Today’s post comes to us from CARE for AIDS intern, Anna Wilke.
A few weeks ago we started a new sermon series at Auburn Community Church, the church I attend, called “Reframing Jesus” in which we are trying work past what we might think or have been told is true about Jesus. Instead we want to know Jesus for who He really is, who the Bible says He is. Learning the truth about Jesus is essential because the way we, personally, see Jesus will always directly impact the way we relate to Him. A.W. Tozer says it this way, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” If we believe this is true, we have to be careful to only base our personal view of Jesus on the truth we find about Him in the Bible and throw out any assumptions and beliefs we have about Him that do not align with those truths.
The first truth about Jesus that our lead pastor, Miles Fidell, talked about is His grace that empowers us. If we are in Christ, we receive three different types of grace: past grace, present grace, and future grace. Past grace is the forgiveness we received for all our sins when Christ died on the cross for us; it means we no longer have to be separated from God. Future grace is the promise of Heaven and an eternal life spent with our Heavenly Father. Both past grace and future grace are incredible gifts that we absolutely do no deserve. However, we tend to just focus on past grace and future grace and forget about the wonderful, present grace of God. Present grace is the life Jesus offers us in the here and now; one of His greatest desires for us is that we would actually live, not just exist. John 10:10 says that He came to give us an abundant life. Jesus is not only forgiveness for our past and the hope for our future, He is life now!
Like me, you might be wondering how we are supposed to continually abide in the abundant life Jesus has given us, Miles says this, “The present grace of God comes from being in the presence of God.” Coming back into our Father’s presence can be daunting if you have been running from Him, but receiving grace means that when you come back to God, it’s like you never left. Romans 8:26 says that the Holy Spirit is constantly interceding on our behalf, even when we are running. Grace tells us that we can turn around whenever we want to, we just have to be willing. Our Father desires for us to spend time in His presence, He sent Jesus to end our separation from Him, so we can come into His presence confident in the fact that He is not burdened by us. The presence of God can be the place in our lives where we feel most comfortable and confident because we know we are always wanted in the presence of God.
If you want to listen to Miles’s full sermon “Reframing Jesus: Grace in the Presence,” and I highly recommend it, here is the link: http://www.auburncommunitychurch.com/sermonarchive/