Sunday, February 19, 2006

A decade of grace and life

Today is Higher Rock Christian Church's tenth anniversary. The theme is A Decade of Grace and Life based on John 1:16 and 2 Corinthians 1:12. I’ve learned a lot of important lessons from Pastor Bob’s preaching—especially those concerning grace.

So let me share them to you.

We note that Jesus never used the word grace at all. We never read of Him speak such word in the New Testament. But He taught and lived it, and so should we.

What is grace anyway? Donald Barnhaus said:

Love that goes up is worship.
Love that goes out is affection.
Love that stoops down is grace.

In effect, grace is a free, sovereign favor to the ill-deserving. It's God's unmerited favor. Therefore, it is totally and absolutely free. If it were not, then it would cease to be grace. We also do not earn it because we cannot.

For the Christian, grace is the good will of God towards us. It is this good will that establishes the good work—not the other way around.

This is the heresy of humanism, the notion that man can, by toiling and laboring hard (and by good works), actually earn anything he wants--even the approval of God. The familiar phrase, God helps those who help themselves is never found in Scripture.

What we do read in the Bible is that God helps those who are helpless, those who don’t quite measure up to His standards, and those who know of their lack and depravity.