The Shadow of His Grace

J. Gresham Machen, in The Christian Faith in the Modern World wrote, “What I need first of all is not exhortation, but a gospel, not directions for saving myself but knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news? That is the question that I ask of you. I know your exhortations will not help me. But if anything has been done to save me, will you not tell me the facts?

I am not here to say that exhortations do not have a place in the Christian’s life. We find exhortations again and again in Paul’s writings, especially at the end of his epistles, and they should be proclaimed with all of the fervor that we can muster. However, we as God’s people (and unbelievers, also) need to hear the Gospel again and again. We need to be reminded that Christ Jesus did what man could never do: live the righteous life required by God’s Law, and then die “once and for all” to pay the penalty for our sins. He suffered God’s wrath on our behalf in order that we could be declared righteous before God.

So even as we battle against our enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we must always have at the back of our mind the knowledge that it is not what we can do that makes us right with God, but what Jesus has done for us. Even as we “press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” we must do so resting in the finished work of Christ on our behalf.

May His grace always overshadow all that you think, say, and do.

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