He has graced us!

If God says something is acceptable don’t say it isn’t!—According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted [Lit: ‘graced us’] in the beloved.

–And the angel came to Mary and said, “Greetings, O favored [Lit: ‘graced’] one, the Lord is with you!”

–And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be?….

–And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you… For nothing will be impossible with God.”

–And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.—In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.—Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you… We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do.    And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.  God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.  So if God has given you the ability to __________[do it well]… Never be lazy in your work but serve the LORD enthusiastically — Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?  Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?—For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. —For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.—But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,  equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Acts 10:15 NLT; Eph 1:4-6 KJV; Lk.1:28 ESV; Lk. 1:35, 37-38 ESV; Acts 10:43 ESV; Eph 1:7-14 ESV; Rom 14:17-18ESV; Rom 12:1-2 NASB;  Rom.12:3-6,11 NLT; Rom 9:20-21 NASB; Eph 2:10 NLT; I Cor. 6:20 NASB; Is. 64:8 NASB; Heb 13:20-21 ESV

The words jumped off the page at me rendered differently than I was used to.  If God says something is acceptable don’t say it isn’t! Who am I to contradict what God has said, or even to doubt it?  Whether it is my own bumbling efforts to work out this great salvation in which I stand, or my estimation of how my brother in Christ is working it out, who am I to declare unacceptable what God has chosen for His glory?

In making us ‘accepted in the Beloved’ we are not so very unlike Mary.  In both instances the same expression is used:  God has ‘graced’ us. We are pursued with grace, compassed with favor, honored with blessings.  “O graced one, the Lord is with you”, could well be said of you or I if we are in Christ. What is to be our response?  What was Mary’s?  She clarified her calling–‘how will this be?’.  She was quite aware she didn’t have it in her to become the mother of the Saviour of the world, God incarnate!  But God’s response to her is not unlike His provision for us–the Holy Spirit would empower the calling, making the impossible so very possible! What was left for Mary to say but: Amen. Here I am. 

And so it remains for us to live out our days with confidence in God’s calling and provision. What He has designed us for and called us to He will grace us to fulfill for his great glory!

–LS

 

 

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