All is Vanity...Except the Grace of God
We had a fantastic discussion Sunday morning (March 27) over what the apostle Paul means when he writes, “Working together with him (God), then, we appeal to you (the Church) not to receive the grace of God in vain (2 Cor. 6:1).” We talked at length about what the grace of God was and what it might look like in our age to receive this grace in vain.
Some excellent examples were given by those present about what it might look like in our age to “receive the grace of God in vain.” One was that a self-professed Christian might think that the only important thing is knowing that Jesus loves her and that all the other stuff is irrelevant and unimportant. Knowing what baptism is and why we do it is meaningless. Knowing what our Lord’s Supper is, who should participate, and how often one should come is immaterial. Understanding why we gather together, in-person, on Sundays adds no value. That was a great example. The Ten Commandments, as you know, are becoming increasingly burdensome to our "freedom to chose me."
Another example given, related to the first, was that the person is a Christian on Sunday, and the rest of the week lives like a pagan. Maybe to expand that, the person is a Christian when suffering hits, but when in the comfortable and routine, they worship the idol in front of them.
So often in our lives we forget whose we are. We forget that our Father in heaven, our Maker, has shown us his great love toward us, “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Indeed, this love the Father has lavished upon us in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of his beloved Son, Jesus, works for us the salvation we needed so desperately. It is true, in Christ you are a new creation. The grace of God has made you what you are, a precious child of God.
That is a big deal! When we receive this good news in vain, as if it were meaningless, it is time to confess that sin, to expose to the light the darkness within. To let your wounds be shown, so that through suffering Jesus, they can be healed.
The faith you have been given by the Word and the Spirit of God is not a small thing. It is the greatest of gifts and makes you the richest and most free of all. But your own flesh and the devil himself, are working overtime to oppose the grace of God and the good news of Jesus. They are in constant warfare against the new heart God has put within you, against the Spirit that dwells within you.
Be aware of the affections within your hearts (2 Cor. 6:12), they will betray you. They lead only to death and hell.
So, why am I bringing this up here? It is to share with you something about the faith in our time.
Last week, The Federalist, a great place to find commentary on culture, religion, and politics, published two short articles about faith in America. One comments briefly on a new poll released on the state of faith today and the results are as bad as you expect. The other is on why we might be in this situation. They are both worth reading. They show, at least in part, the fruit that is born from receiving the grace of God in vain and following the affections of your heart, doing what is right in your own eyes.
God bless and keep you in the one true faith