Sunday, January 31, 2010

Putting Amazing Back to Grace

Last Friday, I had been super blessed with knowledge. I spent the whole day receiving them actually. (Talk about information overload! Hehe. Fun fun!) We attended PUTTING AMAZING BACK TO GRACE, a conference held at Quezon City Evangelical Church, where Michael Horton a theologian from Westminister Seminary shared with us the original plan of God for men during creation, the fall, and the election of grace.

Horton started off with an interesting yet demeaning quote some people actually say “I don’t want to know about God, I want to know God!” Err… how can we know someone, without knowing his likes or dislikes? or her past and present situations? It’s quite impossible! This is why, we need to study theology. We cannot merely depend on our intuition of who God is. Worse, we cannot shape Him to the way we want Him to be. Remember, He is the potter and we are the pots. :P

Let us start with the moment of creation. You have heard before that when God created us, He made us “in His image.” We were also crowned in righteousness, holiness and glory. In Moses’ time, Pharaohs were immensely infamous for they too were seen in their god’s image. They were seen as the incarnation of Amon Re.

Since we were all created in His image, this implies that there must be respect for EVERYONE (including the children that relentlessly wipe your car windows or the convicted murderers or even the Chinese teacher that you might have called ‘Poknut’). Secondly, with much respect, comes responsibility! Everyone needs to fulfill the office God had given us as servant king, an image god. "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Gen 1:28)

But then came the FALL.

These were Satan’s deceptive plans:

To make you believe that you were created in His image, but you may also live independently from Him. "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4). You will be prophets, priests and kings, preaching your own thoughts. This also paved way for legalism. Eve for example added a new law on what God initially forbade. Maybe the additional law of not touching the fruit would makes her feel better about herself as she compares herself with others who opt to touch but not eat the forbidden fruit. Or maybe adding a new law won’t matter as long as it does not go against God’s law. However legalism makes God a tyrant, stingy and cruel God. And sadly, it’s the people who bear His name that give others this negative impression of God.

Another deception was that when crown fell off from Adam and Eve’s heads, crown of glory left, and bodies were then covered with leaves. When bodies are feathered, they’re free, but not really free. Freedom is wanting what God wills. Ironic? Well, would you rather be a slave to sin or be a son of the living God?

I remember Horton saying “We are like worms. Umm.. no, we are worse than worms. Worms obey what God made them for.. they crawl in the dirt.”

After the fall, everyone becomes a sinner since the very first cell of conception. Horton shared an illustration of a baby venomous snake. He said that even baby snakes have the same intensity of poison as their parents. So everyone is bound to sin, no exemption.

Then comes Grace.

Immortality and life have been brought by the gospel. And it takes a miracle to truly believe in it. Who creates the miracle? Who gives us the gift of faith? Who chooses us? Isn’t it God Himself?

God has chosen us not for what we are about to do for him nor for the foreseen faith. Amazing right? He is simply gracious. “Doesn’t the potter have the right to make out the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purpose and some for common use?” You may not know who else God has chosen, so just continue sharing the gospel. It is not by our might, nor by our power, but by His Spirit that hearts will change. At the end of the day, it’s His will and not yours that will prevail. :)

~ o ~

I've observed that many times (at this era) people go to church not to receive / share grace. They see it as a 'business' filled with tasks and activities. I admit, that I too had been a victim of this thinking. May we remember the primary reason why we believe what we believe and why we do what we do. May we be more busy for our Savior than for His Kingdom. It is He who works and acts in you according to His great purpose. Not you. It's His grace that gives us strength. What an Amazing Grace.

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