Archive for February 2009

Extravagant Grace

February 22, 2009

Those aren’t easy words to accept. Especially, if like me, you grew up believing some would be saved and most would be damned. It took many years for my belief to change. God had to overcome my objections. I resisted because such extravagant grace wasn’t the traditional teaching of the Church. It wasn’t the usual interpretation of Scripture. It wasn’t the formula I’d been taught as a child. My belief changed only as I recognized the grace I’d experienced was not limited or conditional. I know a God of boundless love.

 My experience is not unique … In ways we don’t fully understand and can’t completely communicate, we were drawn to Jesus … It was the God of Jesus that attracted us. The God Who loves people more than formulas, mercy more than judgment, and pardon more than punishment. The God who seeks the lost, heals the brokenhearted, accepts the outcast, is kind to the wicked and ungrateful, is merciful and forgiving, and loves the whole world …

I could no more reject this love than a man dying of thirst could refuse a cup of water.

Philip Gulley / James Mulholland
If Grace Is True, pages 13-14

Is Your God a Christian?

February 22, 2009

I remember reading of a Sunday school teacher who devoted a class to the topic of hell. After she had gone on for some time, a troubled young girl innocently spoke up saying, “I think that God should become a Christian.” This sensitive child got something that adults generally miss. How can this god be the author of Christianity when He isn’t even a Christian Himself? How confusing it is, trying to live the Christian life using this god as an example?

Allan Ernest Chevrier
Whatever Became of Melanie? (2005), page 133

Propitiation for All Sin

February 22, 2009

And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2).

This is a text so worded, with a “not … only,” and “the whole world,” as if the Spirit had purposely consulted to obviate and prevent all clippings of it.

Jeremiah White (1629-1707)
(Chaplin to Oliver Cromwell)
Restoration of All Things, page 25

God Is No Failure!

February 22, 2009

The Love of God will prevail forever. If hell is pictured as endless days of punishment for the wicked; then it would seem God’s purposes have failed and Christ’s victory is hollow, but this is unbiblical. God is no failure! Judgment is not the last word. Even as God’s love overcame all evil on the cross of Christ, so God’s will for the salvation of everyone will be realized (I Timothy 2:4).

Randy Klassen
What Does The Bible Really Say About Hell?

The Greatest Sign of God’s Limitless Love and Forgiveness

February 22, 2009

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (I Timothy 2:3-6).

God … wishes all of us to be saved. God will surely have His way and we will all be saved. …

Is there no act so bad that salvation would be lost? What deed could be worse than the crucifixion of Christ? Can God forgive those who killed His own Son? Can Jesus forgive even those who are crucifying Him? We read in Luke 23:34 that Christ in the midst of His suffering on the cross said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” He asks God to forgive them not because they believe in God, repent of their wrongs, love God or Him, understand or any other positive requirement, but because “they know not what they do.”

If anyone fails to fulfill this, it is those who are Christians, and particularly ministers, for they have studied and claim to “know” just like the Pharisees. Yet I believe that Christians, even ministers, like the scribes and Pharisees, “know not what they do.”

Everyone, then, is included in Christ’s plea for forgiveness, and that request is certainly granted by His Father. Thus, the worst sin of all time becomes the greatest sign of God’s limitless love and forgiveness. There is nothing people can do to prevent God from forgiving them, and there is nothing they can or must do to earn that forgiveness.

Walter Williams
Love Without Limit: A Personal Journey to the Heart of God, page 22

The Entire Race Falls and Rises Together

February 22, 2009

The Bible clearly reveals that the entire race essentially falls and rises together. “In Adam all die.” Together we plunge into sin and misery under the headship and representation of our father Adam. “In Christ shall all be made alive.” Together we finally rise to newness of life to be received and embraced by the Father of all spirits, to live and to love, forever bound together as a holy family.

 As Paul says in Romans 5:

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (:18-21).

Tragically, we often gloss over a passage like this without really stopping to think. Paul here is not distinguishing between the Christian and the mass of lost humanity. He is not making a contrast, but rather a comparison between the representation of Adam and the representation of Christ, with his focus being the universal scope of each. The all and many in both cases are one universal humanity, comprising each and every person, who are jointly and individually the benefactors of both the disobedience of Adam and the obedience of Christ. Paul isn’t considering different classes of men, but mankind as a whole.

Now what was the result of Adam’s transgression? It was universal condemnation of all, without first consulting them or asking for their contribution. The result of Adam’s disobedience was complete and universal in its scope and consequence, plunging each and every member of his race into sin and spiritual separation from God.

Now, just as Adam’s sin had a direct, powerful, irresistible effect on the whole for evil, so the righteous act of Christ has a direct, powerful, irresistible effect on the whole for good. Just as one sin resulted in universal, real, actual condemnation, so the one act of righteousness performed by Christ, the second Adam, results in universal, real, actual justification, not just an opportunity to cast your lot in with Jesus, not just the offer of life, but the real, actual, powerful impartation of life! The real actual, powerful communication of righteousness! The plain language of the text allows for nothing less!

Allan Ernest Chevrier
Whatever Became of Melanie? (2005), pages 138-139

Good Tidings of Great Joy

February 22, 2009

My early religious impressions were received in the atmosphere of partialism. The church, the Sunday school, and the home made the awful future a serious reality to my young heart. So firmly was “orthodoxy” instilled into me, that much of the joy peculiar to childhood was changed into sadness.

But, when other influences entered my heart a little later in life, this world itself had a larger meaning to me, and God became to me, not the monster which “orthodoxy” had taught, but the righteous Father who owns all worlds and all people, and that relationship a tie never to be broken. And Christ became to my soul, not the messenger of death, but one with good tidings of great joy. And it has ever since been my aim to proclaim the good news, that the world might be blessed.

William Percival Burnell (1851-?)
Voices of Faith (1887)


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