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Monday, October 11, 2010

Grace: Reused & Recycled

Warning: This post is not about the environment
(though your comments about the adjacent picture are welcome).

"Reduce, Reused, Recycle." As I grow further into fatherhood, sadly, many of my analogies are reflective of just that (I caught myself singing the Disney Channel's Special Agent Oso theme song when warming up my vocal cords for this Sunday Morning's Sermon). I heard the above three words uttered over & over during a season of time when my children were addicted to a claymation character in a hard hat named Bob the Builder. Bob was advocating trying to reuse any and every material when building.

One of my passions in life is to eradicate a mentality that plagues churches & individual Christians -- namely, that the gospel of grace is to be used one time (for salvation) but then thrown into the rubbish bin as each of us "goes on then to DO the Christian life."

So trusting in Jesus' finished work on the cross is amazing, we are saved by it; but now you need to move past it to grow in the Christian life.

People, even us pastors and minister-types, may not actually say or admit that this is the message being proclaimed from our pulpits and with our actions -- but isn't it?

Grace: Reused & Recycled

Grace is the fuel that ought to motivate the Christian life. The cross is to be returned to each day as a place to mourn over & confess sin, receive forgiveness, & celebrate and exult in the the crucified & risen Christ as we freely walk in obedience. Otherwise, we start subtly trusting in self & self-efforts, which will end in our ruin.

Few express this better than Charles Spurgeon, the great 19th century pastor of the London Tabernacle (this dude started preaching at the age of 18...can you imagine receiving your weekly dose of preaching from a freshman in college?!). The following excerpts are from his book All of Grace, which I've been reading lately. I'll leave it without commentary and pray that these words would be a source of life to you as they have been for me:

A dark fear haunts the minds of many who are coming to Christ. They are afraid they will not perservere till the end...I believe that this fear is often the father of fact--that some who have been afraid to trust Christ for all time and eternity have failed because they had a temporary faith which never went far enough to save them. They set out trusting Jesus in a measure, but looking to themselves for continuance and perseverance in the heavenward way...If we trust in ourselves for holding on we will not hold on.
I have no doubt whatever that mistake about the perseverance of the saints has prevented the perseverance of many who ran well. What hindered them that they should not continue to run? They trusted in themselves for the running, and so they stopped short. Beware of mixing even a little of self with the mortar with which you build, or you will make it untempered mortar. The stones will not hold together. If you look to Christ for your beginning, beware of looking to yourself for your ending. His is Alpha. See to it that you make Him Omega also...
The urgent need of the believing soul is confirmation, continuance, final perseverance , preservation to the end. This is the great necessity of the most advanced believers, for Paul was writing to saints [ie. Christians] at Corinth who were men of high order, of whom he could say, "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 1:4).
Such men are the very persons who most assuredly feel that they have daily need of new grace if they are to hold on and hold out and become conquerors at last.

May each of us hold on by daily reusing & recycling the gospel of grace as our fuel. It's the same 'stuff' by which we were saved & it's the same 'stuff' that will keep us living for Him till we die.

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