Tag Archives: Redemption

Weekly Favorite Links (July 2-8, 2015)

MacArthur

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If there is one thing that always surprises and never ceases to leave me utterly speechless and in streams of tears, it is grace.

I have been the recipient of so much undeserved grace lately.

I am amazed at how loved I am by those around me. I suppose I’ve always had this internal struggle that I needed to earn that love and so throughout my life, I sought to please. But grace is something that I cannot earn, which makes it so much more precious when it’s given. God has placed people in my life that have seen me at my worst and ugliest moments. Instead of judging me and telling me that I’m a disappointment or that I should’ve known better than to fall into certain sins, their eyes have only grown more tender and compassionate when all is laid bare.

Most importantly, they have readily forgiven me when oftentimes I struggled to forgive myself. When I am feeling overwhelmed with shame and guilt, they have patiently pointed me to Scripture to help me train my thoughts to find comfort in what is true. Not only have they embraced me in spite of my failures, they have firmly reminded me of the grace that is found at the foot of the cross. By no means do they condone my mistakes. But they have demonstrated what it means to love in hard times and to bear one another’s burdens because we all fall short. Instead of allowing me to run away from my trials, these brothers and sisters of mine have cheered for me to press on and to finish well.

I am so thankful for these individuals.

But you know what’s even crazier? These dear friends of mine are testaments of God’s faithfulness and work in their lives. More than their love for me is the mysterious love that my Savior and Lord displayed on the cross. In order so that I could be freed from the bondage of sin, He who knew no sin became sin in my place and bore my weaknesses. In this life, I will never be able to understand why Christ would die for someone like me. I will never be worthy of God’s love, of His Son’s sacrificial death on my behalf. However, if it was not for the grace of God, if Christ did not bear my guilt and shame, I would still be in chains today.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 

Romans 8:1-11

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Weekly Favorite Links (June 5-10, 2015)

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Some friends and I recently went to The California Science Center to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition. I mentioned in this post a couple months ago that I was excited to see it (and sadly, no, I did not watch Jerusalem 3D narrated by my favorite Cumberbatch). While I looked forward to behold the Dead Sea Scrolls in person, I also wondered what else would be on exhibit.

I think one of the most memorable artifacts that stood out to me, perhaps more than the manuscripts themselves, were the household fertility gods that I saw. They were small figurines, probably made out of clay and were no bigger than the size of my hand. These little man-made idols made a lasting impression because it’s relevant to what I’ve been reading in the Bible. For the past month, I’ve been studying the book of Hosea with some friends. We’ve been reading about how Israel has been unfaithful to God, and how they turned to other idols for help. Their hearts did not love God, and they engaged in practices that were in outright rebellion against him.

My favorite verse so far comes from Hosea 6:6: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” I believe that this is the central theme of the entire book. God desires his people to worship and love him only. Even when God charges Israel and Judah with a list of grievances, prophesies judgment against them, you still read about how God wants to redeem them from their adulterous ways. It was easy for me to laugh at how ridiculous those small clay idols were at the exhibit. How could the Israelites place their hope in fertility gods and follow other deities worshiped by neighboring nations when they’ve seen of the marvelous handiwork of God himself? How could they forget about how God rescued them from Egypt and how he brought the seemingly impossible walls of Jericho to come tumbling down? It seemed absolutely ludicrous.

But then I look at my own life. I may not have physical idols scattered in my home, but I have idols hidden in my heart that I worship apart from God. I worship things that are just as ridiculous and silly as those fertility gods that I saw. The only difference is that the idols we may worship today may be more ambiguous and subtle. We may not bow down and pray to those things, but those idols emerge in our conversations and are evident from how we spend our money to how we utilize our time.

I’m thankful that I left the exhibition with more than a glimpse of historical artifacts. While the Dead Sea Scrolls were cool and I’d go see them again, I went away humbled at the daily grace that I’ve been given and a reminder of just how undeserved I am of God’s patience and love when I’m constantly so disobedient. Amazing grace, indeed.

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