I have just finished a weekend with the blessing of seeing my own family in a full family reunion. It was good to see my natural brothers, sisters, uncle, aunt, cousins, and many nephews, nieces on one generation and even two. I have also been blessed with a few days with a very good life-long friend of fifty years. Life is full and life is good.
We are the elect of God. We are holy. God really loves us! We are His passion! We are chosen! I believe that all people have this invitation from God to know this profound truth in Christ, but one must come to Him to discover this wonderful predestination in His name. It is the gift of God’s love and the power of His grace for all who come to Him. God choose us to be transformed by the power of His grace, but we must boldly come to His throne of grace to receive mercy for our failures and find grace that transforms us to manifest as those chosen by Him in this world.
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
God’s grace empowers us to put on tender mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and long suffering. We can’t just put away our old nature, we must put on a new nature by the power of God’s grace. It is then we forebear and forgive and become like Christ. When someone does something wrong to us and we have a complaint against them we are able to forgive them from our hearts by the transforming power of God’s grace. These things are not mere actions of the flesh with a self-controlling discipline. These things are manifestations of our hearts and minds as we are changed by God’s presence in our lives.
Colossians 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Love is not a work of discipline in our flesh. True love is the fruit of God’s grace at work in our hearts. God’s grace causes the peace of God to rule in our hearts. Peace in our hearts is a testimony of God’s grace working in us. The word of Christ dwells in us. Our character, nature, way, power, and authority changes. We become givers of life to one another. This is not a recipe for a spiritual service of ministry. This is a testimony of our character in an everyday world. It is not a matter of religiously singing, but of having a testimony of life coming off us for the sake of giving life to others. It is an attitude, not a service. People pick up on the tune of our lives. We can be influenced by a catchy tune, what about a catchy attitude? What if this Scripture isn’t talking about music, but an attitude. Life should come off us for the sake of others. A person of grace is someone who inspires people to be excited when they see them come. A person of law is someone others seek to hide from. They are not givers, they are takers. Grace causes us to be givers. We make melody in our hearts. Why? Not so we will be singers, but something about us makes others sing. We make them come alive. My grandchildren know their grandpa makes them sing! They are excited to see me. I empower them. I give life to them. We put on the characteristics of Christ, not so He will love us. We put on the characteristics of Christ so we can love others the way He loves us. We don’t seek to put on the attributes of Christ so He will love us.
We don’t have to be afraid of God anymore. Regardless of all our flaws, we are not afraid of Him. He says our sins are forgiven. We must understand mercy in order to understand grace. If we don’t understand mercy, we will have a hard time understanding grace. When we don’t understand God’s mercy and grace we will constantly look in the throne room to find mercy. But we don’t look for mercy. We simply reach out and receive it. We look for grace, but we have to put it on as we increasingly find it. We find God’s grace in the place of the manifest presence of God in our hearts and minds.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
We don’t’ beg God to accept us. We know that He does. He is good and He loves us. How do we see ourselves in the mirror? We are children of God and our Father loves us. There are things that the law describes that God does not like, but never is God ashamed of His children. There are things that His children embrace that cause them to experience death and dysfunction. God does not want them to hold on to those things, but there is not a single child that He wants to die. He wants every child to overcome every wicked thing. In the law, we would take rocks and kill those who were wrong. An Old Covenant mentality seeks to kill the wrong in our lives, whereas a New Covenant mentality seeks to embrace all the goodness that is found in Christ. That goodness includes a change in our character by the power of God’s grace.
Jesus made a way to empty the rock box. He is not judging us by the law anymore. He is judging us by love. He never really desired for law to judge us. We chose law, He simply revealed to us the law to invite us to come to Him. He just wants His children back. He wants to empower them to be who they were meant to be. He is not killing us for our sins, He wants us to know who we are and then He wants to transform our lives to become a testimony of His family name. He wants us to overcome every wicked thing. This is the testimony of grace. He doesn’t care where we have been and how we have acted, He just wants His son and His daughter to come home and to know who they really are. We have been trampled on and lied to. We have been overcome by things that don’t define who we really are. God wants to say to us all, I know you think that is who you are, but come to Me and you will find grace. I will transform your heart and your mind and cause you to become what you cannot yet be. I don’t care if it takes a little while. Come boldly every day and find grace.
If we all get busy finding grace we won’t have time to measure one another or ourselves by law. We will find ourselves showing mercy to those who are still bound to the law and we will find ourselves being gracious as people of grace.
Ted J. Hanson
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