Faith, Observations

Transition States: Saving Grace is Sustaining Grace – Revisited


Grace is Sufficient

 

This blog was originally posted on October 31, 2013.  I mention that I was homeless in this blog.  That has changed.  I and my family are no longer homeless.  I am now employed.  The job I have is probably the very best job I have had in over 25 years.  (Truthfully, nothing compares to full time ministry, IF you are actually serving the Lord, and not your own desires).

Since writing this blog, and getting employed, I am met with new challenges as a baby believer.  It is easy to take one’s eyes off Jesus when the cares of work and living confront you.  As I re-read this blog, I was reminded how strong my faith was when I wrote it.  Life was much harder then.  The difference between then and now is, then I was keeping my eyes continually focused on Christ and His finished work.  Re-reading this blog has reminded me that I need to remember, “The main thing is to always keep the main thing, the main thing.”

I hope this blog reminds you, my fellow struggling traveler, that there are much more important issues than what you think you are facing.  Keeping your eyes on Jesus will sustain you.  

You have all my love and prayer, whoever you are.  DGP  Romans 8:28 


The other day, I decided to turn off the auto-delete feature in my email program.  Suddenly, my inbox was stuffed to exploding with e-mails suggesting that if I ingest a little blue pill, my wife would suddenly be a happy person, or that my auto insurance was inadequate for me, AND that my house needs new siding.  I found that one delightful, as it is very difficult to side a homeless man’s house.

Buried in the midst of that deluge of magnificent offers was a question sent from one of the roughly 20 million alert readers of my blog.  She asked this question:  “Is Saving Grace the same as Sustaining Grace?”.

That is a very good question.

The short answer is:  YES!

If you are busy, or need to run, go ahead, I just answered that question, but if you need me to fill that answer out a bit, read at your own risk, the best answer I could come up with.  CAVEAT LECTOR:  Have your own Bible available, and never take my word, or anyone else’s word for anything.  Read the Bible and see if what I am saying is true, or not.  If it is not, please let me know BEFORE you unsubscribe to this incredibly stimulating and popular blog.  And that would leave just me and my mom as subscribers.

The long answer is:

I have to make certain assumptions of the person who asked me this question.  Here is the list of assumptions I am making.

YOU BELIEVE:

There IS a God.

That God is the SAME God mentioned throughout the Bible (Christian).

God sent His Son into a sinful world.

His Son, Jesus, did for us Humans what we could not do for ourselves.  Jesus made the broken bridge of communion with God whole again so we can have fellowship with God, and live in eternity with God in Heaven.

Jesus accomplished this feat by being nailed to the cross.  When He did that, he nailed the Law on the cross with him.  The Law led to the awareness of sin.  Jesus, who committed no sin, became all sin.  When Jesus became all sin, he was cut off from the Father: “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is (Aramaic), “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

When Jesus died, He descended into Hell and received the full wrath of God.  Jesus paid the full price for every type of sin that ever existed, does exist, and will exist.  He purchased your freedom when He gave up His life.  But God did not intend for Jesus to stay there.  While Jesus was in Hell, He remembered the promises of God, and spoke them, that God will not leave Him in Hell, nor forsake Him, and that He will commune with God again, and will sit on the throne of the Heavens.  Jesus confessed all this while he was in sin and receiving the full wrath of God.  And God sent the Spirit, His own Holy Spirit and brought Jesus back to life.

Jesus rose from the dead to prove that He has the authority to be called the Son of God, and that He has full authority over life and death.

Jesus became every sin imaginable and conquered it in Hell.  He rose again and gave gifts to all who will accept them.  Here is a list of the things Jesus gave us through His resurrection:

  • Rom. 6:4-8 We were crucified with him, died with him, buried with him and united with him in his death.
  • Rom. 6:58 We will (Do live) live with him, united with him in his resurrection.
  • Rom. 8:17 We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
  • Rom. 8:17 If we share in his sufferings, we will also share in his glory.
  • Gal. 2:20 We have been crucified with Christ, and he lives in us.
  • Eph. 2:5-6 God made us alive with Christ, God raised us up with Christ, and seated us with him in the heavenly realms.
  • Col. 2:12 We have been buried with him in baptism.
  • Col. 2:12-13 God raised us and made us alive with Christ, through faith.
  • Col. 2:20 We died with Christ to the basic principles of this world.
  • Col. 3:1 We have been raised with Christ.
  • Col. 3:3 Our life is now hidden with Christ in God.
  • Col. 3:4 When Christ appears, we will appear with him in glory.
  • 1 Thess. 5:10 He died for us so that we may live together with him.
  • 2 Tim. 2:11 If we died with him, we will also live with him.
  • 2 Tim. 2:12 If we endure, we will also reign with him.

When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you were born again.  When you were baptized, you were crucified with Him.  When you came up out of the water, you were raised again with Christ.  You are now a resurrected being.  We were dead in our sin, but because Christ became all our sin and died for them on our behalf, and we accepted this free gift, we are now new creations (II Corinthians 5:17).

Look at the list above again.  Look them up in your Bibles.  These are not theoretical constructs.  These statements are the absolute truth.

The same Grace that gave you a new life IS the same grace that sustains that new life.

THEN WHY DOES MY LIFE BLOW CHUNKS?

This happens to almost every believer who is not exposed to the truth.  You were not exposed to this truth because most people don’t know enough to tell you this truth.  Religion and religious tradition do not share this truth for fear of losing control over you.

You were saved, and life seemed sparkly and good.  God answered every prayer you prayed.  His presence was felt everywhere you went, and the meanings of the words in scripture were finally making sense to you.  But then, life happened, and your joy dimmed to a cold ember, and you no longer felt God’s wonderful presence.

When this happened, you were probably told that that is all part of growing up.  That God coddled you while you were a baby Christian, but it is now time to grow up and handle things yourself.

You were never informed that the same Grace that saved you will sustain you forever to the day you arrive in Heaven and meet Jesus face to face.

It is all about how you look at things.

If you go back to worldly thinking to solve your problems, you will get the same results that you got before you were saved.  You now have the Mind of Christ.  You have His Holy Spirit in you.  You are God’s righteousness already.  You are complete in every way possible in the spirit.  The difficulty comes in when you forget this fact, and return to your old way of thinking and handling problems.  If it didn’t work the first thousand times you did it, why do you think it will suddenly change?

If you want to live the walk of Christ, you have to make Him your Lord of life, too.  When you commit to do that, you must teach your heart what the scriptures declare about you (See the list above).  The Spirit of God will help you write these truths on your heart.  As you read the scriptures, and pray, you will get revelation on how to change your heart to what Jesus has said is true of you.  To walk after Christ is to rest in His completed work.  You are a co-heir to the very throne of Heaven.  You are God’s beloved child. You are no longer guilty of any sin.  And the Spirit of God will change your mind about sin so that whatever sin you struggle with will become less important than your desire to walk after Christ.

If you are saved by the grace of God, you will also live in it, if you chose to.  It really is that simple.  It is all in what you chose to believe is true as regards what Jesus accomplished on the cross and his resurrection.

This is not a license to sin, either.  Grace is God’s ability to make you righteous in Christ.  Jesus’s righteousness in now YOUR righteousness.  You are righteous and holy before God.  Your desire for God will grow and your desire for sin will diminish.

It is also not about giving up anything, but learning how to enjoy the things God invented without perverting it as the world has done.

Change your heart, and your life will change.  It all depends on what you focus on.  Remember that it is written: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matt. 6:33

I became a Christian on October 27, 1986.  And for a while, life in Christ was amazing.  Then the world got in the way and I went back to my old way of thinking about it.  I did this because I was told that that is how it is when you become a Christian.

I was never taught that God’s saving grace IS God’s sustaining Grace.  Grace is from God, and is permanent once you have accepted Jesus as your lord and savior.

If all you wanted was the fire insurance and not the walk, fine.  But your life will be as miserable as it was before you were saved, and probably more so, as you are now a child of God refusing to learn from Him.

To be sustained in Grace (God’s ability), you have to learn to see the world and all things as God sees them.  You have to believe that what Christ accomplished at his death and resurrection is permanent, not just a one time deal.

I am new at this whole grace experience.  It took me 26 years to finally see that being a Christian didn’t work out for me simply because of what I believed was true about God.

God is not mad at you, he is not out to get you or punish you.  You are His beloved Child whom he loves.  Jesus already took on God’s wrath in Hell.  You no longer have to fear God.  He is now your real father.  And He loves you.

 When you slide back into your worldly view of things, you reject the gift Christ gave His life to give you.  (See the list above).  You are telling Christ that His grace is not good enough for you and that you need to take the wheel from here.

But if you really want to experience the sustaining grace, you need to make Jesus your Lord, too, and trust that what He has done for you is real, is now, and is permanent.  The Spirit of God will honor that faith and teach you how to manifest all the gifts of God in the material world.  THIS is, after all, why you were not raptured when you first believed.  We are to exist as Christ existed, and lead all men to salvation.

Like I said before, the difference between a victorious life in Christ and going back to your old life is all in what you believe to be true about the Grace of God.  It is always in you.  It is always with you.  Even when you sin, God’s love for you never departs from you, and your salvation is not taken away.  The ones who fall from grace are the ones who think works righteousness will please God and make him love you.  You are already loved by God and He finds absolutely no fault in you.  This is all because you have accepted what Jesus did for you.

I may be new to this whole Grace thing.  I was raised in a very legalistic tradition by the Southern Baptists.  I went to a Southern Baptist Seminary.  But like Paul, I count all that as so much “dung” (Insert your own preferred aphorism here).  Compared to the amazing Grace of God and the truth that it reveals to my heart, nothing else matters.  The changes this has made in my life has been so powerful that many people have commented on what a completely different human I am.  That is also true.  My old self died when Jesus died.  My new self rose, righteous before God, when Jesus arose from the dead.  I simply needed to understand what all that meant.

So, yes, the sustaining Grace of God is the exact same thing as the grace that saved you.  One happened in a single point of time, and the other is just the same grace walking through time sustaining you, if you will accept the truth of the Scriptures.

Change your mind and change your life.  God’s grace is really all you need to walk in the likeness of Christ.  If you received Him as your savior and want to experience His sustaining Grace, then change what you believe about being saved.

Let’s be about it.

I love you,

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith

Our Position in Christ – Introduction


Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

“For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.”  Matt. 12:40 HCSB – Jesus

The law states:  “The Wages of Sin is Death”

The Law:

We read that the wages of Sin is death: Romans 6:23  This is the universal law of Sin.  Death is eternal separation from God.  Humans are born dead spiritually.  (See John 3:16 – 18).

Jesus came here to fulfill the requirement of the Law.  He died on the cross.  He said of Himself: “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”  Matt. 5:17 – HCSB

The Old Testament Law was given to prove that no effort of Man (Humans) can satisfy the law.  We are born into a sin nature.  We inherited that nature from first man, Adam:  “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man,and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men,because all sinned. In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression.”  Romans 5:12 – 14 HCSB

What the Law did was amplify the fact that there is sin.  The Law was nailed to the cross when He was nailed to the cross because He is the fulfillment of that law.  The law created a debt that no human could pay.  We couldn’t pay it because the Law proscribed that the sacrificial offering must be pure and blameless.  Jesus was pure and blameless.  He was tempted in all ways, like we are, but did not sin.

Paul says this of Jesus being nailed to the cross:  “He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.”  Colossians 2:14 HCSB

The Sin:

What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? EPH 4:9

Jesus told the disciples that, like Jonah, who was in the belly of the fish for 3 days, He will be in the belly of the Earth for 3 days.  We are taught that Jesus, who was without sin, BECAME sin for our sake: “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:21 HCSB

This is not a trivial point.  This is, in fact, the WHOLE POINT, isn’t it?

We are sinful by nature.  Look at the world around you, and try to convince me that sin does not exist.  If the only sin you ever committed was to tell a little white lie, then, there is sin.  There are no degrees of rebellion against God.  ALL sin is rebellion.

We inherited this sin nature from Adam.

Here is what gives Jesus His street creds.  He was blameless before God.  He was not guilty of any sin.  He CHOSE to come here, in the form of a human, and assume the burden of our sin because we were eternally damned unless the sin debt was paid.  Jesus, who IS life itself, took on the burden of death, so we, who are dead at birth, may have life in Him.

Jesus became sin.  He didn’t just accept the responsibility for our sin, although that is what He did; Jesus BECAME sin itself.

Think about this.  Think a long time, if you need to.  This is not trivial.  This is the center point around which all our hope and claim of Salvation rests.

Jesus became every sin.  He became the ugly things we do and say.  He became all the hate.  He became every rapist, every murderer, every evil thing that has ever existed and will exist.  He became the very engine that drives evil to do what evil does.  Every vile thought, every adultery, every greed, avarice, every sickness we have ever had or can imagine.  Jesus BECAME these things.

JESUS DESCENDED:

Jesus shouted out on the cross, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”.  God will not look on sin.  God has no fellowship with evil. The only place evil has to go from there is hell.  And that is where Jesus went.

Having become all sin, all evil, all that is vile and full of reproach, Jesus descended into Hell.  He took on the full and complete wrath of God, and suffered the total separation of God.  There was no longer that sweet communion between Jesus and His Heavenly Father.  He was cut off.

Jesus became sin and absorbed and endured the complete wrath and torment of God’s judgement.  There were no angels there to help him.  The Holy Spirit was not there in Hell.  God was not there.  It was just Jesus.

Psalm 88 describes this event:
I am counted among those going down to the Pit.

I am like a man without strength,
abandoned among the dead.
I am like the slain lying in the grave,
whom You no longer remember,
and who are cut off from Your care.
You have put me in the lowest part of the Pit,
in the darkest places, in the depths.
Your wrath weighs heavily on me;
You have overwhelmed me with all Your waves.
Jesus was alone in Hell.  He was dead.  He gave up His purity to become a complete abomination to God and Man.  And Satan had a short-lived party.  This was the goal of Satan.  That the King of Glory should fail and die.  Jesus’ torment was complete.  He had completely emptied the cup of God’s wrath.  Sin had brought Him to death and Hell.
Psalm 88 says:

Lord, why do You reject me?

Why do You hide Your face from me?
From my youth,
I have been afflicted and near death.
I suffer Your horrors; I am desperate.
Your wrath sweeps over me;
Your terrors destroy me.
They surround me like water all day long;
they close in on me from every side.
You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me;
darkness is my only friend.

While Jesus was there, He remembered the promises of God…just as Jonas prayed in the belly of the whale, Jesus remembered God’s eternal promise.  If Jesus would become sin, and bear the wrath of God, for the sake of all humanity, then God will raise Him from the dead, and seat Him on the Right Hand of the Father.

On His own, clinging to the promises, in the face of the unmitigated wrath of God, Jesus remembered…

“…the Lord…He heard me, …thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:2), “…I will look again to the Holy Temple.” (2:4), “…THOU BROUGHT UP MY LIFE…”(2:6)

And in the Psalm 16:10 – “For You will not abandon me to Sheol;  You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay.”

While Jesus was remembering the promise, and praying, and crying out, the Spirit of God came to Him and brought Him back to life.  His soul had died for our sakes.  He was condemned and died.  But the Spirit of God came to Him in Hell and brought Him back.

While Jesus was there, He accomplished several things.

Jesus preached to the prisoners in Hell:

“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm. In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared.”

Then He took the keys of Hell from Satan, and in proving He has all authority over life and death, and owns the keys of Hell, He took the captives from Hell and set them free, all who believed.

Satan no longer has any authority over anything.  Any thing he does have, he takes from humans who are willing to give it to him.

When Jesus came out of Hell, He proved that He is the King of Glory and the owner of all life and death.

Jesus proved that He alone is the Lord of the Universe and rules over all things.

Jesus gave us all this free gift of His grace, this life, if we accept it.  We are not alive spiritually unless we accept this gift:

“Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. For it says: ‘When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people.’

“But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? The One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. ”  EPHESIANS 4:7-10 HCSB

Our first free gift is LIFE.  We are brought from death into life when we accept this free gift of Jesus’ sacrifice.  He proved He has this authority.

If you have accepted this free gift, then you are saved.  Salvation is yours.

Jesus gave us all manner of gifts on His ascension.  If you have accepted this gift of salvation, Jesus wants to walk you into His lordship.  This is where we walk in many more gifts.

He turned us from the unrighteous to the righteous.  We have gone from being lost to being found.  This King of the Universe came here to do this for us, since we can not do this for ourselves.

The hardest thing for me to overcome, having received this new life, was the idea that I am no longer a slave.  I am not a slave to sin and death.  I am free from eternal damnation.  My guilt has been replaced with His love.  My shame has been replaced with His grace.  I have received His mercy.  And he has taken me by the hand and lifted me up and no longer calls me a slave.  I am His brother.  God is my Father.

THE CALLING OUT

When we accept this gift, we are immediately separated from the values of this world.  The Spirit of God will walk with us to teach us, convict us, and guide us into Christ likeness.

When you are saved, you are called.  The rest of this series will look at several of the gifts you have received from Him, so that you can answer this call.

The goal is that you will be made into the image and likeness of Christ.  You are called to bring others to the same saving knowledge of Christ as you have been given.  God equips whom He calls.

We are saved.  In God’s eyes, we are complete.  While we are still here on this earth, God intends to make manifest to the world, the completeness you have in Christ.

This series will look at the promises of your walk.

Let’s be about it.

I love you

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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