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Powerful Grace

Colossians 2:13-15
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (NIVUK)

The Bible does not support the idea that we are all basically good (Psalm 14:2-3).  Yes, God’s creation was perfect but when the first people disobeyed God, everything started to go wrong (Genesis 3:1-24).  Paul confirms that since that time, when each person starts their physical life, they are already spiritually dead (Psalm 51:5) - infected and prone to sinning, and separated from God and destined for an eternity without Him (Romans 5:12).  That is all of us: by nature, our hearts are not devoted to God and our nature is set against God.

In these verses Paul affirms that the death of Jesus Christ opened a door of hope in six significant ways when people repent and believe the gospel.  Firstly, Christ's death made it possible for dead (separated) people, to be alive (in close relationship with God).  Secondly, all of our sins are forgiven. Thirdly, our liability under God’s law which had demanded perfection, and which accused and condemned us, was cancelled.  

Fourthly, every charge against us was accepted by Jesus Christ as being His personal liability and responsibility; when He was nailed to the cross, our sins were the charge for which He died – leaving us to face no guilt-ridden future.  Fifthly, the devil and his demons who had kept us in spiritual bondage were disarmed - they had no more power to keep us away from God's love.  Sixthly, although the death of Jesus was intended to be a public humiliation, the real disgrace was on Satan.  His evil power to enslave people in sin was broken for all those who trust in Jesus.
Our hope of peace with God does not depend on our perfect life or our religious observance, but only on the death of Christ (Ephesians 1:7-8).  However, our old nature is so used to thinking that our goodness will make us acceptable to God.  We therefore fall into the trap of feeling better when we are good and feeling worse when we are bad - making our emotions the barometer of our status with God.  That is what the devil wants us to do.  So, we need to learn that we can never do enough good to remove our sin; and that we can never congratulate ourselves on our holiness, because Christ has achieved that for us!  Today, refuse to be intimidated by Satan into believing that there is no hope: and refuse to accept the inner boastings of self-righteousness.  Instead, accept the grace of Christ (see www.crosscheck.org.uk), and revel in the relief of being free from your guilty past to love and serve Him.  And thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His powerful grace which was designed for you and all your friends who will put their trust in Him.

Gracious God. Thank You for Your grace in Christ - setting me free from the burden of sin, and bringing me into Your family. Forgive me when I slip back into old ways of thinking: trying to be good enough for You or feeling cut off from You when I fail. Help me to understand that the death of my Saviour means life for me; and that the humiliation of Satan means that I can lift up my head in Your presence without any accusation against me. Help me to come back to the cross daily, for my assurance and forgiveness. Help me to worship You in my heart for this powerful grace, and enable me to explain it to my friends and colleagues so that they may find real hope in Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams