Saturday, December 28, 2013

Grace: Reigning as Kings 2

"Grace to you and shalom [peace] from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua [Jesus] the Messiah.  Praised be ADONAI [God], Father of our Lord Yeshua [Jesus] the Messiah, who in the Messiah has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven. [4] In the Messiah he chose us in love before the creation of the universe to be holy and without defect in his presence. He determined in advance that through Yeshua [Jesus] the Messiah we would be his sons—in keeping with his pleasure and purpose - so that we would bring him praise commensurate with the glory of the grace he gave us through the Beloved One." - Ephesians 1:2-6 (Complete Jewish Bible)
Every spiritual blessing is ours, He has held nothing back. He is the good Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children. These promises are so amazing, it's hard to comprehend them.  In His good pleasure and purpose He called us to be sons and the purpose of sonship is to bring Him praise in equal measure of the glory of the grace He has given us through Jesus Christ.  In Part 1 we looked at John 1 where the glory of God was manifest in Christ by grace and truth. This same glory is ours by the same grace and truth.

These spiritual blessings will also manifest as material blessings, but the material blessings are not what we are after. When we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness all the material blessings will be added, but it is only the unbelievers who pursue material blessings.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"  - Romans 8:28-32 (NKJV)
Paul adds to the picture of the grace-filled man in Romans 8 where he says that all things work together for our good. Nothing can happen to us unless the Father allows it and even then it's purpose is for our good.  It can be difficult to see the full outworking of these promises, but if we look at Jesus' life, nothing happened to Him that wasn't what He intended (and His intentions are one with the Father) which is why He made sure to tell us that He willingly laid down His life.  It was His choice.  Pontius Pilate thought Jesus' life was in his hands, but Jesus told him that he would have no power if it wasn't given to him from above.  Jesus could have called a legion of angels to deliver Him. Before His time had come He just slipped through the crowds that wanted to stone Him.  No one could force a situation upon Him that wasn't of God.

Jesus being the firstborn of all of us set the example for the grace-filled man. Nothing can happen to us that is outside of God's will.  All that we desire will be accomplished in accordance of the promise of singleness of heart and action which is by grace for the humble.

This is not to say that there won't be hardships, but I am of the opinion that most hardships are the result of our own pride in that we seldom submit to God.  He in His mercy allows circumstance to bring us closer to Him so that we can receive His grace and avoid most of the hardships. There are hardships and trials that must come even if we are covered with His grace, but they will scarcely be perceived as such. John and Peter left their first beating rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer for His name. There is also a suffering for His name that He allows which is for our own heavenly glory.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)  How could we not reign as kings when the Father of the King of kings has promised to freely give us all things.

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Submit to God and watch His grace surpass all that you can dream or imagine. Through the grace He gives, give Him praise.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Grace: Reigning as Kings

In The Grace-Filled Man we covered singleness of heart and action, how whatever the grace-filled man or woman sets in his heart to do, he will accomplish because he submits his life to God. When the grace-filled man draws near to God he finds God drawing near to him. When the grace-filled man resists the devil, he finds the devil fleeing from him in seven directions. The grace-filled man acknowledges God in all his ways and God directs his paths (Proverbs 3:6).

Paul writes concerning the grace-filled man:
"For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Well then, as one man’s trespass [one man’s false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man’s act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men. For just as by one man’s disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man’s obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him)." - Romans 5:17-19 (AMP)
For those who receive the free gift of righteousness and an abundance of grace will reign as kings in this life even more certainly than death reigned through Adam's offense. Selah. It is impossible for those who have singleness of heart and action, God's favor, God's grace to not accomplish all that they desire, indeed God will give them the desires of their hearts, how could they not reign as kings in this life?

A king gives commands to fulfill the desires of his heart and accomplishes all he sets out to do. It is easy for the king because he utters the words and others fulfill it. In the same way, God's gift of grace grants us the desires of our hearts (but not for the purposes of fulfilling our lusts).
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." - John 10:10 (NKJV)

The Greatest Example of Grace

Jesus was the perfect image of grace and truth, the perfect example of the grace-filled man. The prophet Zechariah prophesied of Him:
‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” - Zechariah 4:7 (NKJV)
Jesus ministry even from early childhood was marked by grace. Everything He did was saturated and overflowing with the grace of God, just as was prophesied.
"And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." - Luke 2:40 (NKJV)
"So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph's son?" - Luke 4:22 (NKJV)
John the Apostle wrote these profound words describing Jesus:
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. [15] John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” [16] And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. [17] For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. [18] No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." - John 1:14 (NKJV)
The glory which could only originate from the Father was described as being full of grace and truth. Jesus is the perfect and complete manifestation of the Father's glory which is full of grace and truth. "And of His fullness we have all received." This grace and truth that is of the Father, the fullness of Christ is for us.

We were predestined for good works which the Father planned before the foundation of the world.  We cannot accomplish His plans without grace, we will continue to be frustrated.  God only gives His grace to the humble, but the prideful He opposes and much of what they do fails or at best must be accomplished by shear will and brute force. James' advice is to submit ourselves to God.  For the gracious man, Jesus commands are not burdensome and when he resists the devil, the devil flees, and when he draws near to God, he finds God drawing near to him.