Friday, January 25, 2008

How Much Grace?

Starting in my next posts, I will be addressing what I am studying in my quiet times, and what God is showing through other books I am reading, but before that, I thought that it would be good for you to know what I consider to be the most magnificent and eye-opening thing God has shown me over the past few years. I am going to ask a question, not as an accusation, but just an objective question that we all know the answer to with regards to our lives.

How seriously broken and devastated are we by our sin?

How often are we as Christians just utterly destroyed by our knowledge of our flesh? Every day? Every once and a while when we make a big mistake? During the lessons at Paradigm or Pursuit?

Lets look at the Scriptures in Isaiah chapter 6.

"1In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
2Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory."
4And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
5Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
7He touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven."

Isaiah got it. The very first thing that he noticed in the presence of the lord was his own inadequacy! Couldn't you here him say, "WHOA this is Amazing! I can't believe I am getting to see this!" but instead, he looks within himself and is ruined. another translation says undone. Isaiah was completely and utterly broken by his own sin.

So why is it so important to realize our own sin, because it magnifies God's Grace! We can't truly understand the love and grace of our father until we truly understand the depths of our depravity! When you read the Scriptures, you see so many people that get it. Take Paul for example; pretty good guy huh? Spent his life on missionary journeys, obsessed with the teaching of God's Grace through his son, and consumed with passion for glorifying God. Look at what he writes in 1 Timothy

"15It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
16Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

Did you catch it? Paul calls himself the chief of sinners! the worst! It is no question that Paul's ministry was driven by his passion for pursuing God's Glory and understanding the infinite grace that is brought about by realizing God's infinite holiness, against our radical corruption.

We need to be broken. The parts of scripture that tear me apart, I came upon while I was beginning to see the importance of all this. Whenever God compares us to an unfaithful bride, Hosea, Ezekiel 16, Judges 2, I am so undone, ruined, broken. It shows me the magnificence of God's grace; that In my flagrant infidelity, God would still choose to seek out and save me. When I wilfully choose sin, which is nothing less than what Isreal is doing when God rebukes them in Judges 2: "you whored after other God's, bowing yourselves down to them." Praise God that his Mercy is greater far than my radically corrupted unfaithful nature.

We have to humble ourselves before God, We have no righteousness of our own to stand on, scripture is clear that our good works are but filthy rags before a Holy God. Throw yourself completely on him, indulge yourself in his grace. It is enough. Be broken! like peter when the cock crows, and like the tax collector in the temple begging God for mercy. He gives it, and it is enough. God's grace is enough.



Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

The passage in Isaiah is actually one that revolutionized my life. The holiness of God is a standard all too high for us to attain. Churches skirt around it alot, but it is foundational to our understanding of God and His relationship to us. Sometimes we get this thought process that we are 'all that.' After all, we are better than so and so. We have to remember that our worship is not horizontal, it is vertical. It is not trying to be better than the tax collector next to us; it is trying to be like Him. When we see it that way, we can't help but realize we are never going to be anywhere close; we are nothing. It is when we know we are nothing that we can truly experience God's grace. Very well spoken, Ryan.

**sorry about deleting the first one, I missed a few words.:-p **