Jude; A Warning Against Thinking Grace Covers Immorality

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Jude 1:4 NIV

There is nothing new under the sun. There have always been people trying to rob the cross of Christ of all its glory. Many people want to use God’s grace as a cloak for sin. But God’s grace is powerful and does way more than cover sin-it gets rid of sin! In Zechariah 3 we read of how Joshua has his filthy clothes of sin removed before the robe of righteousness is put on him. God does not cover sin-He removes it! God’s grace not only frees us from the penalty of sin but also frees us from the power of sin. Grace not only gives us a title to heaven, but it also fits us for heaven. Grace is more than just Jesus dying for me, but me also dying with Him!

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4 NIV

Notice the cross does not meet the requirement of the law for us but in us.

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. Romans 1:5 NIV

Grace calls us to obedience.

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

Grace saves us from more than the penalty of sin, which is death. It saves us from a sinful lifestyle and gives us good works.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Titus 2:11-12 NIV

Grace enables us to live Godly lives right now!

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.  Jude 1:24-25 NIV

Matthew 1; Blogging Through the New Testament

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

This is my first blog on my current adventure through the New Testament.  I begin of course with Matthew chapter one.  As you notice, this chapter begins with a lot of begats. Sounds boring. Why do we need all of this repetition? Believe it or not, there is actually a point to the repeating of this lineage. Each generation had its weaknesses. These weaknesses were passed down from generation to generation on to Jesus. However, while Jesus shared the weaknesses of His ancestors He did not participate in their sins. Ellen White explains in her classic The Desire of Ages, p. 49; “It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.”  Abraham lied to the Pharaoh of Egypt in regard to his relationship with Sarai. Isaac, Abraham’s son, did the same thing. Then Jacob, Isaac’s son lies to Isaac when he steals the birthright. Then Jacob’s uncle Laben, turns around and deceives Jacob. Generation after generation of liars! However, while this heredity was passed down to Jesus He did not give in to the temptation to lie and lived a perfect life, thus making it possible for us to overcome our heredity.

 

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:14-16

 

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].  1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.  Jude 1:24-25

 

Later in chapter one, we read of Joseph planning to quietly divorce Mary, since she is already with child, even though they have not been together yet. Here is a great lesson for us. Jacob is not going to gossip or publicly hurt Mary’s reputation. Didn’t Jesus also try to protect the reputation of sinners? He wrote in the sand, letting sinners see their own mistakes without having them publicly pointed out to them. He told parables so people could see themselves without having their sins published abroad. Of course Mary had not been cheating on Joseph as he thought. Here is another lesson. If Joseph could be wrong about Mary, even with the overwhelming evidence, could we also be wrong when we judge others?

 

You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of The Cross.