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He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Romans 4:16; Faith Plus Nothing

Ephesians 1:7 (New King James Version)
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace ..."

There is a belief that the Fatherhood of God and His benevolent nature supersedes any aspect of 'needed' reconciliation or sacrifice. Within that belief are notions that atonement was the act of a sadistic, retributive, mean-spirited and vengeful God, that contextually the narrative of Jesus' death was misunderstood and irrelevant to today's knowledge and perception. The 1st century believers were not necessarily deceived, but, were operating without an enlightened understanding of their day's events. The idea persists in extrapolating the enhanced ability of the current generation to 'correctly' discern the events and place them within the 'right' context, achieving a more palatable awareness of God's plan and purpose. After all a God who requires a bloody, gory, violent, even visceral act to redeem the lost is far from attractive to the masses.
God, out of His love, would never require nor expect a belief in an horrific event like Christ's crucifixion to be the embodiment of God's grace.

The disconnect appears to be between the aspects of redemption, forgiveness and grace.

The fraudulent untruth that there is no need for redemption is the first premise upon which the crucifixion can be viewed as an act of men reacting to the threat that Jesus presented to the then current political and religious system. They were merely protecting their interests and any subsequent evaluation of those events by the believers of the day were distorted and embellished.
There is no presupposition of the fact of our bondage upon birth into a life of sin. The assumption that we are somehow not accountable for our birthright or actions allows for those who wish, to declare the Atonement unnecessary and a cruelty of Christian belief. In denial of the cross and the need for atonement, God can now be perceived as pleasant, more Fatherly, Santa-like, a forgiving in-spite-of figure and His attractiveness thus being enhanced, more will come to believe and accept His gracious benevolence. Unfortunately there is now no room for the concept of punishment and reward becomes placebic as it is available to all.
Forgiveness becomes a mute point, it is an assurance, insured by the love of God for all, without any distinction nor discrimination, tolerant of all behaviours and actions. God is so loving and kind that of course He will forgive us.
This is the new and improved definition of grace, the enlightened and relevant perception. We need not fear God as an all-consuming fire. 

Grace is not grace without love, love is meaningless without obedience, obedience is fruitless without faith.

Redemption is the need of all men, sacrifice is the only pathway to forgiveness, forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace.

Hebews 9:22 "... without sheding of blood there is no remission." We cannot live without forgiveness. There is no forgiveness, redemption, salvation but through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Everyone has forfeited their life by their sin.

What of faith? It must believe that He is, 'and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Believing in God the Father as He is revealed in all scripture, without regard for human interpretation, but accepting by faith the truth revealed, 'not leaning on our own understanding', but in faith knowing that God will reward with forgiveness and righteousness, 'and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God, ..."

What of love? "To reject the love of God is to reject the only reality there is; it is to begin to cease to exist. And we cannot even cease to exist of ourselves for that depends upon the will of God."

What of obedience?  George MacDonald says,"Obedience is the opened of eyes."

What of grace? ".. let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." Living in God's presence by His acceptance of us through His Son Jesus.

What of holiness? "Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see God."

There no room for a permissive lowering of the standards, no accommodation to sin, no moral laxity in our vision of God the Father. We should not conceive of God as a doting grandfather, but as a father. Rather, affirm the beauty of the Father’s holiness. God’s love is like a burning, purifying fire. God’s love is unrelenting in its demand for the holiness of his children, for only in that way will we experience His blessedness. God demands the utmost; he is inexorable; our God is a consuming fire.

Be fearful of a gospel or any teaching which denies, refutes or diminishes the need for the atonement, propitiary sacrifice, crucifixion of Jesus Christ God's Son.
God is indeed easy to please, but impossible to satisfy, and in that lies the enigma of grace, the mystical and divine, the absurd and supernatural, but most importantly therein the love of God is revealed. We need only in faith to rely upon God.

Romans 4:16

"Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all (descendants), not only to those who are of the law (by obedience to Moses' teachings), but also to those who are of the faith (believing as Abraham did), who is the father of us all ..."

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