17 Feb Standing in Grace
Last Sunday, Pastor Jason Finley preached from Genesis 15 and pointed us to be assured that our covenant keeping God will fulfill his promises because of his character, his grace, and his covenant.
Read: Genesis 16-17
This Sunday, Joel Smith will preach from Genesis 16-17 and will encourage us with the truth that God is faithful even when we are faithless. As you prepare for our corporate gathering, let this devotional from John MacArthur encourage you to stand in God’s grace, which is his means of unrelenting faithfulness to us.
Reflect: “Standing in Grace”
“Through [Christ] also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand.”
It is God’s grace, not the believers’ faith, which enables them to stand firm in their salvation.
In Old Testament times, the notion of having direct access or “introduction” to God was unthinkable, because if anyone was to look at Him they would surely die. After the tabernacle was built, only the high priest could enter the holy of holies, where God would manifest His divine presence, and only once a year for just a brief time.
But Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross ushered in a New Covenant that made access to God possible for any person, Jew or Gentile, who trusts in His sacrifice. All of us who believe can now “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
Because of our faith in Him, Christ escorts us “into this grace in which we stand.” The Greek word for “stand” refers to permanence, standing firm and immovable. Certainly faith is necessary for salvation, but it is God’s grace and not our faith that has the power to save us and maintain that salvation. What God did initially through grace, we cannot preserve through our efforts. That would be a mockery of God’s grace and an indication of our lack of trust in His desire and power to preserve our salvation. Paul said, “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).
In spite of our effort to avoid it, all of us will fall into sin, but our sin is not more powerful than God’s grace. Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins. If the sins we committed prior to our salvation were not too great for Christ’s atoning death to cover, surely none of those we have committed since then or will commit are too great for Him to cover (Rom. 5:10). A dying Savior ushered us into God’s grace; we all need to depend on the fact that a living Savior will keep us in His grace.
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for His preserving grace. ✧ Confess any distrust in His power to preserve your salvation.
For Further Study: Read Romans 8:31–34. Why is God worthy of your trust? ✧ How does Christ support that truth?
“Standing in Grace,” July 4th reading, in Strength for Today, by John MacArthur.
Sing: Song List for Sunday
1. “The Church’s One Foundation,” Arr. Perimeter Worship
2. “By Faith,” by Keith & Kristyn Getty
3. “My Worth Is Not in What I Own,” Arr. Shane & Shane
4. “All I Have Is Christ,” by Sovereign Grace Music