Monday, May 18, 2009

66 - Grace Pilgrimage - 4

MANY other verses influenced my grace study. Books I read sometimes helped (and continue to do so) my realization that the focus always seems to be in need of MORE focus on Jesus and what HE did. Even my misunderstandings have helped much - because every so often I am caught with the idea that something I believe and try to share has something lacking. Sometimes I have had the experience of seeing that I "re-define" a word to fit my "take" instead of staying with the actual word translated. The word GRACE has an "accepted definition" of "unmerited favor" - and I had redefined it as - well - if I did an hours' worth of work and got paid for a week's worth - that IS unmerited favor - so I need to do my paltry work to prove I am part of the "saved group" and I had many who agreed with that.

I believe that to be error on my part - grace in the Bible doesn't allow that re-defining. A better description would be closer to "on the house" which Yancey used in his neat book, "What's so amazing about Grace?" But - not only that, but when I took all the contexts of the word in the Greek NT, I noticed Paul went to a LOT of trouble to enlarge the concept in Ephesians 2. The phrase that GOT me was "not of ourselves" - which sort of cancels my hour of work - even if I got ten million dollars for it. BUT - even that didn't settle it for me - I had to note the context into verse 10 which contends "FOR - we are His workmanship" - and that slayed the dragon - "workmanship" comes from the Greek word we use for POEM - meaning "the creative result of a mind" - telling me that GOD works ON US as HIS project - and projects by nature do NOT work on themselves at all.

So - Paul was teaching a concept which took ME out of the equation - and put all effort on GOD. Well - luckily I had been translating Romans at the time and had just dealt with the idea in Romans 6 of "can we continue to sin as a lifestyle - in order to increase Grace?" Paul's response was "Don't you realize that you DIED?"

So - that new lifestyle was NOT a self-effort lifestyle at all. I was NOW under God's control, and Paul expected people to realize that their new CHOICES needed to harmonize with a realization of who we now are and how that lifestyle unfolds. It was a Grace salvation; it is also a Grace lifestyle. Since we still MAKE CHOICES - we need to ALLOW God to be in us to will and to work (Philippians 2:13)but notice the focus - GOD.

The secret I allowed to happen at that point was to thank Abba that even though I didn't always realize it, HE was running my life and guaranteeing my outcome of it - both for salvation and for my continuing life. My part is to trust Him - harmonizing with the principle from the beginning of time - especially focused for us in Abraham.

Like any baby, I don't know much when I am born or born again. BUT - I did decide to trust God - and that template is efficient in all Biblical history. It was what Adam and Eve should have done in Eden. It is what Cain should have done and his failure to do so caused murder. It is simply "dying" to our own self-focus AND allowing God to be GOD. Paul calls that "from Faith to Faith" Romans 1. It is at the center of the Grace concept - and as Paul and Peter agree - GRACE is the thing on which WE stand. Amazing - that idea - makes Grace very central to life and security - more to come