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God’s Heart for Israel

God’s Heart for Israel

I’m continuing my study through the book of Romans. In my last post, we saw that by opening salvation to the Gentiles, God was hoping to provoke a spiritual jealousy in Israel. Paul now summarizes how this happened.

And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Romans 10:20-21

This is how God is working His plan. He started by revealing Himself to those not seeking Him. Then, through the faith of the Gentiles, He’s trying to get Israel interested in following Him. Because of this, it turns out that the Gentiles profited by Israel’s rejection of God’s love.

As I started saying in my last post, the Gentile church started rejecting God’s plan in many instances. They started pushing Israel further away. Many taught that Israel was totally rejected by God.

Listen as Paul speaks to this issue.

I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

Romans 11:1

Paul asks the question; did God cast away His people? The answer – Absolutely not! Paul uses himself as proof that God is still in the business of calling the Jewish people to Himself.

Paul now takes us to the important issues in God’s dealings with Israel.

God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah — how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

Romans 11:2-4

The key words in this passage is that God did not reject His people whom He foreknew. God, in His infinite knowledge, knows beforehand who will turn to Him in faith. There are many of the Jewish people who will look to their Messiah in faith, trusting Him for their salvation.

Paul uses the example of Elijah to make his point. This Old Testament prophet interceded with God against Israel. This occurred right after his victory on Mt. Carmel. His life was threatened by the queen, Jezebel, and he went off and had a pity party.

You can read it in detail in 1 Kings 19:9-14. Even with a revelation of God, Elijah had a one-track mind.

“It’s all their fault. Just be done with them. Destroy them all.”

God’s answer to Elijah is very important. He told the prophet that there were still 7000 people who were faithful to God. The Lord still had a remnant.

Where were they? They obviously weren’t very bold in their service to God. Why weren’t they supporting Elijah while he faced the prophets of Baal single-handedly?

But, that’s not the point. There’s always a front line in this spiritual battle. The fact is that Elijah was not alone in his service to God.

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Romans 11:5-6

For Paul, this is an example of God’s mercy in the present time. There’s a remnant selected by grace and foreknown by the Lord. That’s why as believers, it should be part of our prayers that Israel should turn back to God wholeheartedly as a nation.

Question: What is your prayer for Israel like?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2021 in Faith, Israel, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Over-Victors

Over-Victors

I’m continuing my study through the book of Romans. We’ve been looking at Paul’s questions at the end of chapter 8.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Romans 8:35-36

This is a great question. Every believer needs to remember both the question, and Paul’s answer. It will help us to face the toughest times in our faith journey.

He asks if there’s anything or anyone who could place a separation between us and Christ. The word trouble, in this verse, is a Greek word that means pressure. That’s something we all have to deal with.

We may not like it when we find ourselves under pressure. But, it’s one of those things that we’re told to rejoice over throughout Scripture (John 16:33; Romans 5:3).

The word hardship, on the other hand, means to be in a narrow confining space. There are times we feel like we’re in a rut with no way out. Even in those times, God’s love is reigning over us. Paul actually says that he enjoys those times because when he’s weak, God shows His strength (2 Corinthians 12:10).

The apostle goes on to list other things we may face such as persecution, hunger, poor clothes, danger or fighting. In all of these things, none of them will put space between us and God’s love. We are the only ones who, by our own foolishness, can distance ourselves from the Lord.

Paul goes on to quote Psalm 44. It basically is asking God, “Why have you forsaken us? Our enemies are trampling us.” So, Paul is asking if that’s what serving God is all about. I like his answer.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

The short answer is NO!!!! We’re not meant to be a bunch of doormats for the enemy and the world to walk over. He literally says that we are over-victors.

It goes beyond just a victory. Not just a 6 to 5 win. It’s more like a 1500 to 5 blowout. If it were boxing, it would not be just winning by points but a first round knockout. There’s no need for a recount.

We’ve been given victory over all of the things listed previously…AND MORE!!! Not life or death. Not even the principalities of the enemy’s kingdom.

He also includes many of the things we worry about on a daily basis. The present things that are happening to me right now. But also, the future events that I don’t even know about yet. The Lord has them all taken care of already.

There may be high things, like walls or barriers, that I don’t think I can get through. Or, there might be deep mysteries beyond my limited understanding. The bottom line is that there is no thing, creature, or organization that can keep God’s love and grace from reaching me.

That’s the joy of being an over-victor. It’s all manifest by our intimate times spent with the Holy Spirit.

Question: What are some areas of victory that you’ve experienced lately?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Paul’s Questions

Paul’s Questions

In my last post, I talked about our response to God’s ongoing work in our lives. His desire is to show His glory through us.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:31-32

This verse literally tells us that God was not greedy about His own Son. He didn’t hold back His very best, but gave all for us. That’s why the Lord can call us to live on that same level.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

2 Corinthians 9:6

The words, spare in Romans, and sparingly in the next verse are the same word in Greek. Why do you think this is? It’s because greed goes against the very nature of God.

Along with Christ, God will grace us with all things. What kind of things? Everything that He’s promised.

You’ve probably noticed by now that Paul has been asking a series of leading questions in this section of Romans. It’s important that we understand the significance of each one.

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

Romans 8:33

This one literally asks; who will demand a debt-payment from God’s chosen ones? The first thing we need to realize is that this verse is not talking about everyone. It only refers to those who are chosen.

I know that there are many believers who are under the notion that every verse in the Bible is talking about them. That’s simply not the case. This verse is about the chosen.

The Bible is clear that many are called, but few are chosen. We’re all called, but few respond obediently to their callings. This verse is about the obedient. Jesus talked about this group.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”

Luke 18:7-8

This verse says that God’s chosen ones cry out to Him day and night. I believe that this can only be done by the spirit? Paul asks; who will demand payment from these people? That depends upon who is owed anything.

It’s God that we’ve sinned against. The God who justifies us is the only one who can legally demand payment. Praise God! In that case, I’m not afraid of the debt. It’s already been paid by Christ Jesus. It gets even better.

Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Romans 8:34

There is only one person in all the universe who is legally able to pass sentence on us. The Anointed One, Jesus Christ, who died. The same Anointed One who rose again. The same Anointed One who’s making intercession for us at this very moment.

The definition of intercession is meeting with for consultation toward a goal. The Lord is conferring over us to perfect us.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Hebrews 7:25

His goal is to completely save us. As it turns out, He’s the only one who can pass sentence. I’m not afraid of that either.

Question: What’s your attitude toward the future, based on these verses?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Infancy

Spiritual Infancy

In my last post we were talking about the difference between spiritual laws and physical laws. Today I want to review a little bit, so we can see the progression through the book of Romans.

Here’s the verse we left off on.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

Romans 7:14

Remember how Paul brought us to this point. In his letter, he started by talking about ungodly sinners with no knowledge of God. He also talked about those who were actively anti-God.

His next subject was religious people. These are the ones who think rules will get you to God.

He then shared about the principles of salvation. He explained how Christ set us free from death, sin, and the law.

At that point, everything he talked about was theoretical and positional. It was all about the finished work of Christ that He accomplished through His death on the cross and His resurrection.

But now, we’re getting to the important part. How is all of this applied to my life in practice?

Paul starts by talking about how we can offer ourselves as a paid volunteers of sin. We saw that when you offer to work for sin, sin will pay you wages.

In any job you’re selling yourself to the company for your paycheck. We basically say, “I’m yours, I’ll do what you tell me for a price.”

Actually, this wasn’t the normal lifestyle until the industrial age. Until then, most people worked for themselves.

So, we’re now at the point in Romans where Paul is talking about Christians who are working for sin. There’s a Scriptural word for that.

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

The word translated as worldly in this verse is actually the word, carnal or fleshly. It means that they serve God according to the dictates of their flesh.

The apostle equates this with being a spiritual infant. This tells me that every Christian goes through the carnal phase. But the real question is; for how long? The goal should be to get through this infancy as quickly as possible.

We need to understand that this is who he’s talking about at this point in Romans – infant Christians.

And that brings us to, probably, one of the most misunderstood and most misquoted passages of the New Testament. It’s used as excuse for all kinds of sinful lifestyles.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Romans 7:15-20

Christians who want to stay in their infant stage pull this out of context and say, “Look at this! Even Paul didn’t do right. So don’t judge me.”

What they don’t understand is that Paul was talking from the perspective of an infant Christian. This is not supposed to be the normal Christian life.

In my next post, we’ll begin looking at this section of Scripture in great detail. We’ll see exactly what Paul was trying to get across to us.

Question: How have you seen your Christian walk progress through the infant stage?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Producing Fruit

Producing Fruit

In my last post, we started looking at Paul’s example of the marriage. He was using it to explain how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and the world.

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:4

This is the verse that we ended with. However, we hadn’t talked about the second half of the verse.

Paul makes it clear that we’ve been set free for a purpose. Now we can be fruitful toward God. Remember, this is in the context of using marriage as the example.

When we’re speaking about marriage, being fruitful is equivalent to having children. Gently put, it’s the seed of the man delivered into the life of the woman. This is another common illustration of Scripture.

Think about what Christ taught in His parable of the sower and the seed.

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Matthew 13:23

Jesus was talking about a person who is receiving the seed of God’s Word. In terms of our discussion, I would say that the good soil is a life that’s lost connection with sin, the law, and the world.

This is in agreement with other verses we’ve been given.

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.

Colossians 1:6b

The Good News is the Word of God. Does it immediately bear fruit when you receive it? No, you must receive it and understand God’s grace working through it.

Think about it. Sometimes a group of believers are all attending the same church. They all hear same good news – the Word of God. Yet, in spite of this, only some bear fruit. That’s because they’re missing the grace ingredient.

That brings us to an obvious question; what’s the fruit? Jesus talked about it with His disciples.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:7-8

For every fruit in the natural, there’s a supernatural expression. Jesus had the ability to either provide money from His purse or the mouth of a fish. He made it clear that He could either buy a meal for 5000 people or break fish and bread to feed them all.

The fact is, as long as we’re content to serve in the natural, we have no need of intimacy with Christ. If we want to see the supernatural work of God through us, that will require the Word of God and His grace in us producing fruit.

That’s the real question. Do I want the glory; or do I want God to receive glory through my life? For God to be praised, I must allow His Word to work through me. I must develop intimacy with the Lord through His Holy Spirit.

Question: What does it take to allow God’s Word to produce fruit in us?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Baptism and Faith

Baptism and Faith

In my last post, we looked at the sin package. Remember. It’s not just evil, but any departure from God’s best. Now we’ll see how we handle sin as we live in Christ.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Romans 6:1-3

At the end of chapter 5, Paul wrote that when sin increases, grace increases even more. That could lead to a false conclusion. The apostle brings this argument to light.

If grace increases to cover my sin, then I can continue in sin to get more grace. That’s what some would get from this verse.

As a matter of fact, this is the fear that some have about preaching a message of grace. Some teachers think that if they talk too much about God’s grace then people will use it as a doormat. Play all day in the mud of worldliness and wipe your feet off on God’s grace.

Paul makes it clear, that’s not the purpose of grace. The goal is to live free from sin. Sin is part of the death package, and death is the enemy.

Paul gives us a great truth – in Christ we’ve died to sin. In the waters of baptism we’ve identified ourselves with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord. So, we shouldn’t want to live according to our old life.

But, by the very question he asks, he implies that it’s possible to live in sin even though we died to it. How can we get the victory over this sin?

It all starts with our water baptism. This is where we identify with Christ. This is where we begin the process of removing the old man. Peter agrees with Paul’s assessment.

…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…
1 Peter 3:21

The word pledge in the above verse means the asking, desire or demand. When we allow ourselves to be baptized in water, we’re placing a demand on God for a good conscience.

Because we desire to live rightly before Him, we take this step. It’s how we start down the road to remove the old sin nature.

It’s unfortunate, but there are many believers who look at baptism as purely a tradition of the church. They think that if you want to join the church, then you need to be baptized in water.

Paul explains it.

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Romans 6:3

The original Greek of this verse is very interesting. Paul says that all of us who were immersed into Christ Jesus were immersed into His death. That sounds like a spiritual work to me. As we continue through this chapter, we’ll see that baptism is a spiritual work of God that we need to attach our faith to.

Question: Were you baptized in water? How was your faith released during your water baptism?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Sin is Not Your Friend

Sin is Not Your Friend

As we continue our look at the book of Romans, we’re now beginning chapter 6. Here Paul starts to show us what Christ has done for us in regard to our sin nature.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Romans 6:1-3

Before we go further in this section, we need a basic understanding of just what sin is. Many have the idea that the words sin and evil are synonymous. That’s simply not the case.

The fact is, you can sin without doing anything considered evil. Let me explain.

The word, sin, in both the Old and the New Testaments is actually a word that means to miss the mark. You were aiming for a certain target, but you failed to hit it.

What we have to realize is that in life there are hundreds of things that fall into this category. Many of them have nothing to do with evil.

By not understanding the nature of what sin is, many have missed out on the blessings that Christ has purchased for them. The fact is that sin is a package deal. When Adam chose to sin, he embraced a package of “missing the mark.”

He chose the way of imperfection. Unfortunately, now that imperfection is passed down throughout all generations since then. We miss God’s best by not understanding what’s included in the sin package.

Anything that misses God’s perfect will for humanity is a part of the sin package. A good rule of thumb to know if it’s in the package, is to ask; was Adam originally created for it?

For instance, a number of years ago I did a series of posts titled Healing 101. In it I talked about God’s provision of healing for His people. One of the important points was the fact that sickness was a part of the package we call the sin nature.

Adam was not created to ever experience sickness. When he embraced the sin package, sickness entered our world. Sickness misses the mark of the health we were created to enjoy. To read this teaching click here.

Another thing Adam was not created for was poverty. God’s will was for Adam to live with his needs perfectly met. When I get the idea that poverty is somehow a virtue, then I’m getting friendly with sin.

Usually we don’t have a problem identifying the evil aspects of sin. It’s the other areas like sickness, poverty, depression, loneliness, etc., that we fail to recognize as missing the mark of God’s perfect will.

I realize that in context Paul is talking about evil sin. But because the Holy Spirit used the generic word, sin, in this verse it can apply to all the forms it takes, not just evil. This verse tells me not to get comfortable with it even though God can give me the grace to cope with it.

I’ve talked to some people with medical conditions who said that they’d decided not to seek God for their healing. They said that God was giving them the grace to work for Him in spite of their sickness.

Paul is saying here, “Shall we continue in sickness so that grace may increase? By no means!” We shouldn’t get comfortable with our sickness even though the Lord’s helping us cope with it.

We can’t get comfortable missing the mark of God’s best, whether it’s evil or not. Sin is not your friend. Attack it with everything God has given you.

Question: Can you think of some other forms of sin that aren’t necessarily evil?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2021 in God's Provision, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Grace is Life

Grace is Life

We’ve been looking at Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In my last post, we talked about the battle between life and death.

Paul obviously understood the importance of this principle. He continues to talk about it in the next few verses..

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

Romans 5:18-19

Because of Adam’s sin, everyone is now under the same guilty verdict. Because of that, we deserve the death sentence.

However, because of the work of Christ on the cross, that sentence has been nullified. According to this verse, we now have been given access into a not guilty life through Christ.

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:19

Paul finds another way to tell us the great things that God has done. Adam caused us all to become sinners. But, by the love of the Lord, His sacrifice has now made us righteous in God’s eyes.

These are wonderful truths that we need to be meditating on. Don’t let the enemy lie to you. Never convince yourself that you’re unworthy of God’s love. Jesus Christ has made you worthy. You can be clothed in His righteousness.

The law was added so that the trespass might increase.

Romans 5:20a

As we continue along this line, we see where the villain of the story comes in. Remember, it’s the law that empowers sin.

I like the way this verse reads in the original Greek. It tells us that the law sneaked in so that the sins would increase. The law is very stealthy. You would think that it’s trying to help you. But instead, it’s trying to trip you up.

In actuality, the law is the word of death that the devil stands upon. The law’s goal is to increase sin and the reign of death.

I’m grateful to God that this isn’t the end of the story.

But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20b-21

The truth is that where sin abounds, the grace of God super-abounds. Nothing can outperform our Lord. Sin, no matter how great, cannot outdo grace.

Christ won a great victory. So now, just like sin reigned in death, grace now reigns through righteousness, being focused on eternal life.

God’s grace is now carrying out the agenda of life. At the same time, sin is carrying out the agenda of death. It’s up to us to decide who’s reign we want to submit to.

Personally, I want to choose life. But the question becomes; how do I walk in this life that Christ has purchased for me? That’s a good question, and over the next couple of chapters in Romans, Paul deals with that very thing.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to this blog, take the opportunity now. You won’t want to miss this important teaching.

Question: How have you messed up in trying to follow the law?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Two Gifts

The Two Gifts

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. Paul has been explaining to us, the reign of death that has taken the earth because of Adam’s sin.

Now he wants us to understand what Christ has done to overcome this.

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

Romans 5:15-16

This is an amazing passage of Scripture. However, if we’re going to fully understand it, we need to know a little Greek.

The reason for this, is that there are two different Greek words for gift used in this section. They are charisma and dorema. While they both mean a gift or a present, they have slightly different uses.

The word, dorema, is a gift that I give you with no strings attached. It’s given free and clear. Charisma, on the other hand, is a gift that the giver retains the right to tell you how you’ll use it.

For example, if I give you a fifty dollar bill for your birthday, that’s a dorema. You can do whatever you want with it. If I give you a fifty dollar gift card to Starbucks, that a charisma, because you can only use it where I want you to use it.

Usually in Scripture, when someone gives an offering, it’s dorema because we’re giving with no strings attached. But, when talking about the gifts of God, it’s usually charisma because God is very clear how He wants us to operate in these giftings.

So, this passage is saying that the gift God gives (charisma) is not like what happened because of Adams sin. Now through Christ we can receive God’s grace. It also literally says that the gift (dorema) that overflows to many people is in the grace.

The way the original Greek puts it in the second half is that the one sin gave us the gift (dorema) of judgment. But now, after many sins have been done on the earth, Christ came, and through His obedience, brings us the gift (charisma) of spiritual life.

This is a wonderful truth. Death and judgment was given to the entire world through Adam. But now, as a result of the cross, we can receive everlasting life through the Lord Jesus Christ.

This opens the door to a whole new way for us to live.

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17

This is Good News! When I come to Christ I receive God’s grace and the gift (dorema) of righteousness with no strings attached. This gives me a new outlook on life.

Formerly death reigned over everything because of sin. Now, because I’m in Christ, I can reign in life. I don’t have to walk in fear of anything that’s happening around me. I can walk in the authority of Christ as I submit to Him.

Too many believers walk around with bad attitudes. You would think that serving God was the hardest thing they could ever imagine. Their faces usually reflect fear and frustration. That’s not how the Lord wants us to live.

We have to realize that Christ places us over all the situations in our lives. We may not know exactly how things will turn out, but we know that it will be for our best and for God’s glory. What more could we ask for?

Question: How have you experienced the grace of God at work in you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk

 

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Gifts and Wages

Gifts and Wages

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans.  Paul is using Abraham as an example of the faith that brings righteousness.

Paul explains…

Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.  However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

Romans 4:4-5

This is something that we need to come to grips with as believers.  We need to understand the difference between wages and gifts.

As Paul says, wages are obligations.  I do some sort of work and the person I do it for is obligated to pay me.  It’s a very simple concept.

However, the blessings of God, righteousness included, are not wages.  They’re gifts of God’s grace.

Wages are earned.  Before I even start, I know exactly how many hours I need to work to make $1000.  Then, if they don’t pay me, I can take legal action and demand my wages.

This is something that was very hard for me to learn.  I remember an incident that happened very early in my marriage.  I’ll try to shorten the story.

After we had been married a few years, the Lord called my wife and I to move from Boston, the area we grew up in, to Baltimore.  There was a ministry there that the Lord was using to train us.

While living down there, we experienced some financial hardships.  At one point, both our cars had broken down and we had no money to fix them.  We had to borrow a car that was not ours, just to get to work each day.

One Sunday, during that time, someone got up at church to give a praise report.  He explained how he had just learned about tithing a few weeks ago.  He then started to tithe 10% each week.

Since then, a few weeks, he had been amazingly blessed.  Someone gave him a car (he already had two).  Someone else decided to give him a huge sum of money.  He exclaimed, “See what tithing does.  Now I’m Faith Man!!”

You have to understand my thought process listening to him.  My parents had taught me to tithe when I was a teenager.  I had been tithing faithfully for my entire life since then.

When you look at the blessings of God as wages, life can get very frustrating.  I got mad at God.  “What gives?  He’s only been tithing a few weeks.  Where’s my blessing?”

I’ve since learned the mature view of God’s New Covenant grace.  The blessings of God are based upon a combination of faith, obedience, and the lessons God is currently teaching me.

Once we understand that the Lord purchased these gifts on the cross, it’s easier to receive them.  I don’t get mad and frustrated looking at what others are doing and receiving.  I can actually rejoice when other people are blessed, even if I need the same thing they just received.

David understood it.

David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

Romans 4:6-8

Righteousness is simply one of the many gifts that God has for His children.  I can’t work for it or earn it.  So, don’t frustrate yourself trying to be good enough.  Let the Holy Spirit do His work in you.

Question: How have you been frustrated trying to earn God’s gifts?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2020 in Encouragement, Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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