every epistle of his, except the letter to the Hebrews, the first sentence that the Apostle Paul invariably begins his letters with is:

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In the Book of Hebrews, he ends by saying:

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus…”

Paul talks of “the God of peace”; how important this peace must be to us, then!

To the beloved sons – Timothy and Titus – that he had begotten in the Spirit, Paul added the word “mercy”. In his first epistle to Timothy, he writes:

“Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Tim. 1:2)

And in 2 Timothy he writes:

“To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (2 Tim. 1:2)

To Titus he writes:

“To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit. 1:4).

Let us digress a little bit and ask, why “mercy” specifically to these two?

The word “mercy” talks of compassion. This word, therefore, reflects how dear Paul held these two disciples of his. They were his own “blood and flesh”, so to speak, in the Spirit.

And compassionate he had to be towards them, not just on account of having begotten them in the Spirit, but, more importantly, because he was aware that, as men who led others, they would of necessity have to walk the same road that he had walked for the gospel’s sake. He knew all too well how tough that road was, and His heart yearned for them; indeed, yearned for God’s mercy to be upon them as they would literally pass through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4).

Paul uses the word “mercy” here in much the same way that Jesus used the word “lambs” to refer to his sheep, the church, when He addressed Peter in John 21:15. It is a sign of inexpressible love.

But… back to deliberating on the peace of God.

You will notice that the Apostle Paul ended up talking about grace and peace more than joy in his epistles. It therefore beats God the way we emphasize on joy rather than peace in our sermons. You invariably hear more in church about “the joy of the Lord” than “peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

It shows that we have fallen short in our understanding of God. Had the Apostle Paul understood God the way we do, he would have began his letters with “joy” rather than “peace”. Moreover, there are 51 references to “peace” in the Pauline epistles, compared to only 26 references to “joy”. That’s nearly double the number! Not that joy is less important. But this emphasis, coupled with Paul’s salutations of “grace and peace” to the churches, gives us an understanding of the foundational importance of both these Godly attributes in our lives. (Paul uses the word “grace” 99 times in his letters!)

Grace and peace are the basis of everything else that we can bear in the Spirit for the Kingdom of God. Grace is the tap root. Peace are the primary roots. Everything else in our lives depends on these two attributes in our lives.

If we do not have peace in our hearts, we cannot accomplish anything in the Spirit. Let us go on and notice further the strange way the Bible emphasizes the word “peace”:

“And the way of peace have they not known” (Rom. 3:17).

Is that not so much like many of us? Even though we have been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, yet the peace of God seems to elude us on so many fronts. Much of the time we seem to have peace only when things are going our way.

How about:

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:7)

Notice, here, that life and peace are placed on an equal pedestal in the eyes of God.

And how about:

“but God hath called us to peace.” (1 Cor. 7:15)

And, finally,

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Rom. 14:17)

In other words, of the many things that the Kingdom of God consists of, peace is right there, among the top three. How important the peace of God is, then, to us as children of God; and how much we should make sure this peace is there always in our hearts for us to be effective in the Kingdom of God.

[“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7]

Immense Grace For Our Perfection

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom. 12:1-2

Perfection is on my mind tonight, but I will probably present the subject in a different manner than you would expect. Still, I welcome you to join me as we make the long journey towards perfection, for we must.

Perfection has been on my mind for sometime now, and I came to understand that God wants me to go on towards perfection. To be perfect, the Lord showed me, is to be like Christ, and especially in the grace that He had. In connection with this, recently the Lord reminded me about our Lord Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot. God showed me in a clearer way Jesus’ attitude to Judas whom He knew was stealing from the ministry coffers (Jn. 12:6). Even though the Lord knew about Judas’ sin, yet:

  1. Jesus allowed Judas to continue keeping watch over the church funds!
  2. At no one time do we read of the Lord rebuking or even mentioning to Judas that He knew what the man was doing.

This talks of grace, immense grace. The Lord Jesus Christ had so much grace! He had the grace to be patient with Judas even under such extreme circumstances.

I haven’t yet heard of a church where the accountant or cashier stole money from the church account and it didn’t bother anybody. What I know of most churches is that if such an occurrence were brought to light there would be a small tremor in that church. Human nature (of which most of us have tons of) is such that we react with extreme hostility to the likelihood of such a situation. If a brother or sister is caught stealing, he will be made to feel the heat.

But, on the other hand, God has tons and tons of grace. I love the unflappability that Jesus had with regard to Judas. We all know that there were men amongst the disciples of Jesus – the likes of James, John and Peter – who did not have the patience that Jesus had. Had they caught onto what Judas was doing, the fellow would have been chased right into the Sea of Galilee!

The grace of our Lord Jesus is revealed even further in His ability to live with someone (this same Judas) whom He knew would one day betray Him. If I knew that somebody was intent on doing me harm, all my defences would come up. But not our Lord Jesus! Jesus calmly lived with Judas for three years while He waited for the day when Judas would betray Him.

What grace!

And how about Paul and the man whom he found sleeping with his father’s wife? In most cases when someone commits sin in the church, and especially sin of a sexual nature, he is dealt with harshly (fair enough); but it is what happens afterwards that saddens God’s heart. Much of the time, such a brother or sister is turned into a pariah and no one wants to associate with them again – ever. He or she is left to slowly die alone.

That is incredibly tragic, but it is not the heart of God towards His people. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we see the immense grace that he had. Apparently, all along he had been thinking about the same brother whom he had ordered the church to punish! In this second letter, all of Paul’s attention is once again on this brother; but now it is to plead with the Corinthian church to reinstate him into their midst. The fact that it necessitated Paul to do this indicates that no one in that church ever considered that brother worthy of salvation again. But Paul was a man who had much grace and the revelation of God’s heart, and he could allow for a repentant man to come back into the fold and even to make him feel welcome.

Lastly, let us consider the freedom that God, out of His richness, has given to us, His children. Most believers are not aware of the immense freedom that God has given the church.

I have two children, and one of the benefits that I have received as a result of living with them is that I have learned to appreciate the heart of God for His children. Sometimes my children will do something that hurts or pains me. Still, I always find that my desire is for them to do the right thing in freedom rather than through law. When my kids were young, I did not have that expectation. If they crossed me I would simply cane or spank them. Now they are much older, and I no longer even have the desire to punish them. On the contrary, I expect them to be able to understand the responsibility they have.

That realization really hit me when it first came upon me. I came to realize that that is exactly God’s heart for us. God desires us to obey and serve Him in freedom. Unlike we human parents, God will never put law on us. He is extremely rich in grace. The fullness of God’s grace is so we may arrive at the perfection, or full realization of God’s will in our lives.

In ending, I would like us to make the connection between the cross and grace. The Lord Jesus Christ had all that much grace because He carried His cross. The Bible says that He “… became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8).

The Apostle Paul also had immense grace because he followed in the footsteps of Jesus. He took up his cross daily and followed Christ. He says,

“30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:30-31).

Grace is not a feel-good sensation. Grace is a work of the cross in our hearts. Grace is a surrender and denial of self.

We need grace.

Grace for peace.

Grace for joy.

Grace for righteousness.

We can only arrive at the fullness, or perfection of these things through the cross.

[Below: My desire is to have my children obey me in freedom, not through law. This also is God’s desire for us.]

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