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The Blessed Hope

(Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 12:26-29; Revelation 1:17-20; 11:15)

Lesson 13 -- first quarter 1999
February 28, 1999

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1998, Christian Light Publications

Someday I will be free, absolutely free! No more fear, depression and spiritual fatigue. No more covetousness, lust and evil imaginings. No more sin, temptation and sinfulness. No more tension, conflict and bitterness. No more aches, sore toes and allergies. No more work, bills and more bills. All these almost-daily factors of my life will cease and my life will be radically different. Praise God!

God's grace, bringing salvation to me and millions more, grants me this hope for the future. What grace! Grace that exceeds my sin and my guilt. Grace that refuses to be stopped or deterred by the most "hopeless" cases and chiefest of sinners. Marvelous, matchless grace!

But did you notice that verse eleven is followed by verse twelve? I know that seems really obvious, but get beyond that to see the implications of their content. God's grace doesn't just free us despite us and our circumstances. God's grace teaches something!

Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. Now that puts a different "face" on grace than many see in our age! God's grace doesn't free us from sin that we might live longer therein. God's grace isn't just about a one-time salvation event. No, indeed. God's grace frees us from sin that we might deny sin and live godly. God's grace begins with that salvation event and leads us into a salvation life.

"Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts." So many folks (and, I suspect, particularly young folks) feel that before they can reject wrong they must first hate it. That is not the case! We must choose between accepting or denying what's wrong. In other words, I don't have to be repulsed by rock music before I can reject it. Remember, the Apostle Paul testifies to giving up that which was dear to him in order that he might win Christ. So, dear friend, don't continue to indulge the sinful and the questionable while waiting (and even asking) for God's deliverance from the enjoyment of it. And even after you give it up for the love of Christ, don't despair if the attraction for and appreciation of it continues. God will cleanse that away at some point, but in the meantime He wants you to love Him enough and trust Him enough to deny that which you still find attractive. And to those of you who don't struggle with some of these things, an admonition. Don't be aghast that I'm still very enticed by combat reading, sensual reading, and the like. Don't

make me feel like a Christian failure or weakling for it. Just encourage me in my commitment to give it up despite my enticements and enjoyments.

"Live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world." See! God's grace isn't just hope for the future; it's also hope for today...and bright hope for tomorrow. Even in this present world, we can live after God!

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