The Good News

Discussion of the Best News in the World, the Gospel of Jesus, and related topics

Category Archives: truth

C. S. Lewis – from Theism to Christianity

C.S. Lewis: It must be understood that my conversion at that point was only to theism pure and simple. I knew nothing yet about the incarnation. The God to whom I surrendered was sheerly non-human.

 

C. S. Lewis – From Atheism to Theism

Lewis and Tolkien on Myths and Lies

What Makes Grace Amazing?

The word grace has become an everyday church conversational word, until many Christians uses the words without truly understanding the weight behind it. Some Christians understand grace as God’s richest at Christ’s expense. Some as God’s unmerited favors towards undeserving people. Most of us uses grace as synonym to forgiveness of sin. But then, a lot of believers see grace as God’s additional help to add for the lack of perfection in our self-effort. Grace is what God gives to you when you tried your best but you fail. There is a popular saying that says, ‘God help those who help themselves.’ If these definitions of grace is true, then grace is not amazing at all.

It is very hard to define the word grace. But it is crucial that we have the right understanding of it.

Without the right understanding of grace, we wont be able to understand the fullness of God in the Bible.

Grace is ever present in every single page of the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, grace is the long thread that connect everything together for God’s glory. So without understanding grace correctly, we can have a distorted view of the One true living God. But when we have the correct understanding of grace, only then we can sing ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.’

In order for us to understand the amazing-ness of grace and the weight behind the word, Sam Storm in his book ‘Chosen for Life,’ writes 10 characteristic of grace. I hope these ten points will help us realize that grace is truly amazing.

  1. Grace presupposes sin and guilt. In another word, grace has meaning only when we realize that we are sinful and guilty. The main reason why people think so little of grace is because they do not understand the weight of their sin and guilt before the holy God.
  2. Grace does not contemplate sinners merely as undeserving, but as ill-deserving. Prior to salvation, we are not living in ‘neutral zone.’ According to the Bible, we are on our way to hell. It is not simply we do not deserve grace; we do deserve hell! We were once the enemies of God, if it not for His grace (Romans 5:10)
  3. Grace is not dependent upon the merit or demerit of its objects. Grace ceases to be grace if it can be earned by human merit. Grace ceases to be grace if it can be withdrawn by human demerit. J.I. Packer put it this way: “Grace is not treating a person less than, as, or greater than he deserves. It is treating a person without the slightest reference to desert whatsoever, but solely according to the infinite goodness and sovereign purposes of God.”
  4. Grace cannot incur a debt. Since grace is a gift, nothing can be done with a view to repaying God for it. The Biblical response to grace received is faith to receive more of it.
  5. With respect to justification, grace stands opposed to works (Romans 4:4-5); however, with respect to sanctification, grace is the source of works. This simply means that we are saved by grace for good works. Good works are the fruit and not the root of grace (Eph 2:8-10).
  6. Grace that saves is eternal but is manifested in the historical appearance of Christ. Grace comes and manifested fully in the person of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 1:9-10).
  7. Grace is free! The moment grace lost its ‘free-ness’, it ceases to be grace. (Rom 3:24)
  8. Grace is sovereign. Although God is gracious, He is not bound to give His grace to everyone. If grace becomes an obligation to God, grace would not be grace. God graciously saves some but not all, according to His sovereign good pleasure
  9. Grace is the foundation and the means of our election (Rom 11:5), our regeneration (Eph 2:5), our redemption (2 Cor 8:9), our justification (Titus 3:5-7) and the whole of our salvation (Eph 2:8)
  10. Grace is certainly free, but it is not always unconditional. Many of God’s acts and blessing are conditional. Eg: Eph 6:4; James 4:6, Psalm 103:17-18. But conditional grace is not earned grace. When God’s grace is promised based on a condition, that condition is also work of God’s grace. God graciously enables the condition that He requires (Phil 2:12-13). Our security is as secure as God is faithful.

Grace is indeed amazing. It does not originate from us but in God. We are only the undeserved recipients of grace, and that’s what make grace so amazing. J.I. Packer expressed it this way:

“The grace of God is love freely shown toward guilty sinners, contrary to their merit and indeed in defiance of their demerit. It is God showing goodness to persons who deserve only severity, and had no reason to expect anything but severity.”

 

thank you Yosia Yusuf

 

 

Thank God on Earth Day

From Reasons to Believe in 2016:

Every year on April 22, millions of people worldwide will gather on local beaches, streets, and parks to collect trash, plant trees, and honor and celebrate our Earth. In recent years, Earth Day has become almost as popular as Halloween and Christmas, observed by people from diverse religious beliefs and backgrounds. Rather than dismissing the holiday as just another day, Earth Day can remind us of the carefully crafted and fine-tuned home God has made for us. Read more of this post

What is THE church? What do we do?

I don’t know Grant but what I hear is truth that convicts me and challenges me in what I need to/want to seek for the church and my life.

Bloodlines

John Piper on the Jesus Follower view of others who are different. You have to get to minute 13!

Our Suffering Servant

What comes out of I Corinthians 15 causes me to look back to the ancient.  I Corinthians 15 looks back to Jesus’ life.  Isaiah 53 looked forward to the Messiah, Jesus.

As interpreted in the Message version of the Old Testament:

1  53 Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?
2–6  The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
on him, on him.
7–9  He was beaten, he was tortured,
but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
and like a sheep being sheared,
he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
or said one word that wasn’t true.
10  Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.
11–12  Out of that terrible travail of soul,
he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
will make many “righteous ones,”
as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—
the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

 

Peter’s Restoration

Repost: see John 21.

Seven of the 11 disciples are at sea and are attempting to catch fish.  The Master comes and guides them.  A net full of fish results.  Jesus gathers them around a fire and they eat roast fish together.  

After the meal He turns to Peter and seeks to restore His friend and follower.  “Peter, do you love me more than these?”

I can imagine for Peter and arch of pain goes through his stomach. then anguish of soul, and finally release.  “Aaah, the Lord is coming for me, He still loves me?” “I will go there with Him.”  “Lord, you know I love you,” said Peter.  “I will soon be free of this plague of failure which has bound me ever since He died.”  “I know my denial sent Him there.  Maybe, now I can get past my remorse for failing Him so badly.”

The Lord ask Peter the same question again, and then again.  The Lord asks Peter the question three times.  It was three times that Peter was asked a question about his association with the Master and denied that he knew the Lord in the courtyard of the high priest’s house in response to each question.

So, what is Jesus doing here on the shore?  Jesus wants Peter.  He wants Peter to understand that even denial and betrayal is forgivable.  Jesus wants Peter to see the resurrected Jesus–the One who died for Peter’s sins and the sins of all others who come seeking forgiveness

Where would Peter have been if the Lord had not pursued him as He did at the shore?   How would His life have been different if the Lord never engaged Him directly?

I am seeing this encounter with Peter as life changing.  Peter can throw off the sin and turn from his past.  Peter will become a new man because of the Lord’s pursuit of him today.

We see the results in the remainder of the New Testament.  Peter lives to call men and women to their Savior and to guard and feed the Lord’s sheep.  Peter is a great example for us.  Though we have sinned and grieved our Lord, we can be renewed and restored.  We may hear the call to a flock of a few or of hundreds.  

We desperately need to see the Lord pursuing us as He pursued Peter.  The Lord seeks to restore us by His love and grace.  

Seek Him and you will find Him. He will find you. Know that He does pursue you.  Submerge yourself in His love.

No Wonder They Call Him the Savior