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Friday, March 28, 2014

The Grace of God # 5

Grace for Character and Conduct (continued)

The Lord Jesus Christ came, so that now, by His Spirit and through His word in the gospel, the grace of God is manifested to us. It is not what we are doing, but God coming to our hearts and offering Himself in grace. You say: "I wish the Lord would do that to me!" Have you ever seriously faced this fact: that the Lord IS doing that to you? I think the matter becomes personal very often when we make it personal. "My grace is sufficient for thee!" Is that the Lord's word to you? Of course, if you heard it coming out of heaven you think you might believe that it was the Lord speaking to you. You would not know if this is the Lord speaking to you, because it does not come in some supernatural way. We do not know how it came to Paul, and we do not need to know. Many of us have known the Lord speaking His word to us just by reading it. It has come to us, not as the word of man, but as the Word of God, and we have known that it is the Lord speaking to us. Then we have doubted. Was it the Lord's Word? We have to say in faith: "It is the Lord's Word, and all the promises of God are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus. The Lord is saying to me: "My grace is sufficient for thee." Well, then, I believe it and I stand on it!" That is so often how it happens - it becomes a matter of faith.

Grace for Thee

"My grace is sufficient for thee." Now that is just exactly the point where the faith wavers a bit, if it does not fail. We have no doubt in believing that the Lord's grace was sufficient for the Apostle Paul, for it is very easy to believe things about him. We may even have no doubt that the Lord's grace is sufficient for other people. Have you never, in another human life, seen things that were unbearable and would altogether have handicapped and made a walk with God impossible, and then have you not seen that person overcoming and walking with God? Of course, the devil will say to you: "You are different!" But you are NOT. Why have they overcome? What have you been looking at when you have been looking at a true Christian's life? The value of being brought up in Sunday school and knowing Christian doctrines? No, thousands of people have had that and there is not a sign of the grace of God in them, so it is no that. Is it that you have been seeing people who are extraordinary people and have such a strength of ability that they can walk in the way of holiness and obedience to God? No!

But let us see other people's failures. Why? To encourage us to know that these are fallible people, capable of the most terrible collapse spiritually, and sometimes even morally. It is like that in the Word of God. What is God's purpose in doing that, and why does He allow some of us to be seen in our failures? Perhaps He is just pointing out a truth to some soul. Here is someone whom you thought was wonderful, but they are not so wonderful after all - and yet there is something wonderful about them! They are failing men and women, but the grace of God in them causes them not to fail. However, if they move from the grace of God for one moment, they are miserable failures - and that is true of all of us!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 6)

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