REFLECTIONS

According to the Christian church calendar, we entered to season of Lent on the 1st of March.  Like Advent, Lent is a time to open the doors of our hearts a little wider and understand our Lord a little deeper, so that when Good Friday and eventually Easter comes, it is not just another day at church but an opportunity to receive the overflowing of graces God has to offer.

And studying the Letter to the Romans is a potent tool for this.  Romans is a powerful book – and not easy to tackle.  Each time my cell group meets to study Romans there is almost a collective sigh “seriously, this has been a difficult study!”  (Press on, brothers and sisters!)

As we persevere through Romans, my prayer is that we all would appreciate and marvel at the goodness of Christ our Lord, through His death and resurrection has undone Adam’s sin, and set us free from the mastery of sin.  And we did not deserve any of this, as Romans 5:8 reminds us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Ephesians 2:8 echoes this, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God!”

          On that note, let’s take a moment to savour a song that captures this truth and challenges hearts and minds as we seek to live our lives as children of the most high God:

 

Consider Christ, the source of our salvation

That he should take the penalty for me

Though He was pure, a lamb without a blemish;

He took my sins and nailed them to the tree.

 

Refrain:

My Lord and God

You are so rich in mercy

Mere words alone are not sufficient thanks.

So take my life, transform, renew and change me

That I might be a living sacrifice.

 

Consider Christ, that He could trust His Father

In the garden of Gethsemane

Though full of dread and fearful of the anguish;

He drank the cup that was reserved for me.

 

 

 

Consider Christ, for death He has defeated.

And He arose, appeared for all to see.

And now He sits at God’s right hand in heaven

Where He prepares a resting place for me.

My Lord and God

You are so rich in mercy

Mere words alone are not sufficient thanks.

So take my life, transform, renew and change me

That I might be a living sacrifice.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his seminal book, “The Cost of Discipleship”, exhorts our spirits and challenges our hearts with this reflection:

“Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner.  Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. ‘All for sin could not atone.’ Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin….

… (in contrast) Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has.  It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods.  It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

… such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.  It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.  It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner.  Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.  Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” (p. 45 – 49)

          Praying that we at PSPC would be strengthened and encouraged by our study of Romans, “in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)

 

In prayer

Eld Kelvin Chen

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