Grace. Wow. Amazing.

Grace. What come to mind when you hear that word?

I have an Aunt Grace.

When I was younger, I was not graceful in my athletics.

Ice skaters are full of grace.

God’s grace is greater than our sin.

Grace…

For more context, click here for last week’s post.

We see how Jesus makes an exchange for us.

He takes the sin and gives back to us, life.

In a word, that is grace.

Today, we will explore this biblical idea of grace a little more in depth.


I have chosen Ephesians 2 as a starting point. Here are verses 1-10:

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh a and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” NIV

Grace is used three times here. I think we can, from this passage, identify some aspects of grace.

  1. Grace can save. We cannot earn salvation. God has given His grace so that we could be saved.
  2. Grace can survive. The text says the phrase, “incomparable riches of his grace…” Despite what this world brings, his grace will outlast it.
  3. Grace can supply. Verse 9 says that we are saved by grace. The next verse tells us we are God’s handiwork. I think that God’s grace helps us to do the good works for which we were created.
  4. Grace can suffice. Although not specifically stated here, it is implied that God’s grace is enough for our life.

And to that end, I want to leave you with one more verse. It also comes from the apostle Paul but it is not in Ephesians. II Corinthians 12:9 says it all,  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

These are words of Jesus directly to Paul. Click here to read the whole chapter.

God's Grace is More than Just Forgiveness

God’s grace is his favor and favorable inclination towards us. God is extending Himself, reaching forward because He is disposed to bless us.

We do not deserve God’s grace. But we can have this gift anyway.

Can you see that His grace is truly amazing?

Amazing Grace: The Story Behind the Song - YouTube

Grace has a cousin named Mercy. Next week will feature mercy, another one of God’s amazing characteristics.

Cloaks made for Jesus, not Jedi Knights.

Happy Star Wars Day! I am a nerd. Wore my Star Wars socks today. Fun times!

And, since I can’t think of a good segue into my post, here we go!


A long time ago, in Galilee, far far away…

There lived a man. His name was Jesus. And he came to save the world. He was the only person that could even bring the possibility of passing the sin test.

You and I could not even have any chance at passing this test. It was completely out of our reach. And there was nothing we could do about it.

Recalling back to last week, I spoke on the subject of tests, specifically the COVID test and the sin test.

Here is the last line of that post:

“Over the next two or three weeks, I will explore this idea of ‘testing negative for sin”.

Ideas like righteousness, salvation, grace, and hope.”

Click here to read the whole post.


Remember taking tests in school? Did you have a favorite type?

Multiple choice or fill-in-the blank?

True/False or Essay?

Short answer or Matching?

How about the bubble tests?

The sin test is different than all of those. It is a pass or fail test. You don’t fill in blanks or circles or write an essay. There is no matching word banks or T/F questions.

You either have it in you to pass…or you don’t.

What is it, referring to that last sentence? In a word, righteousness.

There are multiple verses in both the New and Old Testament scriptures that explain the righteousness of God and how we obtain it.

I am only going to share 2 today.

In the Old Testament, Isaiah 53:6 and from the New Testament, II Corinthians 5:21

Is 53:6, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.” NIV

II Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

If we look at these verses, there is a similarity. Isaiah says that our iniquity was “laid on him”. Its as if our sin, guilt, and punishment of sin were a great cloak. It was heavy and cumbersome so we shrugged it off and turned away from God. So, God being loving and holy, picked up the discarded cloak and laid it on His son, Jesus, while he was on that cross.

Now compare that to the N.T passage.

Jesus became sin so we could become righteous. We emerged or transitioned out of a sinful state into something that now, God would approve of. Again, we sloughed off that old, sinful cloak for a new, righteous one. Jesus took the old one to the cross with him.

In both examples, we see an exchange.

We start with the sin and end with righteousness.

Jesus is the opposite. He starts pure and free from sin but ends up taking our sin.

God is holy and just. He cannot abide sin. He hates it. He can’t even look at it.

But He also loves us!

So making Jesus take our sin was the only way he could be holy and just and loving at the same time!

So, in light of the sin test, do you see how we would fail 100% of the time?

But Jesus makes it all possible for us to pass!

For our part, we need to accept his gift and live for him.

Our salvation motivates us to love others and do good works.

We love because He first loved us.

See you next week for a post about grace.

And yes, it is amazing!

Mary had a little lamb…

Can you hear the tune in your head?

Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb…

Cute little guy, isn’t he?

The next character in the Chronicles of Calvary is not about a person. It is a lamb. A one year old lamb without spot or blemish.

We focused on three people for the first three Chronicles. Click on each to read their respective posts.

Simon

Centurion

Two Criminals


There are many aspects to the cross. This post is all about one particular aspect. Sacrifice.

If you have ever tried to read the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament, I am guessing that it was not easy. More so, it could have boring or perhaps really difficult to understand.

The theme of Leviticus is about the sacrificial system that God had set up starting with Moses.

Don’t worry. There will be no Levitical readings here.

Israel, after they escaped Egypt under God’s provisional hand, set about on a journey to the Promised Land.

During that journey, God had given Moses plans and instructions for a tabernacle. This would be a mobile house of worship.

When it was set up, the Levites would be the tribe that would be responsible for the overseeing of all the tabernacle duties; mainly the sacrificing.

Leviticus (named after the tribe of Levi) is the recording of how to do all the tabernacle rituals. Here is one artist’s rendition of the tabernacle.

A Tabernacle for God: Built By The Willing Heart • Spirit Life

But a bigger question that might be looming is one of ‘why’.

Why did God require sacrifice?

Simply stated: Sin was separating God from man. But because God is holy, he could not reside where sin existed. A sacrifice was used to remove the sin from a person or even the whole nation.

It was better to kill one lamb or goat rather than a person. It would not take too long to wipe out Israel if animals were not used as a sacrifice.

For the price of sin to be paid, there must be sacrifice.

Forward into the New Testament. Specifically, John’s gospel.

Here is verse 29 from chapter 1 of John:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” NIV


John knew who Jesus is and what his purpose was.

Jesus was to be the sacrifice for our sin.

Hebrews 9:12 states, “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” NIV

Jesus was the lamb that was slaughtered for our sin and he did it at Calvary.

So I guess that little song was right on.

Mary had a little lamb…

Do you believe in magic?

When my kids were young (think 4 or 5 years old), I could do magic tricks easily. Pulling quarters out of ears or making a penny disappear were standard. Throw in a few cards tricks and they would be amazed.

magic-tricks

As an adult, I enjoy a good magic show. It amazes me how these magicians can make big things disappear! How does a helicopter vanish into thin air!?!?

But all of that is just slight-of-hand or misdirection. The helicopter does not really vanish.

The Word – Magic

The Worth – God is magic. No, not Harry Potter magic or Gandalf the Grey type stuff. He really can make stuff disappear!

magician

If you have not read the post “What do you want?”, please click here. It will give you a context that will make more sense when reading this post.

In that post, I had written a line near the end;

He took action so we can take action.

Let me unpack that a little more.

2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

John 1 tells us to “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

This is God doing magic! He took away the sin of the world. He made it disappear! The action that God took was to make it possible for us to be sinless. We now can become the righteousness of God!

He loved us so much and was longing to be connected with us again. He wanted us so much that he took His son and used Him to take away our sin.

When I was 16, I got my first speeding ticket. This was 1989 so it probably was not too much of a fine. It was more embarrassing because I had three friends in the car with me!

I broke the law and deserved to pay the fine. But then my dad performed a magic trick.

He told that he would pay for the first one. He paid my ticket. That was both merciful and gracious all in one simple act.

God did a magic trick 2000 years ago. Jesus became our sin. See Isaiah 53:6

cross bridge

The Work – This part takes faith.

Understand that Jesus is the way back to God.

Jesus also took our sin upon Him.

Our part is to accept that payment. Just like my dad paying my speeding fine, we can accept this gift.

We can now live our life because of what has already been done.

Stop trying to earn salvation and enjoy the magic that God has performed!

Live to reflect your righteousness!

After all, God is not going to bring back your sin.

You are free. Go out and live it!

 

White Blood Cells

***Warning: Graphic image in this post***

4,500-10,000. That is the normal range for a white blood cell count per microliter.

white-blood-cell

But isn’t blood red? Exactly what you were thinking, right? No worries, I am not getting into deep scientific stuff here. I’d be in over my head!

I just want to explore the reason white blood cells exist and how that can be encouraging to someone who wants to follow Jesus.

The main purpose for white blood cells is to fight infection. Bacteria, germs, and viruses that invade the body are attacked by the white blood cells.

If all goes well, the infection is eradicated. If not, sickness will follow.

wbc-attacks-virus

The blood that flows in our bodies has fighting power. Healing power.

It is amazing to know that God created our bodies with this inherent ability!

With that in mind, read Isaiah 53:4-5,

“4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

This passage has the title of Suffering Servant. I feel that it is describing Jesus even though is was written hundreds of years before he was alive!

Please read that last sentence again. By his wounds we are healed. His wounds came from the torture and crucifixion that led to his death. Scourging. Whipping. Nailing. Cutting. Stabbing. The blood of Jesus flowed that day.

jesus-on-the-cross

And now we can have healing. Primarily healing from sin. But secondly, from disease.

Having my sins removed (think white blood cells eradicating a virus) is so wonderful. That is the ultimate reward. Thank you Jesus!

But I think physical healing can be drawn from these verses as well.

Maybe an instant miracle.

Maybe a successful surgery.

Maybe a lifestyle change.

Maybe death which takes a believer to heaven thereby receiving a full healing!

I am not sure if you need healing (spiritually from sin or physical from sickness) but I do know that by his wounds we are healed.

We ARE healed. Believe it today friend!

As always, feel free to message me if you have more questions about the healing available to you today.