Monday, November 15, 2010
What thought comes to mind when you think of having “Access?” Access is a very important aspect of life. Access gets us into places, and gives us an audience with people, that others are not afforded. Access allows us to enjoy things that others are not privileged to enjoy. Access gets us things that others can’t have or reach. Access can grant to you in a moment, what might otherwise take you a lifetime to accomplish.
There are many things that give us access in our daily lives. Your keys give you access to your house and your car. If you are a trusted employee you probably have access to buildings, offices, or equipment that you don’t even own. Passwords give us access to computer systems from anywhere in the world. PINs give us access to money in bank accounts even at night and on holidays. Credit card numbers give us access to purchase products at anytime, anywhere, even when we have no money in our bank accounts. Student I.D.s give us access to food in cafeterias as well as entrance into programs and ball games which non-students can’t attend. Your citizenship gives you access to government protections, privileges, and benefits which a foreigner doesn’t enjoy.
Access is a blessing that is often overlooked until it is denied. We don’t think much about the privilege of having access to transportation until we lock our keys in our car. We don’t think much about the easy access we have to friends and family until our cell phone or internet service stops working. We are not generally all that thankful for having access to the power grid until a storm interrupts the electrical supply. When the access we are use to is denied, restoring it quickly becomes a top priority.
We all want the privileges that access provide; but…what about God? Is it possible to gain access to the Lord Almighty? Is it possible for mere mortals to gain access to God’s power, His grace, His wisdom? The answer is a definite yes! “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:13) Through the sacrificial death as payment for our sin and through the resurrection, Jesus has made it “possible” for us to have access to God the Father. But what is it exactly that gives us this access? Is there a key, a PIN, a password of some sort? Preachers often have people repeat the so called, sinners’ prayer, as thou it is the password that gives us access to God. I am not necessarily opposed to repeating the sinners’ prayer, but one can chant the sinners’ prayer until their voice is spent and yet be no closer to gaining access to God than they were before. Romans 5:1-2 clearly tells us what opens the door of access to God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.” Faith is the password (so to speak) that provides the access to God’s forgiveness and righteousness which Jesus shed blood has paid for. Though Jesus has already provided the funds to pay “our” debt, and then fill our account with “His” righteousness, without the PIN number of faith we have no access to receive that transfer. God’s gift of grace is available to all, but only those who gain access can take advantage of it.
I have a Dodge Ram 4x4 pickup with a V10 engine. It has lots of power to get you through the mud and snow, as well as pull a big load. I can park my pickup in your driveway but if you don’t have the keys, all the power that is available under the hood of that pickup would be of no use to you, because you have no access to it. Faith is the key that gives us access, not only to salvation, but to all of God’s grace. “we have access by faith into this grace” So what then is grace? Grace is God’s unearned “favor” and “empowerment.” If you are a Christian you have “by faith” already tapped into grace for salvation, but grace goes far beyond favor and empowerment “just” for the forgiveness of sin. Grace can empower us to live a holy life, demonstrated by the fruits of the Spirit. (Gal.5:22-23) Grace can empower us to walk in wisdom and the gifts of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 12) Grace can empower us to reign and rule in every area of life. (Rom. 5:17) But grace is accessed “only” through faith! If we desire to live in God’s favor, we must live and walk by faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb.11:6)
I have a sixteen foot stock trailer that hauls 6 head of cows that I pull with my Dodge pickup with the V10 engine. I have more than enough power to pull a much larger load of cattle but my trailer doesn’t have the capacity to hold more. My pickup has the “ability” to easily pull a 24 foot trailer, hauling 12 head of cows, but I don’t have access to one. Therefore much of the power that is available to me is not being put to use. Likewise we live far below the power that God intends us to live in. God’s grace has the "ability" to lift us far above our ordinary existence, empowering us to do extraordinary feats in His name. To do so however, we must learn to access God’s grace (favor and empowerment) through faith. By accessing grace through faith, Joshua was able to make the sun stand still in order to accomplish what God had promised He would do through him. (Joshua 10:12-13) Now that’s tapping into the “access”.
We cannot “make” ourselves have faith; so how do we go about building our faith in order to access this grace? Romans 10:17 say “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” In order to build our faith we must read the “Word of God” and apply it, not just to our heads, but primarily to our hearts. We must find the promises of God found in the scriptures, meditate upon them, and speak them over our situations. Not everything that happened in the Bible is a promise made directly to us, but we can certainly use what God did for others as a foundation to build our faith upon. We can pray things like, “Lord you healed the eyes of a man born blind, you healed the woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years, you raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, so I am trusting in you to heal my child of this cancer.” “Lord, you turned five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food to feed 5000 people, and you caused Issac to get a 100 fold return on his crop in the middle of a famine, so I too am believing that you will supernaturally provide for my need as well.” The Word will build our faith in “who God is,” as well as “who we are in Christ;” so that we, like Joshua, can make the sun stand still over our battles and cause the mountains that stand in the way of Gods promises to us to be hurled into the sea.
“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt. 17:20)
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father.” (John 14:12)
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is working within us.” (Eph. 3:20)
Posted by Gregg