Monday, July 20, 2009

67 - Grace Pilgrimage - 5

Peter wrote to his readers that we "Stand in Grace" 1 Peter 5:12 - in fact he commanded them to "Stand fast in it" which agrees with Paul's teaching in Romans 5 about the "Grace in which we NOW STAND".

Real frankly, the concept of standing in grace was not part of my study and life for much of my 66 years. Well over half of it I believed in the DOCTRINE of Grace - but, mostly I was warned to not emphasize grace at all. I can now see that GRACE has caused all kinds of problems throughout the history of dealing with God. MANY of the early church problems either misunderstood grace or actually ignored grace.

My pilgrimage in this regard has already been mentioned briefly, but one HUGE step came along in my deeper study of Galatians - especially chapter 3. It has to do with the early church's problem with law as a concept of Salvation. When we try to translate any section or book, we WRESTLE with each phrase and all possible thoughts relating to it. We simply need more of that - to get an overall Gestalt of big ideas which cannot be limited to a terse definition of two words. Words like faith, agape, grace, guarantee - need a conceptual construct to express the idea. ADD to that - MANY of the ideas of the NT are controlled by THAT context and have quite a different meaning from simple dictionary definitions. So - we need to "kick the thoughts we have around with friends" and get the concept.

Paul taught in Galatians 3:21ff. that no law can ever make us alive. FAITH in JESUS makes us alive, Paul teaches. Well - then we need to study that and allow plain Scripture to speak to us the whole truth. "IN Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith" Galatians 3:26.

That short sentence includes several concepts which only make sense to those who understand God's meaning put on the words. In Christ Jesus - made perfect sense to Hebrews and others of the day - but we don't operate that way nearly so much. That puts JESUS as the covenant Representative - and His victory becomes the victory of those HE represents. So - His victory in death and resurrection becomes ours by faith in Him - and identification with Him (not really necessary except we have the freedom to NOT choose to accept His work on our behalf) puts us in a position to receive everything HE accomplished - even to the point of being JOINT HEIRS with Christ. (Romans 8:17). Once we understand their structure and meaning, we can REALLY rejoice in what is ours because we know our inheritance is as sure as Jesus' inheritance - so it is a LOCK. That's why Paul could refer to the concept as a GUARANTEE - Romans 4:16.

That changed my life - and can change anyone's life who allows the TRUTH to be received and experienced. Ever wonder why "Rejoice always" is a command - not just to be believed but experienced? Because - when we DO KNOW the truth - and ARE SET FREE - we will rejoice with JOY UNSPEAKABLE . . .more to come

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