Thursday, November 24, 2016

Assurance in Light of Grace

For God so loved the world that He
gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him shall not
perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16

This may well be the most well known verse in all of Scripture (other than, "God helps those who help themselves."...joking here), and it portrays for us the magnificent and magnanimous grace of God; and the gospel of John is chock full of the grace of God. 

One of the ways this grace is presented to us in John is through the use of the word sent.  In John, the word sent is used 40 times concerning Christ so that we would know that it was the Father's will, the Father's initiative, the Father's plan for Christ to come down to earth to deliver men from power of sin and the consequences of its penalty.  The Father's sending of the Son is an act of grace. Grace, that is grace because it was never requested or sought out, but given freely by God to all who would believe. Grace is God's free provision of salvation. God sent His Son, of His own volition, in His own time, and in His own way to be the deliverer for all who would place their faith in Him as their Savior and accept His sacrifice on the cross as their sole means of becoming right with God. It was not Christ on the cross trying to persuade God to pardon us, but God purposefully sending His own Son in the likeness of our sinful flesh to bear His own wrath against the sin of men and women.

Understanding this great grace should also give us great assurance.  Assurance of the love of God for us, assurance of the compassion of God toward us, assurance of the mercy of God bestowed on us, and assurance of the forgiveness of God provided for us. We can rest assured because the Lord has extended the favor of His love, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness to us despite us, not because of us.

Our hope of heaven is not grounded in ourselves, but in the grace of God; and so our assurance of our relationship with God and our standing with God is not just for our life here on earth, but ultimately and most importantly for the life that begins after death. This is why Peter could boldly and confidently state that our inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and reserved in heaven (I Peter 1:4). The grace that we experience here is only the beginning of the grace that will be lavished upon us for all eternity as Paul states that in the ages to come God will show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7).

So let our assurance rest on the grace for us purposed before creation, the grace made available for us today. and the grace to be lavished on us for eternity , all through Jesus Christ. For we have been saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) What greater assurance could we have.

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