(Galatians 2:11-21)…One thing I admire about Paul is the boldness he had to tell it like it was. Peter, of all people, had fallen into a classic example of legalism, and in a way salvation by works. He was living like a Gentile, when other Jews weren’t around, but then stay away from the Gentiles when Jews were around. He was also trying to get the Gentiles to follow the Jewish customs. Paul got after Peter and accused him of being quite the hypocrite and at the same time confusing believers.
Paul states quite clearly that if you try to live by the law you are going to die by it. Salvation doesn’t come by living up to the law, we can’t do it, we’re sinful people. We can only have salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. I love how Paul says clearly that if salvation could be gain through the law then Christ died for nothing. That’s a pretty bold statement, however it is exactly true.
The verse that stands out to me the most is Galatians 2:20. When I came to faith in Christ it was at that moment that my old self was put on the cross and a new life was born through Him. What I love about this is the promise of new life. And that new life doesn’t ever go away. We may fall, yet our new life is still there for us. Christ’s salvation is a free and eternal gift. We can mess up and come running back to Him. I love that! I’m so thankful for a gracious loving God who allows me to come back to Him no matter what. And I know that there is nothing I can do in this world to gain God’s favor, Christ finished it all when He died on the cross. Salvation is a gift, and you never work for a gift, it’s free! Thanks for that!
(Matthew 1:1-17) What is normally pointed out in this passage is the strange fact that Matthew includes 4 women in the geanology of Christ. These 4 women weren’t the most prostegious women in the line either. No one knows for sure why they were included, except to perhaps point out that God can use anyone to carry out his plan.
The thing that amazes me the most is how God can forget about our pasts and still use us to carry out His plan. We fail in out spiritual lives probably daily, but when we seek forgiveness He gives it. And He can even use our failures to His glory. What a great God we have.
Not only does the title of today’s post bring to mind the famous song, it also resonates with the grace God showed Noah, his family, and the animals taken with them. (Genesis 8:1-22) He used the flood to show the kind of “re-birth” that Jesus would later talk about happening through faith in Him. It truly is amazing to feel the promised, and never ending, grace of God. There is a renewal that comes from experiencing His grace. I have been blessed to experience His grace in my own life over the past week.
We look at the world around us today and it is easy to wonder how the people of Noah’s time could have been any worse. Don’t misunderstand me when I talk about looking at the world, this includes us a Christians living in the world as well. It quite amazing God doesn’t come and wipe us all out again. However, His promises are never broken, and that is one very thing He promised to never do again on that day when the ark opened up.
I think is can be easy to look at the story of Noah and the flood as simply a story of God’s grace. I think we are missing the whole picture if we only look at it with those eyes. There is an obvious picture of the power that God has over this world. Besides the grace that God gives, the words of Joshua 1:9 ring true, He is always there wherever we go and He has power over this entire world. There is promise that reflects that in Romans 8:31 as well. So in closing the story of Noah is one of grace, one of re-birth, one of great faith, and also one of God’s many promises that He still holds to today. Amen!