February 11, 2010

Part One

This morning I was sitting on the floor in my bedroom, reading my Bible and my various devotional books and TableTalk magazine.  I read the usual things and then I decided to read part of Philippians since our pastor has just begun a series on Philippians on Sunday mornings.  I actually just listened to the first sermon in the series last night online while I folded the mountain of laundry on my bed because I had been out of town and missed the sermon when he first preached it.  Anyway, I was reading chapter 1 and when I got to verses 9-11, they just jumped out at me like they never have before.  I love it when that happens…when something you have read probably 100 times in your life seems like you have never read it before.  Here’s the verses:

” And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. “

I think that this verse sums up what Michael and I desire and pray for our children, as well as what we all should desire in our own lives.   I haven’t gotten to share this with Michael yet but I am thinking this may become a “family verse”, one that we talk about often and memorize together, kind of like a theme verse.

Part Two

After I spent some time rereading that verse and thinking about all that could be said about it, I flipped open the February issue of TableTalk and read a short interview with Sinclair Ferguson about his new book entitled By Grace Alone.  He mentions in the interview that grace is not a “thing”.  He says it is legitimate to think of  “receiving grace” but that we need to be careful to remember that there isn’t a “thing” called grace…all there is is the person of the Lord Jesus.  Here’s a quote from the article.  “…there is no “thing” that Jesus takes from Himself and then, as it were, hands over to me.  There is only Jesus Himself.”  He is the grace!  Even though this might not seem earth shattering, it was a good reminder of what we mean, or of what we should mean, when we speak of grace.

Part Three

After that, I picked up the awesome book I am reading called Broken-Down House by Paul David Tripp.  I happened to be starting chapter 14, called Celebrate Grace.  I haven’t finished the chapter yet but he is talking about how grace should be the thing that is in the forefront of our minds.  It should shape every part of our lives and effect every decision we make.  He talks about how absolutely crucial grace is for our existence this side of eternity and yet we are so prone to list so many other temporal things as “needs”- like bigger houses, better cars, more money, better health, etc. etc.  and not even think of grace as a need that we have.   The point is that without grace (Christ!) none of that even matters!!!  (There is much more good stuff in the chapter and the book…I highly recommend it!)  But, I was really in awe of the timing of this since I had just been reminded of what/who grace really is!

Back to Part One

The word “grace” is not in the verses I mentioned above from Philippians.  But this phrase is there…” filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ”.  We can only have righteousness from/in Christ.  He IS the grace that we need in order to bear the fruit of righteousness.  He IS the gift of grace to us from God.


3 Responses to “Grace”

  1. Dad said

    Very good post, Tara. Things we really need to think about every day!

  2. heidi said

    great post!! loved reading it…thanks for taking the time to share it!

  3. Mom said

    Tara, I just now discovered that you had written a new post. Well done! Thank you so much for sharing what God was showing you. We are so blessed to be surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses like PDT and SF as well as many more to help clarify some of what we are studying. It is so cool how the Holy Spirit’s timing brings things together that fit so well. His Perfect timing!

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