Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Canopy of Grace

Scores of people are “do-gooders” reaching out to assist those in need, offering equal opportunities, and attempting to establish fairness and justice. We assume goodness earns us points in the eyes of people and God; we conclude reputations depend on the act of being good. All our human reasoning on goodness makes sense to us, but in reality, only God is good (Luke 18:19).  

Of course, our good God desires us to be good. As the Creator, He created everything good, and goodness prevailed until sin entered into the Garden of Eden. Many years later in the wilderness He gave Moses the Ten Commandments to direct the Israelites into right living, to protect them from evil. He told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 12:28 to be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God. And then in Psalm 37:3 David’s words tell us to trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 

Yes, God wants us to follow His instructions, to obey His word, to be good. He has written (through called men of God) every detail in the Bible to instruct us how to live (2 Timothy 3:16-17). He knows best. His wisdom and understanding far exceeds ours (1 Corinthians 1:25). Yet no where in Scripture are we told that our good works will get us into heaven. 

And still we work hard at being good. It may last for a while, but eventually we fail and fall into sin. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Well then, what do we do? How can we be good enough to get into heaven? We can’t do enough good or be good enough to enter ourselves into heaven. Eternal life comes only by the grace of God through belief in our Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

We are sinners and unable to achieve eternal life on our own. Enter the canopy of grace. Knowing His creatures, God planned an amazing act of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus exchanged His holiness and righteousness for our sinfulness. All the punishment we deserved He took upon Himself while we received His covering of grace. Thank you, Jesus!

This grace is His gift to us; we can’t work for it or earn it by doing good works. Scripture confirms God’s gift of grace to us in Ephesians 2:8-10— For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

That’s the good news in a nutshell—we are saved by grace, the canopy of grace only Jesus can provide. So what do we do? Where do we go from here? We believe in the one and only name of Jesus, accept His grace and mercy, and trust Him with our lives. We meet with Him daily and follow Him closely. Then we become God’s handiwork and fulfill good works through the precious name of Christ Jesus. To Him be the glory!

Read God’s words below. Receive salvation in the holy name of Jesus and be covered by His canopy of grace, love, and forgiveness. Work in His name to help others see His goodness and mercy. Give Him honor and praise. To Him be the glory now and forever!

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24 (NIV) that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. Titus 3:7-8 (NIV)

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV)

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:6 (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 3 John 1:11 (NIV)

I will exalt you, my God the King;
    I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
    and extol your name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    his greatness no one can fathom. 
One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
    and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
    and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
    and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and rich in love.

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you. 
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might, 
so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does.
The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cry and saves them. 
The Lord watches over all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
    Let every creature praise his holy name
    for ever and ever.
Psalm 145 (NIV)

May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (The Message)

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