Wonderful Sphere of Grace vs. the Burdensome Sphere of Law

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Circumcision” in Galatians 5:2-3 stands for the whole of the Mosaic system. The man who puts himself under the law becomes a debtor to the whole law. “Fallen from grace” does not mean “fallen from salvation.” Paul is not writing to people who have “lost their salvation,” because such a thing is not possible. He is writing to saints who have moved out of the wonderful sphere of grace into the burdensome sphere of law.

Watchman Nee says, “Law means I must do something for God; grace means that God does something for me.” How wonderful it is to enjoy the liberty of grace! This means moving out of the bondage of Romans 7 into the glorious liberty of Romans 8!

Warren W. Wiersbe (1929-2019)
Whole Bible Study Course (1965)
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The Secret of Contentment

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I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation (Philippians 4:12, NIV).

According to Paul, contentment isn’t natural: it’s learned. (:11). On our own, we desperately pursue whatever we think will satisfy, moving on to the next thing the minute we realize that it won’t. At other times our discontent takes the form of anxiously shielding ourselves from any and all suspected threats.

Ironically, sometimes it takes experiencing what we’d feared the most in order to stumble into real joy. Having experienced much of the worst that life has to offer, Paul could testify firsthand to “the secret” of true contentment: the mysterious reality that, as we lift up to God our longings for wholeness, we experience unexplainable peace (:6-7), carried ever deeper into the depths of Christ’s power, beauty and grace.

— Monica La Rose
Our Daily Bread, February 29, 2020
(adapted & edited)
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Real Spiritual Strength

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When Paul urges his readers to be gentle and patient with one another, he describes what real strength looks like. Earlier in the same letter he repeatedly expresses his prayer that his readers would join him in understanding the ability of God to strengthen them in their inner being with the love of Christ (Ephesians 1:19; 3:16-18). He prays that they will be given the power to understand the heart of God Who wants to do for them more than they could ever ask or think (3:20).

The old Paul wouldn’t have written this. Before meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, he was doing everything he could to bully and terrorize those with whom he disagreed. It’s a dramatically changed Paul who calls for the strength of humility, patience and kindness.

Mart DeHaan
(adapted & edited)
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His Truths, His Time, His Way

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Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).

Controversies can cause sharp divisions, bringing much hurt and discouraging people. I wonder if the problem lies not in what or even in how we express our views, but in the attitudes of our hearts when we do so.

There are times when we need to address false teaching. Yet Ephesians 4:2-6 reminds us to do so with humility, gentleness, patience and love – and, above all else, to make every effort “to keep the unity of the Spirit” (:3).

Some controversies will remain unresolved. God’s Word, however, reminds us that our goal should always be to build up people’s faith, not tear them down (:29). Are we putting others down to win an argument? Or are we allowing God to help us understand His truths in His time and His way?

Leslie Koh
Our Daily Bread, February 16, 2020
(adapted & edited)
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Feeling Chained?

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I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content (Philippians 4:11).

Boethius lived in sixth-century Italy and served the royal court as a highly skilled politician. Unfortunately, he fell into disfavor with the king. He was accused of treason and imprisoned. While awaiting execution, he asked for writing materials so he could compose his reflections. Later, these became an enduring spiritual classic on consolation.

As Boethius sat in prison, pondering his bleak prospects, his faith in Christ infused his perspective:

Nothing is miserable but what is thought so, and contrariwise, every estate is happy if he that bears it be content.

The apostle Paul reinforced the idea that the way we view our circumstances is more important than the circumstances themselves. While he, too, was in prison, he wrote Philippians 4:11. Both men could be content because they drew their ultimate satisfaction from God.

Do you feel chained to difficult circumstances? God can give you contentment. Lasting satisfaction can be found only with Him, for in His “presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).

Dennis Fisher
Our Daily Bread, July 16, 2014
(edited)
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Our society – as with many throughout the world, and across the span of time – places great emphasis upon the power and security of money, but there are a lot of things that money can’t buy.

Paul tells us that,

We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (I Timothy 6:7).

Also,

they who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a trap, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition (I Timothy 6:9).

He therefore reminds us not to,

trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who gives us richly all things to enjoy (I Timothy 6:17).

Among our greatest possessions are those that we can’t even hold in our hands. Money can’t buy you true peace, happiness, joy or security. With the backdrop of such capitalistic success that our society has known, and in the face of such unsettled financial stability, we need to look beyond the mere excesses of materialism and cast our eyes on those things which are of true and lasting value; those things which are outside of the realm of checkbooks and portfolios.

Take Calvary for example: How much would Christ’s work there have cost? How much would it have cost to buy the love of God? How much would it have taken to acquire righteousness? How much to obtain stock to be a joint-heir, or a co-possessor with the Son of God?

In the world of make-believe, do not get discouraged by the vanity of vapor and shadows; they are all so temporary. Keep your eyes on the prize:

the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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The Main Actor

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The Lord has done this (Psalm 118:23).

God is the primary actor in life. We often profess that God is somehow generally “in charge,” but we act as if all of the outcomes depend on us.

The Scriptures insist that God is the true subject of our lives, the true force. … So the pressure’s off. We don’t need to fret, compare, work with compulsive energy, or feed our many anxieties. God is in charge.

Winn Collier
Our Daily Bread, October 11, 2019
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