Enter the blessing

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Are you limiting yourself, dragged down by thoughts that say “I’m not good enough” to apply for that next level job or ask for the promotion?  Are you afraid to approach God openly? Do His promises seem like they only belong to some super-spiritual elite group of Christians?

Perhaps that is because you have received just half of the gospel message, the part that teaches us “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”  I know many believers who only live that part, failing to remember a critical conjunction that finishes the thought. Take a look. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

God has made you right with Him, settled whatever debt hung over you, and written ‘paid in full’ for your sinfulness, through Christ Jesus and you can accept that new status by faith.

In the 4th chapter of Romans, Paul was inspired by the Spirit to take on the mistaken idea that we somehow gain the favor of God after or if we manage to perform enough good deeds or go through enough religious ritual.  He points to the example of Abraham, the father of the faithful, and explains that Abe was made right with God when he trusted the Lord in faith. “If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:2-3, NIV)

That is not just some dusty theology! Knowing that we are ‘credited’ with righteousness by God as a gift opens up great possibilities for us as disciples, just as it did for Abraham.

As Paul develops the thought, he goes to the promise that Abraham received because of the gift of righteousness. “It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. … Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:16, NIV)  God promised Abraham that he would be blessed, that he would bear God’s glory before his world, and that all the world would be blessed through him.  How did he gain this status? Through faith that accepted the gift of being made right with God and entering into the covenant by faith!

And, we can enter into it, too!  By faith, you and I are heirs of Abraham’s promise. We have a glorious destiny of being God’s own people, fully accepted before Heaven’s Throne, with eternal life secured for us, and the blessings of living under the hand of His blessings here and now. You can look at yourself, your failures, your sense of inadequacy and live far below what God intends OR you can, by faith, know that you are fully accepted as His child. That righteousness received by faith lays the foundation for a whole new way of life that is formed in us, progressively, by the work of the Holy Spirit.

The key to a joyful, rich Christian experience is to look higher than our own efforts, to trust Jesus fully for grace and mercy. Let’s do it! Are you living up to the potential that God plans for you, a bright light for Him, a living example of someone who has entered into the ‘abundant’ life Jesus promised?  The promise is not just for somebody you perceive to be better, someone you think has a spiritual heritage, or someone without the baggage you’re carrying from the past.  You can be declared ‘not guilty’ and freed to enter the promisesola gratia (by grace) – sola fide (by faith)!

Here is a word from the Word. “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised. And because of Abraham’s faith, God declared him to be righteous. Now this wonderful truth—that God declared him to be righteous—wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was for us, too, assuring us that God will also declare us to be righteous if we believe in God, who brought Jesus our Lord back from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God.” (Romans 4:20-25, NLT)

__________

No Longer Slaves

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

 I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

 From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

 You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Brian Johnson | Joel Case | Jonathan David Helser © 2014 Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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