Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at grace, particularly the concept of finding the grace to come back home. These conversations began after my pastor, Larry Scott, led a sermon series on this very subject. As I’ve mentioned before, the outline points are taken from his sermon, but I’m adding some details and insights I feel the Lord has given me to share. I pray this has been an encouragement for all of us. Click to find The Grace to Come Back Home, Part 1 and The Grace to Come Back Home, Part 2.
Here’s Part 3 of Grace to Come Back Home: There is No Condemnation for Those Who Belong to Christ
Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to come back home to the Father. Disappointment, confusion, and/or despair are often reasons for the separation, but they don’t have to continue to keep us separated from Him.
We must remember there can be consequences for leaving God behind: We lose fellowship with the Father and the Body, we lose rewards and joy. Those losses are clear and evident, but do we realize we can cause others to lose as well? When we fall away, we lose our effectiveness as His children, possibly becoming a stumbling block in their own walk with God.
But regardless of how far we fall away, we can be confident in the fact that God’s door will always be open. As Pastor Larry said, God will never reject His children when they come back to Him. Here are some of the reasons. (There are many verses to support these points. I only include a very few.)
1.Ā Grace is unconditional.
Because of the Lordās great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:22 (NIV)
2.Ā Salvation is not based on performance.
…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…. Titus 3:5 (NIV)
3.Ā Jesus already took the punishment for our sin. Punishment is retribution for the past; discipline is training for the future.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 (NIV)
4.Ā Jesus understands our weakness. He’s not waiting to zap us.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we areāyet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)
5.Ā He doesn’t hold on to grudges. This truth is beautifully demonstrated in Peter’s life. After Peter had so blatantly denied Jesus three times, Jesus’ response to Peter after His resurrection was one of love and forgiveness.
After His resurrection, Jesus reinstated and encouraged Peter in John 21:15-19 by asking him three times, “Peter, do you love me?” In each incidence, Peter replied that yes, he loved Jesus. Jesus’ three responses were: “Feed my lambs.” “Take care of my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.” In other words, Jesus was giving Peter the encouragement he needed to step out in faith again. And as the book of Acts clearly shows us, Peter–the same one who denied Jesus three times–boldly goes forth to preach powerful messages of conviction, forgiveness, and grace through the blood of Jesus Christ.
We started this series with Peter and we end it with him. Peter is you, and he is me. Although he loved the Lord, Peter, a disciple and one of the most intimate of Christ’s friends, not only fell out of fellowship with Jesus, but turned his back on him as well. But praise God, even when Peter was out of fellowship, his relationship with Christ wasn’t over.
And neither is ours. Broken fellowship does not mean broken relationship with Him. His grace never ends.
There have been times in my life when I’ve fallen far from God, but praise Him, I can never fall so far that I can’t find my way to come back home.
All we have to do is turn around, and He’ll be there. Arms outstretched, ready to receive me back into fellowship with Him.
I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,
Read entire post »