God’s Mercy and God’s Wrath Meet at the Cross

~ Challies

Today I want to wrap up this short series that I’ve titled “The Holiness of God and the Existence of Hell.” It looks at what happens when the holy God comes into contact with sin. So far we’ve seen that God may react to sin with just wrath and that he may react with patient mercy. Now I want to look to the place where God’s wrath and mercy meet–the cross of Christ.

The cross of Jesus Christ is all about God’s holiness. That may seem strange, that a place of blood and suffering and torment would be all about holiness. But the cross answers this question: How can a holy God be reconciled to unholy people? That question demands this one: How can the relationship between a holy God and an unholy people be restored without some gross act of injustice?

At the cross we see just how much God values his holiness. We see that God will not violate his own holiness even in order to save the ones he loves. Here at the cross we see wrath and mercy meet. We see both of them in their glorious fullness–the ultimate display of God’s wrath and the ultimate display of God’s mercy.

When we look to the cross we see Jesus Christ serving the just sentence of a sinner. There on the cross Christ experiences physical death, so his heart stops beating and his body begins to decay. He also faces spiritual death, spiritual destruction. He is punished by facing the fury of the wrath of God. He is punished consciously for sin done in conscious rebellion against God. He faces an eternal measure of wrath for sins against an eternal being. There on the cross, he faces the justice and the torment of hell.

So where is the mercy of the cross? All we see here is Christ experiencing all wrath and no mercy. How can I say that wrath and mercy meet here?

There is more at: https://www.challies.com/articles/gods-mercy-and-gods-wrath-meet-at-the-cross/

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God’s gift of grace

Every trouble but this one

Say No to Cheap Grace

“Costly grace is the Incarnation of God” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Cheap grace is worthless. It tries to rob you of your peace and rest in Christ. Christians always need to be on the lookout for cheap grace and stay far away from it. Here are two kinds of cheap grace that pretend to be the costly grace God gives us in Christ:

1. Grace without Christ

The rest is at: https://cccdiscover.com/say-no-to-cheap-grace/

Rule #1: Trust the Means of Grace (8 Rules for Growing in Godliness)

The great goal of the Christian life is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. The Christian longs to be influenced by Christ to such an extent that every thought is one Jesus would think, that every action is one he would take. Such conformity depends upon a renewed mind, for it is only once our minds are renewed that our desires and actions can follow (Romans 12:2). The Christian life, then, is one of taking off the “old self with its practices” and putting on “the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:9-10).

So noble a goal can only be achieved with great effort and lifelong commitment, for we are sinful people, only recently liberated from our captivity to the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Christian life is not a leisurely stroll but a purposeful journey. Jesus tells us we must “strive to enter through the narrow door,” knowing that the Christian life permits no complacency, that salvation must be “worked out,” not waited out (Luke 13:24; Philippians 2:12). The Christian is not a passive spectator in sanctification but an active participant.

We are looking at “8 Rules for Growing in Godliness,” a series of instructions for becoming increasingly conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. (Here’s the Introduction to the series.) The first rule for growing in godliness is this: Trust the means of grace. Every Christian is responsible to diligently search out and discover the disciplines through which God grants increased godliness. Then he is to make a lifelong, whole-hearted commitment to each of them.

Continue: http://www.challies.com/articles/rule-1-trust-the-means-of-grace-8-rules-for-growing-in-godliness

How We Have Fellowship with Christ in the Grace of God

http://www.kevinhalloran.net/how-we-have-fellowship-with-christ-in-the-grace-of-god/

Grace grows strongest

grace

A Prayer about the Radical Generosity of Grace 

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. (2 Cor. 8: 1– 5)

Heavenly Father, we come before you today challenged by this picture of radical grace. This one story alone underscores why we can never emphasize your grace too much. Grace is never to be counterbalanced with law, only multiplied with more grace. Indeed, through Jesus you continue to give us grace upon grace (John 1: 16). What an amazing story— the severely afflicted and extremely poor Christians of Macedonia became a model of radical generosity to the much wealthier believers in Corinth. And according to you, their motivation wasn’t fear and guilt; it was multiplied grace. For you love cheerful giving, not reluctant giving compelled by pressure from without (2 Cor. 9: 7).

Father, only your grace is powerful enough to give us abundant joy in the absence of affluence, coupled with hearts that beg to give sacrificially beyond our means for the benefit of strangers! The law cannot produce that kind of people— not even grace plus law, but only grace upon grace.

For the glory of Jesus and the advancing of your kingdom, we ask you to give us the same grace you gave the churches of Macedonia. The needs all around us are exponential, but your resources are endless. Indeed, help us to excel in the grace of giving. For you are “able to make all grace abound to [us], so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, [we] can abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9: 8). Enrich us in every way that we might be generous in every way (2 Cor. 9: 11)— with our time, talents, and treasures, and with great forbearance and extravagant forgiveness.

Jesus, you are the ultimate cheerful giver. That is what the gospel is all about. Though you were rich, you gladly became poor for us, that by your poverty we might become joyfully rich through you (2 Cor. 8: 9). Make your gladness ours. Make your generosity ours. We pray in your great and gracious name. Amen.

Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith