Let 2012 be a special year of freedom... to get out of the religious coffin from the two open ends and be free indeed.
Source : Why Grace Changes Everything by Chuck Smith
A Tragic Error
One of the most tragic errors the church can make is to emphasize the work that
believers should be doing for God. How many times have you heard heavy,
condemning sermons that tell you, "You ought to be praying more! You ought to
be giving more! You ought to be witnessing more, or reading your Bible more, or
serving God on some committee more!" How often do you go to church looking
for encouragement only to hear about your failure and how disappointed God
must be with you?
The last thing I need is for someone to lay a heavy burden on me about my
failures. I know I ought to be doing more. No one needs to tell me that I don't
pray enough or read my Bible enough or give to God enough. All I get from such
messages is a huge guilt complex. My frustration increases because I really want
to love God more, to pray more, to have a deeper fellowship with Him. When we
place our emphasis on areas of failure, we end up creating defeated, discouraged
Christians who give up and drop out of the race.
What a different message we see when we turn to the New Testament! It
highlights not what we ought to be doing for God, but what God has already
done for us. What we can do for God can never be enough. Our efforts at
righteousness are always marred by our imperfections. But what God has done
for us is perfect, beautiful, complete, and fantastic. How sad that we have
reversed the equation and constantly harp upon our responsibility instead of
God's wonderful grace! This is why we see so much of the church on the verge of
dying out. We don't need someone to remind us of our failure as much as we
need someone to show us the way out of our predicament. We need grace, not
Your One Duty
God has given you but one simple responsibility: to believe in His promise. You
can enjoy the blessing of a relationship with God even though you may not pray
enough, or give enough, or sacrifice enough because of your faith in what God
has already done for you.
God made Jesus to be sin for you that you might be made the righteousness of
God through Him. Jesus imparts to you His righteousness when you simply place
your faith and trust in the work He has done for you. His work is all of grace.
Paul opened his letter to the Galatians with the salutation, "Grace be to you." He
closed it with, "Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Amen." His benediction takes on a rich depth of meaning in light of the letter's
sharp focus on the glorious grace of God. The grace of Jesus, not the law of
Moses, was the Galatians' greatest need. To walk in the power of His Spirit, not
in the vain efforts of the flesh, was their calling.
How did the Galatians respond? We are not told. Perhaps this is because the
question raised in Galatia is always an open one. Will you rely on your own
righteousness, or will you trust in God's gracious provision? Will you remain in
the simple message of salvation by grace through faith? Or will you add your
own list of righteous works to the finished work of Christ? Will you walk in the
flesh or in the Spirit? Will you glory in the cross of Christ alone? Or will you seek
the approval and rewards of this world so that you may glory in your flesh?
These are issues that every believer in every generation eventually must wrestle
with. The answers you stand for will spell the difference between peace and fear,
pride and true humility, even spiritual life and death.
May you stand without wavering for the grace of Jesus Christ. May you not be
moved by the deceptive desire to please men. May you be so heavenly minded
that you are of the greatest earthly good, holding out the word of life in an
increasingly dark and hopeless world. And may you glory this day in what Jesus
has done for you, and in that alone.