Grace, Truth, And Acceptance By Our Lord Jesus Christ

Salvation is simple enough for a child to understand, but it’s also so profound that we can’t plumb its depths. One thing we can know for certain is that it’s a work of God, whereby He regenerates a spiritually dead sinner into a new creation filled with the life of Christ.

How does Jesus receive us?  I know how he treated me. I was a sinful twenty-something on a downhill path.  Though I’d made a commitment to Christ a decade earlier, you wouldn’t have known it by the way I lived.

Finally I came to Jesus, and he welcomed me back.  Please note– he did not accept my behavior but he accepted me, his wayward child.  He said, “Come back.  I’ll clean you up.”  He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  Not just grace, but also truth.  Not just truth, but also grace.

Grace and truth. Grace told the adulterous woman at the well, “I do not condemn you.” Truth told her, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).  Jesus shared truth but did it graciously.  Jesus offered grace but did it truthfully.  Grace and truth.  Acceptance seeks to offer both.

Are You A Good Example Of Being A Christian?

Ephesians 4:22-32

When we become Christians, saved by the blood of our redeemer Jesus Christ, we have an obligation to conduct ourselves accordingly. I know that can be difficult in these days and times. It is now more critical than ever that we show the world that living in the darkness of despair and rebellion is not the way to go.

Unbelievers watch us as we go about our daily lives. For some they are just looking for an excuse to justify their worldly behavior when they see a believer acting the same worldly way. Our walk with the Lord is probably the only exposure they will have to God and Jesus Christ.

So, what steps can we take to provide unbelievers with a view of life that is modeled after Jesus? The following is a brief outline of the Christian walk, which can be found in Ephesians 4:22-32. If you don’t want to explore these passages in the scriptures, you can always print out this email message and use as a road map for your daily living.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the courage, stamina, and strength to walk in love like Jesus—Steps to walking, talking and acting like a Christian:

1. Lay aside the old self which is corrupt with lusts and deceit.
2. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
3. Put on the new self which is in the likeness of God.
4. Lay aside all falsehood, speaking the truth with your neighbor.
5.Whoever steals must steal no more but rather labor instead.
6. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but only such a word as is good for edification.
7. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
8. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander be put away from you along with all malice.
9. Be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you.

What Does The Holy Spirit Do?

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.—John 16:13

If someone asked what the Holy Spirit does, how would you answer? Some Christians may not be aware of what He is accomplishing in their life, but the Spirit’s work isn’t a total mystery—Scripture tells us what the role of our divine Helper is.

He convicts us of sin (John 16:8). This is the first step in awakening us to our need for salvation. But even afterwards, the Spirit continues revealing sin in our life so we can immediately confess and receive forgiveness (1 John 1:9).

He guides us into all truth (John 16:13-14). The Holy Spirit teaches about Jesus Christ and God’s Word, and He helps us discern the difference between truth and error.

He fills us (Eph. 5:18). To be filled with the Spirit means that He is directing our path, much like a ship that is driven along by the wind filling its sails. This requires that we surrender our life to Him, acknowledging that He owns us and has the right to lead.

He bears fruit through us (Gal. 5:22-23). The Spirit produces qualities we could never consistently display on our own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Although the Holy Spirit indwells and seals us immediately upon salvation, His work within each believer takes a lifetime. He is our constant Helper, who transforms us into Christ’s image and equips us for our daily challenges so we don’t have to struggle through life in our own strength. In all of our difficulties, conflicts, and heartaches, He guides our way, guards our hearts, and gives us His wisdom.

Can God Use An Imperfect Person Like Me?

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”—1 John 1:9

Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, God’s Holy Spirit lives in you. Through Him, God enables you to do everything He asks, making the possibilities for service limitless.

Have you been sitting on the sidelines because you have let sin and shame discourage you? Perhaps you feel as though God can’t use your broken vessel.

Don’t let your feelings overshadow the truth! God is big enough to forgive you, restore you, and use you to restore others. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Once you have confessed and turned from your sins, you are cleansed—but God does not purify you and empower you with His Spirit merely to make you feel good. God’s purification process fulfills the Scriptures and equips His children for service. The question is not, “Do I have the power?” It is, “How will I use that power?”

God’s Word and Your Conscience

After David had numbered the troops, his conscience was stricken and he said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg You to take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”—2 Samuel 24:10

When programmed with the truth of God’s Word, the conscience has great value for a Christian. It detects deviations from the Lord’s standards and sends out a warning. The Holy Spirit uses that signal to get our attention. Then He will reveal what the problem is, give us understanding about it, and show us the right choices to make. He may guide us to friends, relevant Scripture verses, or other resources that can shed light on our situation and point out the implications of a wrong choice.

Failure to heed our inner alarm can bring serious consequences. Adam and Eve knew what God expected (Gen. 2:15-17). When tempted, however, they ignored their conscience and sinned against Him.

When your conscience sounds the alarm, do you stop and take notice or continue on the same course? Repeatedly ignoring your internal warning system can decrease its effectiveness at keeping you out of trouble. Ask God to help you program your inner alarm with His truth and sharpen your ability to hear it.

God Is Our Rock. An Unshakable Foundation.

With each passing year, the instability in the world seems more and more apparent. Natural and man-made catastrophes claim lives; political balance shifts; wealth and status come and go. It all causes us to ask, Is anything unshakable?

As overwhelming as these things seem, let me give you an even bigger example. In today’s passage (2 Peter 3:10-13), we read that the heavens and earth will be shaken. It will all be destroyed—burned, to be exact. Thankfully, we have the promise that God will create new heavens and a new earth, but in the meantime our world will undergo great turmoil.

Instability can create feelings of insecurity and fear unless we latch onto the truths God has given us. The Bible refers to Jesus as a rock and firm foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10-11; Eph. 2:20). And we know that God is unchangeable and sovereign; nothing can undermine or move Him. His Word is truth, and it will last forever.

As Christians, we know that our eternal relationship with God is secure. We’ve been adopted as His children, and nothing can rob us of this position. What’s more, believers are assured of an eternal home with Him. Though we may at times feel unsettled by our circumstances, we can rejoice when trials bring us humbly to the cross of Jesus, where we will find peace and safety.

What assurance we have as God’s children! We can rest in peace and full confidence, knowing that our hearts are secure in Jesus Christ. As King David said in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Courage To Speak The Truth

Why is it so easy to lie? Telling a falsehood is something we all did as children, but lying can trip up even longtime Christians. The underlying motive for giving in to deception is usually a desire to protect ourselves in some way. We lie to get out of trouble, to avoid an unwanted situation, to profit financially, to receive acceptance, to bolster our image, to hide our flaws, or for other self-serving reasons.

Are you willing to commit to speaking truth even when it’s costly? Altering income tax information, falsely enhancing your image on social media, or ignoring a miscalculation in your favor on a receipt isn’t worth the loss of character that comes with deception. Seeking to please the Lord and letting Him handle the consequences will always be the best course of action.