A Shameful Thing

It is a shameful thing for men to turn their backs to God. Men that call themselves after the name of the God Almighty ought to be careful regarding their calling. Once saved by the blood of Christ through faith does not mean always saved, although to have been saved gives the right to unceasing grace. Children of God must be in a position to own the grace that continually saves. Only those that have been once again enslaved to sin will take grace for granted or neglect it. Their sin nature is evident by the words, works and expressions they display. God does cover a multitude of sins of each one that believes in Him, but the sins of those that neglect His grace pile up against them. The children of God are saved by grace, no doubt, and this all the more reveals that not all who call themselves after the name of God are His sons. “Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, so that the LORD gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years” (Judg. 13:1).

Grace of God has a unique significance in the spiritual realm. It is the driving force that confirms the identity of God’s people. One might call himself after the name of God and unless he possesses the right to unceasing grace, he does not possess the identity. He who is with the unceasing grace does not turn his back to God, or he who turned his back to Him did not own His grace. After the death of Joshua there came a time when each one in Israel lived in his own way. There was no one leading them. The result was constant reverting to sin. This compelled God to punish them. But when Israel cried to the Lord in their suffering, He raised up judges to redeem them from the enemy. Still, they did not fully listen to the judges. Yet, in kindness He gave them peace through the judges; and as long as a judge lived they had peace. The number of times God brought up judges to restore Israel indicates how often they reverted to sin. When they persisted with stubbornness, God resolved to leave the enemy among them. Israel did not own the grace of God so as to witness His unceasing grace. The principal reason behind this was their inability to stand fast in faith toward God. It is faith in God, His commands and in His promises that unceasing grace is made available. God avails it as a right. The gain is remarkable in that the identity that comes through grace is sustained.

God punishes those who abuse His grace. When God sent Israel into captivity, it was because His people turned into the unbelieving. Remember Israel in the wilderness, a few days journey that turned into a forty year ordeal. The result of it was bringing forth a generation that did not rebel against God. These alone were called by God to enter the Promised Land. What a shame it is for God’s children to revert to unbelief! They lose the benefits of unceasing grace. Furthermore, after having tasted God’s goodness they ought not to turn against Him that the world in its sinful condition might not ridicule the almighty God. And, what is a man that has secured in him the unceasing grace of God? He is the blessed of God. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows” (Ps. 23:5).

Belief in God must remove in us the notion, even the faintest of notions that He is unneeded in every walk of our life. This is unblemished faith. It instills in us an undistracted devotion toward God. To have devoted to God consciously calls for His unceasing grace. Then, there are no boundaries to what God can accomplish in and through us. What Israel missed in those days is not any dissimilar to what many Christians are missing today. It is the experience of moving from grace to grace. When they cannot hold on to the grace that saved them, the grace that further reveals God’s might and blessings never takes its course. The oft they revert to sin, surer will be their demise. Surely, God in his pity will persist until a time in bringing them back. But, He will not relent forever when they habitually waste His grace. In order that we do not revert to sin the confession of the blessed should become the treasure in us. For it constantly rebuilds the hope that God works in and for us. It is the proof of God calling us. It is the evidence for our endless joy. This is the consequence of God’s unceasing grace. Note that only when God is at work in us that His grace is unceasing toward us.

Listen to the words of the wise man of God and consider conducting yourself before God in all faithfulness. “Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street” (Eccl. 12:5). The inevitable truth is we return to God and our people shall mourn our death. Yet, what will be our accomplishment in life after having obtained the knowledge of God? While the father speaks of the glory days, joy and fellowship with God, his son speaks of time that all men shall face. The life we now have will not be the same at the time of our departure. Our departing time is an indication to the end of a period as the almond trees signify; it is an indication that the end is very near even as the dragging grasshopper implies; it is an indication that we are no longer effective even as the caperberry. If we have not known God through His unceasing grace in this life, it profits us nothing. Though every spirit must return to God at the appointed time, know that they first returns to Him for judgment. Therefore, it is better to realize the God that created us while we are still able to stand on our feet and work with our own hands. He is the God who turns our reproach into blamelessness and makes us the blessed that we are not hopeless at the time of our departure. On the contrary, great disappointment remains to those who have lived their lives without having utilized their knowledge of God. They have not seen the cup that overflows.

It is for us to examine the capacity with which we intend to return to God. The God who created us without sin wishes that we return to Him in holiness. For this reason, what sin has robbed from man, God is willing to avail it through His unceasing grace. And Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24). Unceasing grace is availed to us only when we seek the way that God desired for us. Though this way seems difficult to travel or may appear unacceptable to us, to have devoted ourselves to the will of God by faith avails us the grace to walk through it. Hence, we are saved by grace and further move from grace to grace in order to demonstrate the glory of God. Many have considered the idea of striving to enter the narrow door as if Christ was seeking our efforts to enter God’s presence. They misread it; they will not be able to enter. On the contrary, it does mean that we utilize our faith in God in such a way that He unceasingly avails His grace to us. If it is by our efforts, then what is grace? When Abraham offered his son Isaac and received his son back from the dead, he entered through the narrow door. How did he strive? By faith that he should fulfill the call of God! Now, where was the opportunity to turn against God? When our whole mind, body and soul are set on pleasing the Lord, there remains no opportunity to revert to sin.

Great then is the advantage of pleasing the Lord. Our sin is fully abolished. “Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, ‘FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS’” (Rom. 4:9). There is no law for our forgiveness of sins except righteousness by faith. Whether to the Jew or to the gentile, to the unbelieving or to the reverting, blamelessness comes only by faith. The believers along with Paul in those days accepted the principle that faith is the reason to be credited with righteousness. Therefore, they were abundantly supplied by grace. Yet, the question that remains is – do we also possess the same principle as they and by what kind of faith? If Abraham’s faith had any reproach in all the times that God called him, his faith would have been made void. But as such there was no guile in his belief toward God. Was Abraham then without weaknesses? By no means! Yet, through his undivided belief in God grace overcame his weaknesses. This is what the Spirit through Paul is seeking from the readers: an unblemished faith in God that instills in them an undistracted devotion to Him. In everything we ought to believe that God is able, because we say ‘we believe;’ “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love” (Eph. 3:17).

O, the grace that many have not felt in the present days! If Christ, the grace of God, does not dwell in your hearts through faith, there is no opportunity to move from grace to grace. Again, there is no law for Christ to dwell in your hearts other than faith. The God that examines your faith is able to credit it to you as righteousness; thus, you are prepared for His unceasing grace. For every law of Christ and commandment of God can be fulfilled only by first attaining Christ through faith. Hence, God calling you to believe in His Son has become the primary source of your faith. He instills in you the same faith that He instilled in Abraham at his calling and just as Abraham believed God you too must believe Christ. What is the result? The identity which Abraham received will also be yours which is all the more the reason for God’s unceasing grace in you. Now, “if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:3) you will grow in reference to grace and not possess unbelief as a shameful thing, which exists in many.

Posted in 2011, Archives.