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Friday, April 5, 2013

A Deeper Understanding of God's Grace

Job 36:15 (ESV)
15 He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.
This is part of Elihu's admonition to Job. He assumed that Job must have done something wrong or he would not be suffering as he was. His premise to Job is wrong. His understanding of God may be right though I believe he said it without being aware of what he has said.
Elihu understands that sinners are afflicted. He claims that God delivers them by their affliction. Who are these afflicted? Are they afflicted because of adversity or is their adversity their affliction? In other words,  is their distance from the Lord their affliction? Thus, they receive adversity to open their ears so that they can come closer to the Lord and receive the deliverance of their affliction.
Therefore, should I look for a purpose in every bad thing that comes my way? Did 9/11 have a godly purpose? Does your mother’s cancer have a purpose for you or for her? Tragedies do not have godly purposes but they do have godly results. Let’s look at death as if it isn’t the end. Let’s look at tragedy without chaos. Yet, instead of blaming God for a fallen world, we should realize His grace in this world. Without His grace there would be nothing but chaos and we would never have any guidance.
Tragedies come because of the Fall of Mankind. We must understand that the Fall of Man was the rejection of God Himself. The Fall has a lingering affect on all of His creation. It is the reason we are not fully in His presence. It is the reason we are not fully glorified.
Yet, God in His grace is not pleased to leave us in our condition. We are afflicted with the Fall. So, He sends His grace. We either respond or we reject Him. Our fallen nature makes rejecting Him as the default. But God is patient toward us. He is long-suffering. We cannot appreciate His grace until we recognize His desire to open the eyes of those who are trying to keep them closed.
But some do respond. They open their eyes, recognize His grace and walk closer to Him to a point. Nearly everyone will go only so far if God does not again and again intervene. His grace is used to bring those who have been faithful even closer. Jesus said:
John 15:2 (ESV) 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
These are hard words for people who think that God's blessings always come in easily recognizable packages. They think that things which look good are good and things that look bad or bad. They cannot see that sometimes what looks good is bad and what looks bad is good. (If you are confused on this matter, please read Genesis 3 again.) Thus, the adversity which we face opens our eyes, ears and hearts to a deeper relationship with God. It causes us to give up our rejection of God.
This is why James could say:
James 1:2-4 (ESV) 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The joy does not come from the trials. We are deluding ourselves in thinking we will be joyful over hard times. If this was the case we should seek hard days. We should torture ourselves so that we will have all the joy we can have. No, this is not the source of our joy. Our joy comes with the change God makes within us through the adversity. We reach out and cling to Him. We grow closer to Him. We grow more like His Son.
Yet, most Christians will reject these words written here. They want a care-free world in which God only comes to the rescue. They will have nothing to do with a god who welcomes adversity. They really never know much of His grace.
You are exceptional if you have gotten this far. You must be one of those who is experiencing His grace through adversity. You must be one of those who has been faithful and understands that He, by His grace, is bringing you through a tough time to prune away present and future rejections of Him. You are blessed by a deep understanding of His presence.
But how many will want that fellowship with God as you do? Not many I am afraid.

2 comments: said...

Joy, it comes the trials? No, and Ps Prentis puts it as coming from the change God brings to us, when we faced the adversity.  Now, some people go through trials and adversities, changed, some do not!  Why the difference? 

I believe when we are faced with trials and adversities, there is the grace of God flowing out to us, and there is the response of ours.  It possibly could be for some cases, God just carries one through, like what was depicted on the Footprint plaque, when one is too weak, God carries one through; the one set of footprint (instead of two sets) belongs to God, not the person's, the person's hours of adversity. In other cases, even when there is grace of God flowing out to the one, God, in His wisdom, still expects a correct response on the one facing trials or adversities.  One reason is that we need to learn.  What God desires for all He loves, is that they would grow.  That is the reason, Scripture said that, those God loves, He chastises.

Some overly grace preachers like to tell people, not to do anything; doing anything they purport that would be helping God, which they claim, is being self-righteous, stating that God does not need our help.  No, it is not necessarily so; correct response and co-operation with God, is helping ourselves, for our own good, not helping God.

At which point does joy come? It comes when you, in your trials or adversities, move in agreement with God or the Holy Spirit. For when you do that, move in agreement with the Holy Spirit, in whatever your situation, whether in trials or in services or ministries for the Lord, joy cometh to you.  The source of this joy (and peace) is the Holy Spirit.  Why is the Holy Spirit be of fullness of peace and joy?  It is because the Holy Spirit is always in agreement with God, for the Spirit is the one knowing the mind of God, and He, the Spirit, does NOT move contrary to the will of the Father God or the Lord.  When, we likewise, be in agreement with the Spirit, the fullness of Him, including His peace and joy is imparted to us.  It is only when we move and act in agreement with the Spirit of God, that when we are faced with trials, that the outcomes would turn out to be as those said of, by the James text, Ps Prentis quoted in his entry.

Scripture, in Romans 14:17, said that the kingdom of God is about (His) righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Don't be crazy to go looking for trials, adversities or persecutions.  But when we are in any (which you would be in some, for the simple fact that you are still in the world, even though you are no longer of the world), when thing turns sour, be attentive, be sensitive,  be obedient, be of courage, be of persistence to want to work with the Spirit of God, for God is likely to be making lemon juice!  God would be working out good for those who love Him, who are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).  Don't miss the growing opportunity in each season of trials and adversities.  In your trial or adversity, be humble and be of contrite heart before God, and ask for His Spirit's leading; be in agreement, and act in agreement.  His grace is sufficient for you.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Deb Willbefree said...

Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post called, "A Pruning Time". this post reminded me of that.

And God confirmed some things in my heart.