Pastor Bob (31 May 2015)
""Seven Reasons Why Your Salvation is A Free Gift""

All Doves:

You are saved as a gift of God, not of works.  There are at least seven reasons why your salvation is, and must be, a free gift.  Consider these as what the Apostle Paul would have considered comforting words to those once trapped in the Mosaic Law of works-righteousness.

1.  Man cannot make God owe him.  Man cannot put God in debt for work performed.  A man who works puts his employer in debt for his services -(Romans 4:4).  God is completely independent.  He cannot be put into debt to any man.  God cannot be made to owe anything or to be obligated for anything.  God does not save man because He is obligated to man or owes man, but because He loves and wills to save man.

2.  Man cannot bring perfection to God.  God is perfect, incorruptible, and permanent.  Man and everything about man is imperfect, corruptible, and decaying -(Ephesians 1:7).  Man cannot offer and cannot give anything to God that will satisfy His perfection.  Any offer or gift from an imperfect man to a perfect God is ever so short and inadequate.  God accepts man's offer of himself not because man merits acceptance, but simply because God loves and wills to accept man.

3.  Man cannot make God forgive him.  Man is the one who has done wrong, offended and hurt God.  It is man who has broken off the friendship and relationship with God -(Romans 3:23; Romans 8:6-8).  Therefore, man is the one who is to apologize and ask forgiveness, and God is the One who is to have mercy and do the forgiving.  If God chooses to have mercy, it comes from a heart of Grace, and not because man deserves it.

4.  Man cannot heal God's heart.  Man's sin breaks the heart of God -(Romans 5:6, 8, 10).  Therefore, man's offense is primarily against love; it is primarily against God's very nature of love, mercy, and peace.  Since man's main offense is breaking the heart of God, he can only cast himself upon the love of God, apologize and ask forgiveness and trust God to forgive.  This is the glorious message of salvation.  If man turns to God and asks for forgiveness, God forgives and accepts man back into His glorious Grace.

5.  Man cannot save himself -(Ephesians 2:8-9).  No matter what Law or work was chosen to be the channel for salvation, there would be some men who could never keep that particular law or perform that particular work.  If salvation were by Law and works, man could never be saved.  There are always many who are totally unable to work and earn their way: the deformed, the poor, the sick, the weary, the underprivileged, the disadvantaged, the oppressed, and many, many others.  However, the needy are always before God's eyes, and He counts them as precious.  Therefore, He has made provision for salvation by Grace and by Grace alone,

6.  Man cannot make God love him -(Titus 3:4-7).  If salvation were by Law and works, the love of God could never be known.  God would be forced to save and bless us because He owes us, not because He loves us.  Our works would forever require Him to pay our wages.  He would not be free to do something for us freely simply because He loves us.  We would never know what it is to be loved by God.  We would never know only what it is to be paid by God for work done.

7.  Man cannot set himself free and bring about liberty of conscience -(Matthew 26:28).  If we were saved by Law and works, liberty and freedom of spirit and conscience would never be experienced.  We constantly fail and come up short.  This eats and gnaws away at us.  If God does not forgive us simply because He loves us, then what can remove the guilt and aggravation of failure from our hearts?  The Law?  Absolutely Not, for the Law only points out our failure, and once we have failed we have failed, and the gnawing away of conscience begins -(Romans 3:21-22).  The only way for the gnawing and guilt of conscience to be removed is for God to forgive us for failing and to convince us of His forgiveness.  This He has done by Grace - His Grace!

My friends, Grace is radical, of that I have no doubt.  We have been duped into believing that we can only be accepted by obedience of the Law.  An infinite procession of priests, pastors, preachers, have used the bully pulpit to convince us, as much as themselves, we can only receive salvation by the Law and through works-righteousness.  Most of the church leadership, over the centuries, has used the Bible as a hammer over our heads, in order to control us.  It facilitated Satan's desired goal of enslavement, accusing us before a God of love and Grace, placing us under a heavy burden of guilt and judgment. 

We are liberated from that guilt and judgment by remembering the price God paid to set you and I free.  The Holy Spirit can begin the process of bringing about transforming us into His Will for us!
That is radical love.  We need to reverse those words of Jonathan Edwards book, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God', which for over 250 years has filled the minds of folks with fear, guilt, and trepidations.  Even present-day high school English classes used it at literature, but with a secondary purpose and message of placing fear in the hearts and minds of impressive youth.  God wants our response to His love.  He wants our devotion, our love, and worship.  We worship God in truth and spirit.  He wants to flood our entire presence with that Grace!

Blessings for your remaining days before He calls us home,

Pastor Bob