PAXnorth

presuming upon grace

Ephesians 1:3-14 (in the original language these verses are one, run on sentence).
WHO IS GOD to you? We recently asked this question on our streets the replies reveal that everyone has an opinion about God (most have a couple of ideas of God, at least).
A Sweet Ol Grandpa in the Sky – with lots of opinions but basically harmless; slipping you a ‘twenty’ now and then and winking at the things you do wrong.
Or the Angry Father in the Living Room – you never know when He might explode in a rage of judgement so you better tip toe around Him and try not to peeve Him off!
Or the Great Pinata in Heaven – just keep trying the whacking sticks of good works, being nice to old people, loving puppy dogs and going to confessions; Eventually you’ll the hit the jackpot; God will notice all your good things and pour out His ‘candy’!
Or God is everything – it is in the trees and the air, the earth and the water, it is the good spark that lies in the center of us all!
WHERE DID YOU learn your opinion(s) of God? More and more I hear, “Well God, to me, is…”
The problem with OUR opinion is it is OUR opinion. Do we really ever stop and search for God’s opinion of who He is? In Ephesians 1:3-14- God is the main subject of almost every verb. Here is God telling you about Himself:
“Before the foundations of the world I choose…You were my idea…I have made THE way for you to be called my child…even when I knew who you would be and what you would do….I reached out to adopt you… to give you a purpose that would fill up your soul, bring peace to your life and a deep richness of My grace…all this I am doing as a part of My will for you and for the primary purpose of showing My glory through you”
This beautiful ‘free verse’ sentence of blessing to God and about God tells You that really in everything that was and is GOD is PRIMARY -the reason, the intentional, personal, all powerful God. I don’t stand over Him to shape Him anyway that might fit. He offers hope and life to me from out of His grace. What will I do with that?
Grace is getting favor that I didn’t ask for, don’t deserve and often didn’t even know I needed.
These verses tell us that God opens the treasury of heaven and calls us to enjoy the spiritual richness of relationship with Him. He does all this by sending His son, Jesus to eliminate the barriers that make us incapable to reach God on our own. Barriers of SELF that the Bible calls SIN. God says- KNOW ME…sends His Son Jesus to be known by us…JESUS IS CENTRAL …for there is no other name, god, opinion of spiritual life where by you can come to God. God comes to you through the life, death, Resurrection, and exaltation of His Son. When you reach out in faith humbly accepting you enter into His grace and all that you will be, In Christ.
It is when you begin to see this that you realize the awesome greatness of the Person and Love of God; It is then that you experience deep forgiveness and the resources of grace poured out in your life. This is The Gospel that changes everything for us.
To reject what God says about Himself and how you can KNOW Him- and live out of a ‘this is what God is to me…’; is a great presumption on the true Grace of the Revealed God.
To presume that I am primary, my opinion is central and I live my life anyway I want to…is to presume yourself god.
Our ‘favorite’ excuses why we refuse to take a hard look at living life with God as Primary, Christ as Central, and reflecting the raw transforming power of the Gospel:

“But I can’t do it…
You don’t know what a struggle it is in my relationships…
You don’t know what it is like at my school…
You don’t know the hurt, and horror stories of my past…
You don’t know what I have done in my past…
You don’t know the struggle that I have to fit in, to make my life a success…
You don’t have to go over board with the ‘god stuff’. I’m spiritual when I need to be, but I also have a real life where I need to make money and secure my future…
You don’t know the addictions I have struggled with secretly or openly for years, or decades. There is no getting away from my addictive personality.
(And my all time favorite) I can’t do it…I can’t live out a spiritual life that engages the world around me because you don’t know how hard I have worked to live an exemplary life, of piety, and separation from all things that have a stench of sinful brokenness and the look of helpless spiritual floundering. I am called to live a separated life of holiness and piety; a life surrounded by those who look, act, smell, and have demonstrated the high morals that I do! – SELF PITY, SELF ABASING, SELF SUFFICIENT, SELF PRESERVATION, all various expressions of SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS- MORALISM!! SAULINE PHARISASIM! All a presumption on the grace of God. May God meet with us in the depths of His Word, to make us broken and blind until we know the fullness of repentance and the awakening of living out a Spirit filled life in the midst of a desperately seeking postmodern world!