This time of yr is crammed with all issues new. We clear out our closets and drawers to make room for the brand new Christmas items weve obtained. We flip the calendar on a brand new yr and take into account all of the upcoming yr holds. We set new targets and resolutions to make wanted modifications in our life.
As Christians, we additionally generally search for the brand new for our non secular lives. We glance to new methods and strategies to assist us develop in our religion. We search for new devotionals or books to encourage us in our progress. We could peruse blogs, take heed to podcasts, attend conferences and retreatsall within the hopes of discovering that one factor we havent but tried that may assist us develop in our religion.
Whereas have been grateful for brand spanking new books and might typically profit from new assets, to develop in Christlikeness we dont want a essentially new strategy. We want an previous one. The Lord has already given us every thing we’d like, and its been accessible all alongside: the technique of grace.
Technique of Grace
When Christ commissioned church buildings to make disciples, he gave easy directions: [Baptize] them within the title of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, educating them to watch all that I’ve commanded you (Matt. 28:1920). The disciples have been to make new disciples by preaching and educating all that Jesus commanded. They have been to then baptize these new believers.
The extraordinary grace of God, by the facility of the Holy Spirit, labored by these strange means to develop the church. Its the identical for us right now.
To develop in Christlikeness, we dont want a essentially new strategy. We want an previous one.
Theologians use the time period technique of grace to explain Gods provision for his individuals. Louis Berkhof defines the technique of grace as goal channels which Christ has instituted within the church, and to which he ordinarily binds himself within the communication of his grace. God makes use of these means to attract us nearer to himself, to commune with us, and to coach us in righteousness.
Bizarre Means, Extraordinary Grace
What are these means? In response to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, they’re primarily Gods Phrase, his sacraments, and prayer.
Within the e-book of Acts, the church grew by these very issues: They devoted themselves to the apostles educating and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).
And in all of the generations since, God works utilizing the identical strange means. Its how he feeds and nourishes us spiritually. Its how we abide in him. Its how we all know him. Its how we develop. As Michael Horton writes, Via these means, he has pledged to lift us from non secular dying, to forgive sins, to guarantee us of Gods favor, and to evolve us to Christs picture.
Phrase of God
Whereas books about the Bible are helpful, they cant change studying Gods Phrase and listening to it preached. Gods Phrase resides and energetic, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the ideas and intentions of the guts (Heb. 4:12). Not solely that, however religion comes from listening to, and listening to by the phrase of Christ (Rom. 10:17). For the nice of our souls, we cant forsake gathering with Gods individuals to take heed to his Phrase learn and preached each Sunday.
Baptism and the Lords Supper are additionally technique of grace. By the water of baptism, God seals us as his personal (Acts 2:38), and by the bread and cup he communicates Christ and his advantages (1 Cor. 10:16). Christ meets us at his desk, refreshing and nourishing our souls as we keep in mind his sacrifice for us on the cross.
Prayer is how we talk with our Father, responding to what hes taught us in his Phrase. In prayer, we reward and honor the One who made us, saved us, and sustains us. We confess our sin and ask God to fulfill our personal and others wants. As we pray, we reside out our union with Christ and others. And the Lord makes use of these prayers to hold out his sovereign will.
All of Grace
The phrase technique of grace reminds us that, from starting to finish, our life in Christ is all of grace. Our justification was by grace, our sanctification is by grace, and our glorification will probably be by grace.
We aren’t remodeled by our capability to learn Scripture, or how properly we take heed to it preached, or how fervently we pray, or how faithfully we take communion. We’re remodeled by the Spirits use of those means, by God’s grace and for Christ’s glory.
We have to stroll an previous path within the new yr. We have to learn and listen to the Phrase preached. We have to come to the throne of grace in prayer. We want the signal and seal of baptism, and we have to be part of our native church in celebrating the Lords Supper.
This new yr, stop your stressed trying to find the following new factor; relaxation as a substitute in what God has already given, trusting that he’ll use these means to finish the work he’s begun in you.