Its All Grace

The incarnation is not just a warm-up to the cross and resurrection; it’s an essential part of the drama.  It’s part of God’s tattoo.  God, out of His own free choice (grace), took the initiative (grace) to step down into our humanity (grace) – and not just any part of humanity, but one clothed with humility and shame (grace) – in order to bridge the gap between God and man (grace) and therefore reclaim that genuine relationship He desires with us (grace).

– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 141

What the Cross Does and Does Not Do to the Sinner

The Cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him.  It gears him in to a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect.  To the self-assertive it says, “Come and assert yourself for Christ.”  To the egotist, it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.”  To the thrill-seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.”  The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

A.W. Tozer

as quoted by Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 101

The Prosperity Gospel Only Pays Lip Service to the God of the Bible

You simply cannot look at the cross and see the suffering of Jesus on behalf of rebellious sinners like you and me without also accepting that God sometimes ordains pain.  This is not to say that suffering is never the result of something you or I have done, that it can’t be related to some form of deserving.  Rather, it just means that there is no longer a one-to-one correlation.  In fact, there may not be any correlation at all!

So while the prosperity gospel pays lip service to the God of the Bible, it worships a God who waits for the suffering person to snap out of it and claim victory.  In other words, it posits a God who is powerless to save sinners.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 89-90

Fill Me With Heavenly Light

O Holy Jesus, Son of the most high God, Thou that wert scourged at a pillar, stretched and nailed on a cross for the sins of the world, unite me to Thy cross, and fill my soul with Thy holy, humble and suffering spirit, O Fountain of Mercy, Thou that didst save the thief upon the cross, save me from the guilt of a sinful life; Thou that didst cast seven devils out of Mary Magdalene, cast out of my heart all evil thoughts and wicked tempers.  O Giver of Life, Thou that didst raise Lazarus from the dead, raise up my soul from the death and darkness of sin.  Thou that didst give Thy Apostles power over unclean spirits, give me power over my own heart.  Thou that didst appear unto Thy disciples when the doors were shut, do Thou appear to me in the secret apartment of my heart.  Thou that didst cleanse the lepers, heal the sick, and give sight to the blind, cleanse my heart, heal the disorders of my soul, and fill me with heavenly light.

– William Law

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 169-170

We Cannot Pursue Holiness Without Going Back Again and Again

The truth is, of course, we all do get “hurt” to some degree daily because we all sin every day.  That is why we need to come back to the gospel of God’s grace in Christ.  The gospel of God’s forgiveness of our sins through Christ’s death frees us to face those sins honestly and bring them to the Cross and Jesus’ cleansing blood.  The freedom and joy that then comes from a cleansed conscience creates the desire and gives us the right motive to deal with those sins.  We cannot effectively pursue holiness without going back again and again to the gospel  The gospel is the only foundation upon which we can build the disciplines necessary to pursue holiness. Grace and discipline cannot be separated.

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 216

Are These Empthy Words for You

In Galatians 4, Paul explains the difference between a slave and a child.  His desire was to ensure that the Galatians were enjoying the rightful privileges Christ earned for them on the cross.  Many of us would say that we are children of God, but are these empty words for you?  Can you say with confidence – from the depth of your being – that you know God and are known by Him?

– Chan, Francis; Forgotten God: Reversing the Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit; David C. Cook Publishers; Colorado Springs, CO; copyright 2009; p. 106

Its Just as Much for Christians as it is Non-Christians

The story of Jonah shows us that this gospel of the cross – the good news that God relentlessly pursues sinners in order to rescue them – is just as much for Christians as it is for non-Christians.  Jonah’s life proves this, because Jonah, who knows God, obviously needs divine deliverance as much as anyone else in the story.  In fact, his need for rescue gets far more emphasis than anyone else’s.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 154