Scripture Entry – I Do Not Nullify the Grace of God

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose,” (Galatians 2:21).  This text has grabbed my attention recently.  When I wake up, it is with me; when I lie down, the Lord reminds me of it.  As I think upon an impending position paper on justification by faith, this is the verse that continues to present itself to my soul.  

Paul’s declaration is no doubt a defensive and resonating sentence intended both to rebuke and bring about repentance Godward.  The simple reading is yet profound.  Shall we move away from grace as the source of justification?  Shall we seek another way of right standing with God than by faith alone in Christ and His merit alone?  Then Jesus died for no purpose.  

This is a word for many.  The unbeliever in the world who imagines all manner of means to save himself from what he denies is coming – he would contrive of human means no less.  The unbelieving person steeped in religious tradition in India or Iraq or an unknown land or in our local church choir – his tradition gives him comfort at the prospect of God’s accountability.  Evangelicals who have in these days sought to redefine many things in an attempt to restore “circumcision” as an aspect of saving righteousness – these no doubt have invented many words to cover the brightness of God’s grace.  Luther conjectured the decline of this most precious doctrine and gave many reasons for thinking it would be so.  He was right.

Men seek their own havens, ironically, from Him who is our only Refuge.  Indeed, we need to give a steady attentiveness, and a weighty thought to Paul’s words.  If we seek to add something to the perfect work of Jesus in order to secure salvation, or if we seek to attain a right status with God on the basis of human merit, then, in fact, Christ died for no purpose.  For did not Christ fulfill the law in our place when we could never.  Did not Jesus Christ die, sinless though He was, in our ungodly place as the predestined ground of our justification before God?  God chose one way, and He is Jesus Christ.  Insofar as we move away from His righteousness as the sole basis of our standing before God, there, we move away from God’s provision for salvation, and there is no other way.  Christ is the Way!  

Christ came to redeem us from the law; would we go back to it on a daily basis as our boast before God?  Perhaps then we have not been delivered from it at all!  No, God demands sinlessness from sinners!  It is not possible that we might save ourselves.  Why do we contrive such?  Why do we endeavor such?  All the while grace beckons us by faith to embrace Christ – for faith sees Christ truly, that is, as our perfect Righteousness and Standing before God.  Indeed, if we have been united to Christ, then alone does God declare us justified.

But this verse says much more.  Justification by faith in Jesus Christ is the doctrine that encompasses many treasured truths.  Paul writes that Christ died for no purpose if we deny such gracious justification in and through Christ.  So then, the cross, the blessed atonement is at stake in our denial or embrace.  Our Lord Himself is at stake – indeed, why be born (virgin birth; Incarnation), why live wholly unto God (sinless life), why humble Himself to the tortures of men, to the cross of His passion, to the obedience unto death, to the wrath of God, indeed, unto hell on account of our sin?  And what of God’s plan of salvation?  We say “let us do away with it in favor of our own!”  That certainly sounds in keeping with Adam!  If we live by the law, we shall die by the law, for if in one point we fail in the law, we have transgressed the whole of it, and the God whose holy and infinite character it refers unto.  If we set aside this doctrine, this truth, this glorious reality, then we kill all hope of salvation from God.  All of this is wrapped up in Christ’s death, a death that we say is of no purpose if we reject such a great justification.

How precious is the death of our Lord to us?  If we neglect such a basis of salvation, then we shall cast aside the notion of Christianity altogether – it will not stand; there is no church.  However, Paul says that he does not nullify this grace of God.  What grace?  Justification.  How do we speak of justification?  Through union with Christ (2:20), God declares the ungodly right before Him, forgives us of our sin, and freely sets us at peace with Him who is Holy, granting to us favor, and familial status in His household – all this is owing to the cross of Christ where He dealt with our sin once and for all and was there judged on our account such that by grace through faith in Christ, God rejoices to impute Christ’s perfect righteousness to us, the ungodly.  Amazing grace!  Amazing Savior!  Amazing Gospel!  Jesus saves sinners!  Christ died for a purpose, yes, and was raised and ascended to the right hand of power.  As He is accepted by the Father so our Father accepts us in Him alone.  Yes, Christ died for a purpose – let us rejoice in it as we are in it, and let us take it to the nations – rest from your labors, by faith embrace the sufficient Savior, and there be justified in Him.  Amen.

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Life Entry – Infinite Comfort in “Whatsoever Comes To Pass”

It is an infinite sort of comfort to know that God has ordained whatsoever comes to pass.  In these days of transition and uncertainty, both generally and personally, I have found peace in God’s Sovereign will.  Moreover, I have gained much joy from His New Covenant promises purchased for me by my Lord Jesus Christ.  

Time and time again our plans are met with failure.  They do not come to pass as we intended that they should.  We are thus reminded of our finiteness, and our need for a vibrant trust in God.  Where this is not had, where one is not so invested in the Gospel, I do not know how they make it from day to day through the realities of failures, and the destruction of inflexible man-made plans.  Personally, I would dig a hole and live out my life in utter obscurity and nothingness, never planning or doing anything because I had the knowledge that not all things go according to plan – at least humanly speaking.

My wife and I have long sought a home in Louisville, Kentucky.  Every time we seem close to closing something quite drastic happens on the other end to prevent us from doing so.  Our inclination is to complain, or at least to sorrowfully sigh.  Tears have been shed as life appears to stall before us.  This is but a feather-light and momentary trial that does not compare to those far more weighty issues that many people, many Christians face from hour to hour for the sake of Christ.  However, where God has us right now, it is the trouble of the day.

I return to this infinite comfort.  I know that God has ordained whatsoever comes to pass by the testimony of Scripture.  On a practical level this means that if something has not yet come to pass, though I ask and pray and beseech God that it might believing that He will do what accords with His will, then I ought not to be presumptuous about it, saying, “we will do this or that tomorrow and set up shop here or there, etc.”  However, when something does come to pass we may say, “Ah, God has had His hand it; He has brought it to pass; even the evil of sin, He allows and turns for our good and His glory.”  But there is more comfort to be had in this reality.

For the believer, God has made this promise and ratified it in the highest manner.  This promise, and this manner of ratification, we may attach as a qualifier to His Sovereign acts insofar as they pertain to those of the promise, the children of God.  In Jeremiah 32, the Lord says, “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them.  And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.  I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul,” (40-41).  I have found it to be an amazing thing that God is not impersonal or neutral in this promise – notice, God “will rejoice” in doing us “good,” and He will do this with all of His heart and His soul.  Moreover, He has ratified this at the highest cost to Himself.  This is the measure of His dealings with the Church, that “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” which is another way of saying, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” (Rom 8:32, 28 respectfully).

In other words, the whole of God’s dealings with us to do us good – even in the midst of what we call trial or things that we dimly perceive as life struggles – is founded upon the infinite majesty of His faithfulness and the blood of His Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Whatever comes to pass involves this omnipotently grounded promise of God to His children, such that we know that in all things God is working for our good in that ultimate sense of glory.  This is the promise and Christ is the basis.  There is nothing more sure in all creation than this covenant, than God’s dealings with His people.

And what is our response?  Certainly it is not an arbitrary or inauthentic, almost insincere joy, as if we ought to “act” one way outwardly because we sort of think that we are a people of promise, while inwardly we are cursing the day we were born.  May it never be!  This insincerity we already have in abundance in modern evangelicalism.  No, God “rejoices” to do us good.  Think upon this reality – God…rejoices…to do us good…at the cost of Jesus Christ.  If we can stare into the daily refinery of suffering and trial, believing that God – in the midst of it – is rejoicing to do us good in and through it, and that this intention is omnipotently purchased and guaranteed by Christ’s love, should we not, with that measure of resolute faith in the promise, really, inwardly and outwardly rejoice in whatsoever comes to pass, that in that will we are drawing closer to Christ, closer to eternal bliss with God.  Ought we not to become bold, courageous, fierce with the Gospel of Christ in all things if we embrace with solidarity this covenant truth.  Let us therefore imitate Christ who submitted, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.  Remove this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will,” and after that will had been accomplished, looking outwardly horrific and hopeless, the Spirit writes, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men,” but, “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death,” and thereby sinners may be reconciled to God through faith in Christ and His merit on our unworthy behalf.  So God is working with joy to do us good in Christ and in all things to bring us to glory.  Let us then rejoice in these awesome realities purchased for us by our Lord Jesus Christ, taking comfort in whatsoever God has ordained should come to pass in our lives, knowing with absolute confidence that God’s goal is our ultimate good in everything and that this goal is being carried out with Sovereign omnipotence in view of Jesus Christ.

A Life Entry on Idolatry and the God of Romans

This is an assessment of the response that I was hearing following dear Dr. David Platt’s sermon wherein he quoted the first eight chapters of Romans.  Hopefully, it applies to what we call a life entry.

I admit enjoyment in his quotation, and find in it an admirable quality.  There is no doubt that the grace of God is blowing feverishly upon that young man.  Moreover, there is no doubt that he did not intend the kind of response that I was hearing as a part of the background noise preceding class soon after.  This is – after all – the danger of such a display of grace.  Humanity is inclined to honor the man rather than the God who called him, converted him, made him usable, sanctifies him for His glory, and works through him so that the Scriptures properly teach us, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure,” and again, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me,” (Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:29; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:10).

Therefore, when I heard murmurings about the greatness of the man instead of the greatness of Romans 1-9:5, I became grieved in heart.  If we can hear Romans read or quoted to us, or if we can sit down with this pure Gospel itself and read it straight through, and glory in the messenger more than Romans 1:16, 17, or 18, or 3:21-26, or 5:1, 6-11, or 6:4, or 7:24-25, or 8:1-4, and 28-39, and more than this, in the God of Romans, then I say we have terribly missed the mark; we have sinned; we have then committed idolatry; we have shown forth our Romans 1:18-32 tendencies, and I no less than anybody else.

I am thankful to God for Dr. David Platt, just as I am thankful to God for John Piper and Al Mohler, John MacArthur and John Owen, Charles Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards; and I’m just as thankful for Eric Schaefer, Patrick Harmon, David Lyles, Bryan Barley, Joe Keune, and Daniel Moore, my friends who constantly sharpen me.  But I am infinitely more thankful that I know the God of Romans through faith in Jesus Christ, and that He has made Himself known to me, the wretch.  I am infinitely more excited about knowing and enjoying God – oh, His glorious benefits, promises, and words I do love and long for, but these are but the infinite rays streaming from the Eternal Son.  Christ is preeminently beautiful.  God help me to always honor Him, while thanking You for faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.

Bible Entry – Galatians 1:10

I have continued in Galatians 1 for it seems too long now as I have tried to balance the demands of seminary with the privileges of Christianity, husbandry, and the tiresome church search.  However, Galatians 1:10 has prodded my heart recently.  “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  This verse falls as an extension of v. 1 to distinguish the apostle from the false teachers.  Paul seeks to establish the origin of his apostleship and, thus, the true allegiance of Gospel-oriented teachers.  It is important coming out of vv. 6-9 that we capture the literary context of v.10:  When Paul speaks of “approval” and aiming to “please”, he means in relation to his preaching and the Gospel of the grace of Christ.  In other words, Paul bears witness to the pure Gospel because he is seeking the approval of God.  Conversely, it seems apparent that the impure and heretical doctrine that was being taught had an impure motive accompanying it.  These teachers sought the approval of man.  They aimed to please man.  I do not mean to sound as if this is hard to do or not a danger for believers to fall into; it is a great temptation for every person to seek the approval of men and so to cloak the message with light-hearted words, smiles, giggles, jokes, and stories; or to distort the pure Gospel by removing the offense of the cross of Christ.  In so doing, they offer a kind of message within which the salvific power of God is not pleased to dwell.  “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:18.  Moreover, by there charismatic speech they demonstrate human ingenuity rather than a “demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:4b-5.  

That being said, bondage to Christ brings a pure Gospel.  This has inclined me to examine my motives in all things but especially in the preaching and teaching of God’s Gospel.  Why am I doing this?  When I study, do I study unto the Lord or for the applause of men?  When I preach, do I preach unto the Lord and with a passion for His name and the advancement of His Gospel or for the acclaim of people?  When I teach, do I teach so that I can hear myself articulate doctrine well or do I teach with a compassion for God’s flock?  

Bondage to Christ is correlative to pleasure in Christ.  “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  The idea expressed in this verse is this – the one we aim to please is our master.  We are the slave of the object of our affections.  If we aim to please man, then the message and our lives will morph into a display pleasing to men.  People will feel comfortable with us in our ungodliness and impurity.  People will applaud our message because it strokes their sinful humanity.  However, if Christ is our pleasure, then we will enslave ourselves to Him for His service, with His Gospel, to His Church and the world of unbelievers.  Now we see that whatever the object of our pleasure, to that we are a slave.  Redemptively, then, to be a slave of Jesus Christ is to aim at pleasing Him because (1) He has enlisted us for His service (2 Timothy 2:4), and (2) He is most pleasurable and worthy of our servitude (Psalm 16:11).  The more we take pleasure in Christ, the more intimately we will serve Christ, and in the context, cling to the Gospel of pure grace and the activity of that grace enabling faith – this alone is the basis of salvation – faith in Jesus Christ who saves.  If we aim to please God and seek His approval, then we will offer ourselves as willing and living sacrifices unto Christ, while embracing and loving and preaching and serving in the Gospel of His sheer grace.  God help us to remain steadfast in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Scripture Entry on Galatians 1:6-9

Galatians 1:6-9 has been a treasure trove for me over the last week and yet I feel as if there is much more to refine and be refined by.  It is my anticipation that even in writing this journal entry that God would be pleased to run me through the laver of these Gospel verses.  I will state the implied verses and then offer my thoughts concerning them before attempting to succinctly summarize them at the last.  Vv. 6-7, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”  This cries out to me, “Know the pure Gospel and stand fast in it.”  

First, it appears that Christian professors (in the old sense of the word) are not impervious to the assaults of the devil.  Paul admits that he is astonished by these frivolous Galatians who having received the pure Gospel of grace (v. 9), are now turning to a different message.  Applicably, they might not have given much attention to the pure Gospel at first so that when a false message came they were not equipped to stand fast.  How sound are we today in our understanding of God’s free grace?  Do we know it so soundly that we would repudiate the intrusion of anything else that masqueraded itself as God’s Gospel?  Would we be able to defend the Gospel like the bold Philippians (1:6-8)?  There is a pure Gospel and we must know it intimately, – “(He) called you in the grace of Christ.”  This Gospel is God’s Gospel.  God calls the sinner in the grace of Christ.  By the phrase “in the grace of Christ” we are to ascertain that Christ alone saves, that God’s effectual call comes in no other way than in Christ’s grace, and therefore, that this unequivocally negates the possibility of human superiority as a means of salvation, – but this is exactly what they were turning to, – circumcision and the Mosaic law.  

Second, we must notice the heresy involved, be warned, and prepared for Gospel warfare.  The Holy Spirit does not waist words.  Paul’s sentence is very pointed.  He writes that they were deserting “him” and turning to “a different gospel.”  They were deserting a Person in turning to a false message.  It is as the title to John Piper’s book goes, that “God is the Gospel.”  In desertion, they were not turning from an idle message but from the living God to a dead word.  They were making hash of God and the exclusive provision that He has made so that we might be reconciled to Him.  This is practically if not doctrinally easy for us.  For we think much of the Gospel that saves us by grace through faith in Christ at a point in time, but after that point in time we swoon back into days, months, seasons, traditions, pride, and self-righteousness as the vehicles that “take us home from there.”  But it is not so!  Humanly speaking, remove Christ from me this day, and this day I have merited hell.  So the grace of Christ must be our daily creed, hope, pursuit, and means of fruit.  “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:2)  Verse 7 stands to warn us and move us into the discernment required of us in vv. 8-9.  The point of this verse is that there is one Gospel, – one true and pure Gospel of the grace of Christ, – but many distorters.  This serves to warn us both to be on our guard against any other message and any promoter of it.  It helps that we are here warned so that we might be prepared for the fight, for we are not so taken by surprise when we know the enemy is alive and nearby.

Verses 8-9 seek to equip us with discernment. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”  This is a word to preachers: mind the biblical Gospel lest we trespass against God and injure God’s people as well as our own souls.  Beyond this Paul means to call our attention to the pure Gospel.  There is a Gospel that is “the one we preached to you” and “the one you received.”  The call is to remember the apostolic teaching concerning the Gospel of Christ’s grace so that anything contrary to it might be immediately repudiated.  Moreover, the message validates or condemns the messenger.  Whoever proclaims a contrary Gospel is to be accursed.  There is a battle for the pure Gospel.  This battle ensues within evangelical Christianity, the world (with its principalities and powers), and even the daily practices of the doctrinally sound.  The good news is that there is a pure Gospel to fight for, a Gospel that belongs to God.  Paul writes to the Philippians that they were to “with one mind (strive) side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents,” 1:27-28.  Others strive against; Christians strive for the Gospel!

In summary, there are wolves in sheep’s clothing who preach a kind of gospel that sounds appealing to the pride of men.  This gospel is religious, meritorious, measurable, traditional, and human.  It is not God’s pure Gospel.  This Gospel is centered on the grace of Christ.  It reveals the absolute depravity of man to save himself.  In its place the cross of Christ is erected as the only means of salvation.  On the cross Christ made a perfect substitutionary satisfaction for sin so that sinners would be reconciled to God on the basis of faith in Christ alone.  This is the Gospel that we must contend for with all earnestness, – in our teaching, preaching, living, suffering, dying, – precisely because the doing of these things belongs to the grace we have been given in Christ our Lord.  Let us hold fast the pure Gospel and strive for the faith of this Gospel.  Eternity is at stake.  Let us worship God now in His majesty.  He has called us in the grace of Christ, therefore, let us contend mightily for it with the grace He supplies.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

A Stroll with Christ

Communion with God is an immeasurable grace.  However, there must be a means of measuring its immediate effects.  These effects are inwardly known, loved, and embraced.  The activity of them, however, remains to be seen, practiced, and applied to the lives of others.  For example, I spent a morning and a significant portion of the afternoon having fellowship with Christ.  Simply to say that I have had fellowship with Christ is that immeasurable grace.  That the Son invites me to dine with Him is unspeakably awesome.  The immediate effects of this communion were realized in evangelical prayer, meditation, sermon reading, and the study of Galatians 1:6-7. 

By this I offered up to God the lost souls of many amongst my family and friends.  Christ inclined me to be burdened for them.  As odd as it sounds I was also drawn to several ants that were marching about my feet.  Therefore, I spent some time observing them as the Scriptures teach us to do.  By them I was encouraged to look at my sloth and to examine my disciplines.  By these creatures beneath me my gaze was cast Godward.  Christ exhorted me to greater focus and depth in ministry and ministry preparation.  I read John Calvin’s sermon on Galatians 1:1-2 and found great exhortation to a sober watchfulness.  In days past I found myself deceptively inclined to believe the message because of the man preaching it.  I think this is a common deception.  Calvin made use of Paul’s word to the Galatians to remind me of the superiority of Jesus Christ and what accords with His doctrine.  Christ taught me of the depth with which I ought to aim in studying and recognizing His authoritative Word. 

Lastly, I spent time studying, journaling, meditating, and praying through Galatians 1:6-7.  I’ll leave my notes from this study for a Scripture entry to come.  The overwhelming theme of these verses concerns the Christians preparation for warfare.  There is one true and pure Gospel, but there are many dissenters and distorters.  The Christian is to take care that he does not desert God and turn to a “different gospel,” which Paul quickly qualifies by writing that it is really no gospel at all.  In this text there is an intimate connection that the Holy Spirit illumined for me, and it is the connectivity that exists between God (whom they were deserting) and the gospel (in this case, a false message unto slavery).  Paul does not say that they were turning from God to another “god”, but from God to another “gospel”.  I think it underlines an important principle:  Whom we believe is connected to what we believe, and the link between believing God and believing the pure Gospel is authentic salvation, – this God has “called you in the grace of Christ.”  Grace!  Grace beckons us to hold fast to the pure Gospel of Christ, and to have it set in our hearts and on our tongues with a great earnestness and evangelical defensiveness. 

In summary, the time I spent with my Lord today was full and rich and sweet.  I walked with Christ and talked with Christ, and am now convinced that this must be a regular part of my week.  It was a time of real refreshment.  It was the fulfillment of that injunction to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and of that promise – we shall be satisfied.  (And) although that ultimate fulfillment will come in glory, yet the foretaste of it is rapturously sweet.  For this I thank my God and look forward to many more lengthened strolls with my Wonderful Counselor.

Life Entry

Due to this semester’s workload my blogging will be rather inconsistent.  However, I am taking a class on personal and spiritual disciplines that requires me to write a journal throughout the semester as a way to measure my practice of these disciplines.  This journal will consist of 9 pairs (18 total) entries on Life and Scripture or Bible (9 on Life and how it is to be viewed from Scripture; 9 on the Bible and personal devotional illumination, etc.).  For this reason, many of my posts will simply consist of these entries, as well as 10 other “designated” entries that will cover three complete book review entries, an entry on practiced fasting, evangelism, chapel, 4 hours of silence and solitude, etc.  I hope that you will find these edifying.  I will begin by posting the “life entry” that I typed from today.  Without further writing…

Life Entry,- August 19, 2008 – 543 words

I write this afternoon in a state of elation over the immediacy and goodness of my God.  Since early February my wife, Jenny, and I have been asking the Lord to provide the means of selling our house in South Carolina in anticipation of our move to Louisville.  Until today God, in His infinite wisdom, had not done so.  Last night we prayed very specifically that God would make a way in the inward parts of the most recent visitors to our house, impressing it upon them to make an offer.  This morning I prayed alone that our Father might this very day effect the selling of our house in light of His provisional name and thus His nature and disposition towards His children in Christ.  This afternoon, on my way home from campus, I prayed asking God to forgive any of my idle words with regard to this situation.  Furthermore, seeing a new dimension to the equation, I asked the Lord to provide a place for us in Louisville that would not cripple us financially so long as our home remained unsold, – but I also told Him that I know that He is Sovereignly wise (He already knows this of course), and so I thanked Him for all that we have learned of Him, of ourselves, of grace, mercy, prayer and dependence upon Him, and for all of the godly people that we have met here that we perhaps wouldn’t have met otherwise (only God knows).  I concluded by affirming that God could  provide the means of selling this very hour, and so I asked of Him that He would do just that, and that He might grant that this prayer would be the prayer of faith that He is pleased to answer in Jesus’ name.  When I walked through the door of our friends apartment (they have graciously put us up for a time such as this), I found my wife grinning from ear to ear, – this morning an offer came in on our house!  Together we wept, and thanked our God who answered my last prayer within five minutes of “Amen.”  Granted we are extremely blessed and not at all in the impoverished situation of that wonderful little Philippian church, but Paul’s resounding conclusion in 4:19 became alive for us this day, – “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” such that we worship Him with Paul, “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen,” 4:20.  In a sense our heavenly Father has bound Himself to provide for His children for the sake of His covenant with Christ in us.  There is no greater measure of love and Fatherly provision, – He has given His Son, and called us to be in Him, such that we are adopted and He obligated to provide aid for us (need) as we move forward in the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I now pray that the offer will go through, that our experience of His grace will forever soften us to others, and that we will be able to more intimately and really bear witness of His grace in Christ alone.  Amen.