All Is Grace
Posted on December 7, 2018 by Erin Culleny in Freedom Fighters
All is Grace. ~Karol Józef Wojtyła
The outpouring of grace in us all, belongs only to Christ and this sanctifying causality results in the intimate union in Christ; and between divinity and humanity. ~ Thomas Aquina
By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. … You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. … So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Romans 8
Oh beloved, it is true.
There is no doubt that we understand the astounding destiny toward which we are traveling. As believers, and even as any human being who is even remotely aware of spiritual things, we know it. We are going to live forever.
And to get to this place whole and accepted, is what motivates most of our actions throughout our lives. We might not be consciously aware – each and every moment. But, in that moment between wakefulness and sleep: we know. In moments of clarity we can even sense it. We will exist for all time.
How can we overcome this infinite obstacle? How in the world is some body and brain, designed to live up to 120 years, going to make it into the first pulse of the clock of forever?! There are only two paths: 1) Try on our own, in the power of our flesh. Or, 2) Enlist the Power needed to get the job done.
Oh yes, we hear about ‘walking in The Spirit’ in church. But, as even the Apostle Peter said, sometimes the Apostle Paul spoke in ways that were hard to understand (cf. 2 Peter 3). But, just as Peter said in that chapter, if we get things twisted, we will be in trouble.
Can we see it?
It is actually unbearably simple. To walk in the Spirit is to yield our natural inclinations and strengths to the Only One who has the power supply adequate to both enter and sustain the Joy of eternity. But this is where our flesh screams back in argument.
However, simplicity – even disturbing simplicity – is simple, if we allow ourselves to see it. We are limited human beings. No matter how powerful we actually become, we will run out of fuel. We will run out of time. Every choice we make, takes us out of play for trillions of others.
Said simply: the existence of a man is a zero-sum game. If we play away a card our life, it is gone forever, and there is no way to regain it.
We give away years of health by eating improperly, and filling ourselves with chemicals.
We seek pleasure on our own terms, but find ourselves more used up than when we started.
We chase after honors and respect, only to climb that mountain and find it dry and barren.
Anything we do in our own strength is, as it is written in Jeremiah 17, “Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.”
For some of us though, we finally get it. Moses saw a glimpse of it at the burning bush. He saw the fire burning the bush, but the bush was not consumed. And in this moment, he had this epic revelation that all of his efforts up to this point in his life had led him to nowhere but watching sheep in the desert. And it was here that he finally saw a glimpse of what was to be ahead – The Spirit of G_d had descended up this bush. It was an infinite fire. True Fire; fire that enlightens and gives vision. Not fire that just broke things down into ashes.
Paul speaks about this often, but Jeremiah summarizes things beautifully in the same passage: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
All through Scripture, and all through the lives of those who have succeeded in this life; who are surely gaining even greater purchase in eternity, saw it: G_d is working to perfect us. It is a work that requires the same power that it takes to raise a man from the dead.
However, once we get it, we start to see the truth: Infinite power does not just do the minimum work required. Rather, the infinite and good power of G_d (Grace) begins at once to work on our nature in Christ and sets about maturing us is a symphony of pain and suffering and joy and weakness and strength and love and hope and faith.
So, are you feeling like you are using yourself up trying to do your life? You are. And, it will never work. If we stay on this path, we will use up our own fuel and we will be nothing. However, if we allow ourselves to be overcome by Grace, we begin to see that we can dance forever in Him.
Tonight is your night. Let Him write the symphony of your eternal life.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Daily Quote: O Christian, never be proud of things that are so transient, injurious, and uncertain as the riches of this evil world! But set your heart on the true and durable riches of grace in Christ Jesus. ~Isaac Ambrose
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5