How can salvation from the power of sin become a reality? Being “saved by grace apart from works” is one thing, but being able to walk by grace…that’s quite another. How can we now live victoriously? What must take place in order for us to live free from sin’s control?
The word grace is a short, simple word. But understanding the biblical depth and meaning of grace can take a lifetime of study and application. It's almost a shame that a word describing suppleness of movement or a short, quick prayer before a meal is the same word we use to describe God's unfathomable love for sinners. Nevertheless, it is grace that moves Him to offer us the free gift of salvation and forgiveness.
Grace is what compelled the Apostle Paul to write of a mystery never understood before (1 Corinthians 2:7-13). Grace is also what allows us to relax into another's accepting embrace as he or she gives us the freedom to discover our unique journey laid out by God. So relax as we journey together down the path toward freedom and the wonderment of the surpassing riches of God's grace!
The story of Joseph’s life—his journey from the pit to the pinnacle—leaves us in awe. Few have known such highs and lows, and fewer still have lived a life so full of grace and forgiveness. If we choose to follow Joseph’s example, our lives can be marked by such noble traits, creating a spiritual legacy for those who come after us. What greater memory could we leave to those who love us than that of a life well lived—full of grace and truth?
Modelling God’s grace, Joseph welcomed his brothers into his home, responded to their mistreatment with kindness and blessing, and gathered into a family those who had long felt alienated. As we watch Joseph’s shamefaced brothers receive his outpouring of grace, we will be challenged to set aside our guilt and fear and accept God’s free gift of grace.
God is never obligated to give us health and wealth, but the story of Joseph is an example of a man who was rewarded for his righteousness and kept his integrity intact. From him we can learn a lesson in how to respond to those who prosper and those who suffer.
In life, testing is more often than not “par for the course.” But sometimes God rescues us from our plight, bringing us into new circumstances. For 13 years Joseph had been a slave in Egypt. And all the while, His plans for Joseph were in motion, leading Joseph to the cusp of his release from prison and an unexpected blessing. Through Joseph’s example, we should be encouraged to trust God—even in difficult times of waiting.
When it comes to temptation, our culture offers very little motivation to resist it. More often than not, we hear the voices yelling, “Give in! You deserve to be happy!” Truly, yielding to temptation is much easier than resisting it. Joseph provides a sterling example of one who could have cuddled lust and enjoyed its warm embrace but instead chose to resist its persistent, alluring offer in favour of righteousness.
In the workaday world of daily life, it’s simple to overlook the significance of the Gospel. Paul, of course, never did, and in this section of 1 Timothy—in one of the most practical and clearest presentations of the Gospel in the New Testament—he challenges us to open our eyes and our hearts, once again, to its wonder.
Though Christians should strive for personal integrity, we must remember that integrity does not equate sinless perfection. No one can achieve that goal in this life. A person with integrity doesn’t hide his or her shortcomings but confesses them to the Lord and to others. Let’s learn more about integrity in this lesson.
Christians need to take time to answer the significant biblical questions people have. And many of those questions have to do with the identity of Jesus. Who is He? Why did He come? What did He teach? How can I connect with Him? These are the same questions asked centuries ago by people who lived when Jesus did. Let’s see how Matthew’s gospel answers these questions.
In this letter, Paul requested that Philemon reinstate his runaway slave and accept him back in a spirit of forgiveness.