Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Does He Care?
Jerry Bridge's great devotional work, Holiness day by day is a wonderful way to practice preaching the gospel to yourself daily. The subject of God's grace toward undeserving sinners, such as myself is throughout the entire book, since the selections are based on the previous books by Jerry Bridges, such as The Discipline of Grace, The Gospel for Real Life, Transforming Grace and so on.
The one that stuck out to me today was one entitled "Does He Care" concerning God's blessing being contingent on our performance; "Does this mean God no longer cares whether we obey or disobey? Not at all. The Scripture speaks of our grieving the Holy Spirit through our sins (Eph.4:30) And Paul prayed that we "may please [God] in every way" (Col 1:10)
God definitely cares about our conduct and He will discipline us if we refuse to repent of conscious sin, however it's not as a cruel and angry judge but as a loving Heavenly Father thanks to Christ. It's out of His love toward us as opposed to His wrath, for our good and not for our harm.
God's blessings are not based on our performance though, it's so easy to slip into that line of thinking, that if I'm good then God will bless me, but if I slip up His blessing is removed. The problem with this way of thinking is that even our best efforts are filled with sin- we have impure motives and we are so imperfect in our performance. We are so selfish, guarded and filled with sin through and through.
We need to have a fuller understanding of our total depravity and have a fuller realization of Jesus full payment of the penalty for our sins, as stated by Mr. Bridges; "And because we don't fully grasp that Jesus paid the penalty for all of our sins, we despair of God's blessing when we've failed to live up to even our desires to please God."
I love the way Jerry ends this selection, "Your worst days are never so bad that you're beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you're beyond th need of God's grace."
I desperately need the grace of God, I'm so thankful that He does not treat me as my many sins deserve (Ps 103:10).