Thursday, August 31, 2006

What I Once Was

(Recently, in light of the story of Rahab, I was asked to consider the question: "How does what you once were magnify the glory of divine grace?" Here's what I came up with...)

I once believed I had it all figured out.
I once believed I was "better than most people, anyway."
I once trusted in my own righteousness and obedience.
I once craved the applause, approval and acceptance of man.

Sadly, on many days, I still do. The pride I battle creeps back in. I struggle to fear God and not man. In Christ I am a new creation, but vestiges of the old remain.

This discourages me. And yet it also magnifies the glory of divine grace. How? No matter how many times I bring these same failures back to my Heavenly Father, He patiently casts them into the depths of the sea once more. No matter how many times I dive in after them and wriggle my new self into old clothes, He kindly reveals my foolishness and calls me back to Himself. It is a mystery of His glorious grace.

I once believed that justification was by faith, but sanctification was by my own effort and works.

Now I trust in the blood of my Savior from first to last, knowing that His work alone can present me pure and faultless before the throne of the Holy One. Now I put off the chains of guilt and duty because Christ's love compels me. Now I delight in the glorious riches of His grace--grace that was greater than all my sin on the day I first believed, and grace that is greater than all the sin I still battle today and will battle tomorrow.

Now I labor with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me. Now I trust His gracious promise to complete the good work He began in me--confident that as HE began it, HE will complete it. Now I make it my mission to magnify the glorious grace that sustains me until the day that it finally and forever sets me completely free.


Kat Coble said...

once believed that justification was by faith, but sanctification was by my own effort and works.

I think this is a common belief in the modern church. It's the part of us that is still trying to incorporate both a Protestant work ethic and a touch of Hinduism into our Christianity.

Anonymous said...


I, too, for many years believed that justification was by faith, but sanctification was by my own effort and works...thankfully I finally "got it"...that just as I couldn't "save" myself, neither can I "keep" myself to any degree that would "measure up" to God's righteousness...I will always fall short... as the Scripture says, our righteousness is as filthy rags...whatever could make us think we could gain santification through anything less than God's grace?

"While we were yet sinners"..that is grace; "Christ died for us"...that is love.

Along the way I was taught by many a pastor that if I wanted God's favor on my life, I must be out of duty, rather than love, I did many a good work trying to earn God's favor...but I could never measure up...I got really frustrated and knew there had to be more to the Christian life.

I'm sad that it took me 30 years to "get" it, but thankful I finally did.

These defintions helped me:

Mercy= not getting what I deserve
Grace= getting what I do not deserve

For many years in our culture it was desirable to exhibit graciousness in our "living" other words, extending to others what perhaps they did not deserve, like our hospitality, etc...and this demonstration a manisfestation of our love and faith.

Gracious living has gone the way of so many things...

As God has extended His grace to me, I try to continually extend grace to others...whether in the grocery store line or behind the wheel of my car.

By the way, I love your blog...and am thankful for young people like you who have a genuine earnest love of God...