"An Inside Perspective"

September 2010


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
When I was growing up we never had a Bible in our house, at least not one that I knew of anyway. There may have been one there, perhaps on a dusty bookshelf somewhere, but it was not used for daily food, encouragement and guidance as it is in Christian households.

I was taken to a Catholic church once in a while as a young boy and to this day I still have those memories. For a little while, I also attended Catholic youth training which is called catechism. The Mass, which is what their services are called, was in Latin so I never knew what was being said. I remember a sense of fear whenever the “fathers,” as they are called, would come around. To me they represented the law and even at that young age I knew I was guilty of something or other. As soon as I would see the “fathers” coming in their black robes, I would quickly hide behind my dad’s legs. As Dad spoke to them, I would peek out from behind the safety of his legs as I held his pants with a death grip. I just knew the “fathers” knew everything that I did.

All of that passed very quickly, though, because as soon as I was old enough to ride my bike in the other direction, that is exactly what I did! From that point on I lived my life with the wrath of God seemingly two steps behind me and always gaining!

I guess, as I reflect back now at 53 years old, that was how my perception of God was formed. Through the years, as I grew older while walking in sin, I always thought of God as a harsh judge, just waiting to catch me doing something wrong. I naturally assumed He would weigh my good against my bad and deal with me from there. Eventually, I had done so much wrong that I gave up on trying to be good. Sadly, I now know I was given over to sin as Romans 1 so clearly teaches.

All I knew was the bondage of sin of every sort; I was a slave. At that point in my life, I had no concept of the freeing liberty of God’s grace. It is written, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” Oh, sweet, sweet grace, where would we be without her!

Donald Grey Barnhouse has said that grace could be defined as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense for us! Yes, how very true that we can walk in God’s eternal favor, even freedom from all bondage, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Listen beloved, the Scripture says that Jesus Christ is “full of grace and truth.” He is “full” of grace for you and for me and His cup forever overflows continually with sweet, sweet grace for all His blood-bought children. Listen to this wonderful promise to you: it is written, “. . . Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.”

Our problem is that we tend to try to please God by our own works. It seems that we are delighted to be “saved by grace through faith,” but then, we begin in all futility, to attempt to maintain our salvation by works. Instead of looking daily to Jesus and His finished work for us on the cross, (wherein is our joy), we are tempted to look at our own efforts, (wherein is our misery), and we then wrongly judge our standing with God in light of our deeds. We put ourselves right back in bondage to the law of sin and death. Beloved, there is no water in that well, only discouraging misery. Ask the Galatians!

The beauty of the New Covenant is that Jesus fulfilled God’s side of the covenant for you with all the demands of His holiness. Unlike the Old Covenant where man had to labor to meet all God’s demands contained in the commandments, in the New Covenant Jesus fulfilled those demands for you too! Oh, sweet, sweet grace that imputes righteousness to the undeserving, and that, in the face of sin!

Some people say that there is no need for doctrine; let’s just love each other. Loving the Lord and each other is indeed the greatest of all commandments, but true love must stand on truth. You see, Jesus was not only full of grace but He was also full of truth. Doctrine is simply the orderly declaration of biblical truth. All true love must be undergirded by this foundation. There is no love outside of truth, and doctrine is the plain teaching of such. For instance, when we study the doctrine of Jesus’ blood, our hearts shout for joy at all the blood has accomplished for us! It forever proclaims sweet, sweet grace!

As a young unsaved boy I used to hide safely behind my dad’s legs from the wrath of the “fathers.” Praise the Lord that today as growing Christians we now hide safely from God’s wrath only behind the cross of Calvary! Beloved, toss your works overboard and cling to the cross with a death grip trusting only in God’s . . .