Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Wrestling With Sin Part II

Jude 1:24-25

24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. NIV84

profileAs part of my calling and my profession – I do a number of funerals.  Funerals are usually sad events but for some they are sad and happy events (let me explain).  If the deceased were a Christian – you know – one of those born again types – not just a church goer but a true believer in Christ – death is usually met with joy because it is the transition time between this life and the next.  This is a time that Christians live for – really!

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a measure of sadness for Christians at funerals.  I know when my father died in 2012 – it was a sad time yet a joyous time.  Dad had lived his life in so many ways for Jesus and I had and have no doubt he heard well-done – good and faithful servant when he arrived in heaven.  For Sunday only church goers – funerals probably bring a number of other emotions and thoughts into play.  Doubts and fears probably surface if they haven’t been sold out for Jesus in their walk.  For folks who have little or no faith – funerals probably bring a whole list of other emotions and thoughts as well.

Today’s passage is one I often read as a benediction at funerals.  I usually read it out of the NIV84 translation – which is how I quoted it in this post.  Jude 1:23-24 – 24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

If only we would hear this passage and walk it out while we are alive rather than only taking solace in it at a funeral – our lives might be lived differently.  If our lives were lived for the One who can keep us from falling – who can present us before the throne of the Father without blemish – we would take so much more from this passage.

A phrase I have used of late – which has caused some people to think – goes like this – are we banking on grace to cover all of our sins and thus living in sin rather than wrestling with sin in our lives?  Grace is great!  It is grace – the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – that allows us not to fall and it is grace that allows us to be presented before the Father without blemish.  But there is a line to walk – which is why I say that Christianity boils down to attitude – the position and condition of one’s heart.

John records these words of Jesus – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 If we love Jesus – our heart’s desire would be to follow His teachings – His commands!  We would express our love for Jesus by being obedient to His commands.  I asked a group of Christians recently in a Bible study if they felt they were more or less faithful than their parents and grandparents (assuming they were raised in Christian families).  Most who answered said they were less faithful and they pointed to the culture around them as the culprit (more on that in another post).

Paul writes these words by God’s inspiration when talking about grace and sin and how grace covers our sins – 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4

There is the place of wrestling folks.  Grace covers our sins but if we are in Christ we are to express our love for Jesus by following His commandments.  Our heart’s desire should be to be perfect – following all that God has expressed through His Word – the Bible.  When we fail – our sins will be covered by grace.

This is where the question arises dear readers.  Are we wrestling with sin?  Are we striving to follow Christ’s commandments with our all?  Or are we banking on grace to cover all of our sins – even the ones we are living with each day and taking no action or effort to overcome?  Are we lukewarm followers of Christ?  If so – we should all know how that will end (see tomorrow’s devotional thought).

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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January 20, 2014 - Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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