Sunday, July 26, 2015

Flavor of the Month

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

 -- Romans 6:14
There's a popular school of thought that one's choice of faith, whether it be Christianity, Islam, Judaism or something else, is little different than one's choice of ice cream. Whether it's vanilla, strawberry, chocolate or pistachio, the flavor really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. It's all just a matter of personal preference and taste.
God's message to us through the Bible, Ice Cream2however, reveals that our choice is actually one between night and day...and life and death. Author Philip Yancey once wrote about an incident that illustrates this important truth. There was a conference held in England where theologians debated which belief was unique to Christianity. Some faiths held to the resurrection of the dead. And still others described their gods as coming to earth in human form. But after much heated discussion, C.S. Lewis--the noted author of Mere Christianity, The Chronicles of Narnia and other Christian classics--wandered into the room.

"What's all the hubbub about?" he inquired.

When his colleagues disclosed their contentious topic, Lewis was quick to reply.

"Oh...That's easy," he said. "It's grace."

What exactly is grace and why does it matter? Grace is God's free gift to folks like you and me who don't deserve it. And there's nothing we can do to earn it. We just need to accept it, embrace it and live it with transformed lives through our faith in Jesus Christ. It's with grace that we not only survive, but thrive.

The saying goes that religion is all about striving to do great things to please God, while Christianity is all about the great thing that God has already done for us. It's also through religion that we might imagine God warning us: "Work hard and be good so that you can be saved." But when we turn our lives over to Jesus, His actual loving message to us turns things on their head: "You have been saved. Now go out and do good in My name."

Regardless of what the world says, our choices--particularly those involving faith--have consequences. We can either put ours into man-made religions where we face eventual exhaustion through our failure to achieve, or into a God-made relationship where the price for our salvation was paid long ago. All we have to do as Christ-followers is to accept His remarkably gracious invitation and let Him live through us.

"...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness," explains the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians. "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

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