Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Striving to be perfect? Under Bondage? It's All About Grace!

A friend wrote to me today, struggling with some issues at her church. She attends a good church. She does all of the "right things", she tells me, yet writes:

"So, why do I FEEL so bound? Why do I struggle so much to be perfect? I continually try to understand the"law and grace" issues in scripture. Recently, I have felt the burden so much that I was led to read andread and read scripture. I came away saying, we areunder GRACE! We are set free from the LAW! Praise be to God! I FELT so free and happy! I knew what Jesus meant when He said that His yoke is EASY. I didn't want to go out and sin. I wanted to honor the Lord with obedience and to serve Him all my life!"

This was my response to her:

It's all about grace, my friend. Anyone who says anything else is missing the boat, and ought to be pitied or taught. It really is all about grace.

Not only are we saved by grace, but we live by grace every single day. Remember, all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (like menstrual cloths). Let that sink in for a minute. All (*ALL!*) of our *righteousnesses* - the good things we do, even the great things we do - are as filthy rags. There is nothing we can do to impress the Lord of glory. There is nothing we can do to earn more of His favour. He knows our frame. He knows we are weak, that we are sinners.

What hope is there then? Grace! He reached down and plucked us from the miry clay, where we were stuck, unable to move, not even wanting to get out of the mess. We LIKED it in there. Yet God, by His grace, sent His Son, His one and only Son, to die in our place, when we were fully deserving of death and punishment. He rescued us from the pit.

Not only that, but He saved us to accomplish good works. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 Now think about that. He knows our frame, that we are weak, that we fail continually, that apart from Him we can do nothing, yet He still graciously and kindly gives us things to do for Him.

We won't do them well. If we do them to the best of our ability, and we happen to be the best at that task or talent in the whole world, we still won't do them to His standards...we never can measure up. Even if we begin to be close to what Jesus can do (Ha! - impossible) the problem is that we will fail because we will begin to be proud of our accomplishments. (God hates pride!) We are undone.

THAT'S WHY we have to rely on grace. When we begin to understand the grace of God, we see that every good and perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Our Heavenly Father never changes. He loves you, He loves me, He chose us from before the foundation of the world, fully knowing that we would be the worst of sinners, but graciously giving us life and health and tasks to do and people to love.

You need to get and read Jerry Bridges' book, Transforming Grace.


Here is the blurb from the page above:


Funny how the exceeding riches of God's grace seem to run out the moment we're saved. From then on, we tend to base our relationship with Him on our performance rather than on His grace.

Of course, God continues to deal with us on the basis of His grace, whether or not we understand it. It's just that when we don't, we forgo the abundant freedoms that come from not having to measure up.

The product of over 10 years of Bible study, Transforming Grace is a fountainhead of inspiration and renewal that will show you just how inexhaustible and generous God's grace really is—you'll never be able to ask for too much, need too much, hope for too much, or even sin too much. Like a never-ending stream of ocean waves crashing on the shore, His grace "superabounds" toward you without measure.

It's only $10.99 at the following website:


Don't let the legalists around you put you into a box. Don't let them dictate to you how you should live. Go to Jesus, read His word, seek His face, and worship Him only. He is the one Who loves you! He is the one who leads you day by day, step by step.

I think you may be misunderstanding your elder when he said:

... when we are saved we are given the ability to keep the law. That we are not UNDER the law in that we are not condemned by it but we are still to study the law and obey it.

At least I hope he wasn't putting you back under the law. Romans makes it clear that we cannot fulfil the law. We are saved by grace through faith. It is a gift.

So, yes, we are to love the law (because God wrote it) and to seek to follow the principles therein, but we are not bound by it, in that we are never condemned by not keeping the law. The law was put there to teach us that we cannot follow it. If we try to keep it, we will find that it is impossible. It is there to show us that we are sinners in need of salvation - and that is EXACTLY what God provided for us.

The Christian life should be a life of praise. We should strive to do right, knowing we will fail, and when we fail, we just run to our Father and confess it, knowing that He already knows and stands ready to forgive. Every single sin we have ever committed or ever will commit was put on (imputed to) Christ, and was paid for on that cross, by that shed blood. What marvelous grace! So, we don't have to fear, we don't have to feel like a failure...we just view ourselves as blessed Children of the Most High God. We praise Him continually -- when we do well, or when we don't. When we do well, we praise Him for His enabling grace, because apart from Him we can do nothing. When we fail, and sin, we praise Him for His grace, because when we confess our sins He is gracious and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. When we do well, we confess that it is only by His grace, and if we see a bit of pride creeping in, we agree with God that it is wicked because it is not acknowledging the truth that without Him, we can do nothing. That leads us to see afresh the marvellous grace poured out on our lives!

Galatians 5:1 1 ¶ Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Don't let anyone, whether at your church or on an email group, take away your freedom in Christ. Don't be tangled up again under that terrible yoke!

In Christ,

Thursday, January 06, 2005


I spent the entire day organizing my desk. Now for a woman to spend that many hours organizing one little desk, said desk has got to be a dreadful mess.

I have to admit it was terrible. There were papers and books and cards and letters and bills and a calculator and pens and vocabulary cards and so on and so forth - clutter and mess. Sigh.

It is always my intention to be organized, to be consistent in decluttering and filing. However, I get busy and the next thing I know, there is a pile here and a boxful there. Part of my problem is that I like to KEEP things, just in case. I also am a lover of books, and can never bear to part with any of them. I tend to buy books at garage sales or secondhand book stores, and of course at conferences or special events. Most of my books are in good order on my very organized shelves(thanks to Linda!), but my desk often becomes a place to pile books I intend to read for my own pleasure or edification, as well as books I plan to read to the kids, or have them read.

I have been praying as I have organized my house, top to bottom. God does hear and answer prayer, often in unexpected ways. Matt and Joanna, for instance, spent the day after New Years' Day cleaning and organizing my living room. They got rid of the tree and all of the decorations, threw out junk, and rearranged the furniture. It looks terrific!

Then my dear friend Darlene sent some dressers she no longer had room for. They came exactly at the right time. I put them in my classroom and used them for storage. Two of the drawers hold hanging file folders - perfect! One thin drawer has all of my maps and posters. I used the top drawer for confiscated items (it is full of lego at the moment), and I have yet to fill two other drawers!

God is so good and so gracious. I looked at the disaster that I called a classroom at the beginning of the week, and I despaired, feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work that lay before me. But as we sorted and moved and cleaned and dusted and filed, my spirits have lifted and I really can visualize how great it will be to have the entire room in order. Our schedule will be far more easy to follow if we don't have to stop to look for that Latin book, or that set of math cards, or pencils and pens.

Now if I could only figure out how to post a picture, I'd show you what it looks like. But for now, I just am rejoicing as I sit at my CLEAN desk, and I am energized to finish up the last few things to get the rest of it done! YEAH!


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Strange Choice

Dr. Henry Morgentaler was being interviewed on Canada AM this morning, regarding a movie, "Choice", that will be aired this evening, praising the virtue of this man who almost singlehandedly fought for abortion rights in Canada.

When he was asked what he thought of the movie, he tried defending his character by saying that he was disappointed that it didn’t show more of his personal life, because he believes that he is a good and gentle man. He mentioned that he is proud of his work, because he believes access to abortion is simply a matter of justice.

Then he said, "Crimes of violence have certainly decreased since the right to abortion in this country."

I stood, watching the television with my mouth open in disbelief. "Crimes of violence have DECREASED?" Pardon me?

It *may* be true (and I am not sure that it is) that a man is less likely to hit a woman if she is no longer carrying his unwanted baby, but (NEWS FLASH!!) crimes of violence happen every single time a baby is torn from his mother’s womb. I’d say that it is violent to cut off a limb, to crush a skull, to fill one’s environment with saline solution and burn one’s lungs out...these actions are violent beyond belief, and if done to an adult, or a child already fortunate enough to reside OUT of the womb rather than in it, then the so called "caregivers" would be prosecuted with the full extent of the law.

Morgentaler must be schizophrenic - he certainly thinks in a double-minded manner.
"I am a gentle man." Yet he has killed many thousands of babies. Our world is reeling at the devastation caused by the tsunami. People are saddened and moved to give generously, to pray, to even go to the stricken areas and serve -- yet far more babies have been destroyed through violently ripping them from their own mothers' wombs.

"I am proud of my work." What on earth is there to be proud of? He has enabled selfish women to live self-centredly rather than giving themselves selflessly to another person. Because of his work, there are abortion centres across our country, and hundreds of babies are killed every day. He ought to be ashamed of his work.

I do pray that the Lord will open the eyes of Canadian women to see that this man is not a gentle, kind, "saviour" who has enabled them to have "choice" to live their lives more easily. I pray that they will see that he is delusional, that he is no different from those who tortured prisoners during the holocaust, and that he should be filled with shame.

In Christ,