Thursday, June 11, 2015

Not Our Will or Strength, But His Grace

"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." (Ecclesiastes 9: 11)

Solomon the Great King, blessed by God with incredible wisdom, because a jaded cynic toward the end of his life, recognizing that for all the things that he had, it was empty:

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 1: 2)

Man needs life more than anything else, yet when Adam disobeyed God, he forfeited life for all mankind in turn:

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2: 17)

And yet:

6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves." (Genesis 3: 2-7)

Jesus, God made flesh, explained why Solomon, and the world at large, ends up so empty in the vain pursuit of things:

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16: 26)

Yet He provided the answer then:

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10)

And more specifically:

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14: 6)

Now, when Solomon saw life under the sun, that is before man's eyes. Yet because we are in Christ today, we reign in life with Him (Romans 5:17)

Now, people may construe Solomon's remarks about "time and chance" as unfair. The truth is, we receive all things not because of our strength, speed, or will, but because of the grace of God:

"12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1: 12-13)

Indeed, in Christ we have won the race, because He has made us sons of God:

"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Hebrews 2: 10)


"So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." (Romans 9: 16)

Today, we should not fear that God is arbitrary and the final outcomes are out of control. We have a living, loving God who grants us grace upon grace (John 1: 17; Romans 5: 17) because of His Son Jesus:

"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted (highly graced, favored) in the beloved." (Ephesians 1: 6)

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