A Note From Matt 4/5/18

Anchor #4: Trust in God and remember that everything we have is by God’s grace.

This month’s anchor is especially timely as it comes on the heels of our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. What’s so amazing about Easter is that God’s love for us does not come with conditions. It’s unconditional. We don’t deserve it, not one of us—no matter how good you think you are or how good people say you are. God’s love is never in question and He’s proved it again and again.

I love how Brennan Manning puts it: “Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity—that He loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain—that He loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it? Do you believe that God loves without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be?” The real question about love is something we ask ourselves: do we really love God? As I mentioned in a recent sermon, you don’t have to change for God to love you, but you do have to change to love God back. And this, church, is why we can trust God and live boldly in His grace that we have neither earned nor deserve!

First of all, we are called and can confidently trust God in all circumstances. In all of history, there has never been a set of circumstances where Jesus’ followers were not able to trust God. Throughout the Bible and Christian history, God has always been faithful to His people time after time. There are two constants that I am sure of: 1) Human circumstances are in a constant state of flux and 2) God is in a constant state of sovereignty. Possibly the greatest encouragement that we can trust God is in Hebrews 12:1-2, where we see not only the faithfulness of God to His people but to Jesus Himself. We have a great cloud of witnesses who constantly remind us that we can, in all circumstances, trust God. Now, this doesn’t mean that trusting God is easy, and one of the biggest hurdles to trusting God is comparison. I find that I frequently compare myself to others, then head down the road of feeling like I deserve this or that. Which brings us to the second part of our anchor …

Everything you and I have is by God’s grace. The very breath in our lungs is by God’s grace! Based on that fact, it would be a great thing if our first action when we woke up each morning was to thank God for that first conscious gulp of air. That may seem like a small thing, especially when life is difficult or overwhelming, but to be completely candid, anything less than Hell for eternity is to be celebrated!

I love the example that Paul leaves us with. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were in a Philippian prison because of the Gospel. Instead of complaining or demanding their rights, they began “praying and singing hymns to God.” What compelled them to do that? I believe that Paul and Silas recognized that they were undeservingly forgiven. Understanding God’s forgiveness is the context for everything we experience. Paul’s hope of Heaven allowed him (and us, if we have experienced Jesus’ forgiveness) to give himself fully to this world because he had confidence of his possession of the next. You see, we have no reason to fear because we have been granted the ultimate grace—forgiveness and acceptance into God’s family with a guarantee of a full inheritance. None of which we actually deserve. How awesome is that?

My hope and prayer for you is that you find yourself in a place of humility because of the overwhelming grace of God that leads you to trust Him with all your heart. Corrie Ten Boom, who had every reason to give up trusting God, said it best: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” She knew that her life was God’s grace. I want to know what she knew. Do you?

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