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Finding Myself in the Journey, Final Part

For context read previous posts.

The final part of Piper’s quote is, “in a way that does not replace grace.” (Piper, 2004, page 44) Grace is the work Christ completed on the cross; it is a free gift from God. I am closest to God when I have this picture clearly in my mind, heart and soul. When I see God I have an abundance of joy that is beyond explanation. It is during worship or when I have responded to the Spirit’s prompting or when I am doing the work of God when I see God. I don’t see God when I fail to respond to the Spirit’s call for some change. There are times when I see God very clearly; usually when I feel as if I am being obedient to what God is calling me to do. The problem I have is this – sometimes I am replacing God’s grace with my action. I think this is exactly what the author is talking about; at least it is for my life. I know that Christ was obedient to God, and his obedience led him to the cross. The cross is where Jesus was glorified. This is a paradox for me that I am sure God will work out which is exactly what I am attempting as this is written.

In summary, I can find the gospel in Piper’s quote, “The essence of the Christian faith is learning to fight for joy in a way that doesn’t replace grace” and the action required by Christ followers. To learn and not act is not at all what Jesus asked his apostles to do or what the apostles asked those that would follow. Our joy comes from a deep understanding of what Jesus did on the cross then to follow his very actions. Out of love for people we are to tell others about him. Being a follower of Christ requires action. Jesus said to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Following Christ is our only source of true joy. This is what God wanted in the beginning. The brokenness of the world is why Christ had to come in the form of a man and teach, heal, die and finally be resurrected from the dead. This very action occurring in common man is where we find hope. God’s free gift to me is why I should be on the same mission to reconcile others to God. So then the essence of full living (the Christian faith) is to learn everyday to have more hope (see God more clearly and gain joy), even fight for it in a way that always recognizes Jesus’ gift of taking my sin on the cross (not replace grace).

Creed Branson, Executive Minister

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