E-study for May 20, 2021

Devotional:  Romans 12:3-8 

From Holly: 

Reading this section from my Complete Jewish Bible, the first part of verse 6 kind of jumped out at me this time around.  “But we have gifts that differ and which are meant to be used according to the grace that has been given to us. . .”  The gifts are meant to be used “according to the grace” we each have been given.  Webster’s defines “according” as “in conformity with; as stated or attested by; depending on”.  First of all, Paul makes it clear that we have All received grace from God.  I think that it then stands to reason that All those in relationship with God through Christ have received a gifting from Him as well.  The way I understand it, there is no need to seek another, secondary experience with Him (another “baptism”) in order to receive this Spiritual gifting.  Consider 1 Corinthians 1:4-9: “I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace that was given to you in Messiah YeshuaFor in Him you were made rich in every way—in all speaking and all knowledge— just as the evidence of Messiah was confirmed among you. So you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you eagerly wait for the revealing of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. He will also strengthen you until the end—blameless in the Day of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah our Lord.”  Paul is addressing the believers that he will later in this same letter call “babies” and “worldly people”, yet he says that they “are not lacking in any spiritual gift”.  Maybe part of the problem trusters of Christ have with understanding /knowing what gift they have received is because they haven’t really fully received the grace God has extended to them personally. While it is true that Christ died for all people, and we are united in His Body, it is still just as true that He chose to go to the cross just for you.  Think of it this way:  in the story of the Prodigal Son, the father tells the older son that all he owns has been available to that him all along.  It is just that the older son didn’t recognize his father’s love, nor did he receive the “gifts” that were given through that love.  Instead, he spent years resentfully trying to earn that love!   In the same way, are we having troubles accepting God’s radical personal love for each one of us?  Are we holding some sin against ourselves (essentially rejecting God’s forgiveness of that sin and putting our own judgement above His)?  While we may make mental assent to God having forgiven all our sins through the work of Christ on the cross, have we REALLY accepted the full extent of God’s extravagant love for each of us personally?  Do we live under the impression that our sins of today and tomorrow are not wiped clean by Christ’s blood in the same way that yesterday’s sins are?  Are we working in God’s house because we love Him for what He has done for us personally, or are we working in His house to try to appease Him?  Whew!  Where did that come from?  In any case, it seems to me that God’s grace and our receiving of gifts from His Spirit are linked together.  I am thinking that if the gifts are meant to be used dependent upon the grace given to us, before we go looking for gifts (and erroneously thinking we need a second experience to receive them), we need to fully embrace the grace that has already been given to us. 

Devotional reading to be shared on May 27:  1 Corinthians 13:4-13