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Monday: Interceding for Grace — 20 Comments

  1. I would propose that there is a problem when we 'define' or conceive of grace as the typical "undeserved favour". Can you see what that problem is? As the lesson states "Grace is needed when people least deserve it. But when they least deserve it is also the time that we feel the least like offering it." When we consider grace as undeserved, our attention is (at least subconsciously) unavoidably drawn to the undeservingness of the other which risks impairment of humility.

    What if we instead see grace as providing assistance to someone who is in a position where they can't assist (fix or repair the situation) themselves (eg Romans 5:8)? I know it is a bit more of a clumsy 'definition'. But if you can understand the concept you may perhaps see that your focus is drawn to beneficently and compassionately reaching out to help another person back on their feet, rather than considering their undeservingness. I propose that this will promote more pure meekness and selfless humility.

    Consistent with God's nature and character as looking to the very core of what is going on for or with a person (1 Samuel 16:7), I personally do not believe that God ever sees anyone as "undeserving" (eg Luke 23:34).

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    • Hi Phil - I agree with your statement that ‘God does not ever see anyone as “underserving”. Actually, one could say that He sees us as ‘deserving’ because of the need only He can satisfy; the word ‘needing’ could therefore take the place of ‘deserving’. Without covering/satisfying our needfulness with His Grace, no change could take place in man's spiritual awareness and growth.

      I do not think that we can give grace the way our heavenly Father does. We do not have any grace of our own to give. I see it more like getting out of the way, allowing Him to open the door of our heart after we decided to remove our mind, the ego, as the gatekeeper of our heart. At the point of accepting Him and His Grace whole-heartedly, His Grace flows freely between Him and us and those we come in contact with. He committed Himself to our Salvation by Grace through our Faith and we accepted His gift greatfully.

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    • Phil, you wrote

      I personally do not believe that God ever sees anyone as "undeserving"

      My question is this: Does God see how things really are? Does He view reality?

      What is this reality? Do we really deserve the grace of God?

      "Deserving" carries with it the idea of somehow having done something for which we deserve some sort of remuneration. What have we done that God should owe grace to us??

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  2. If you listened in your mathematics classes in school you would have learned the communitive, associative and distributive rules. Having been a maths teacher in high school many years ago I know that many of you would have been too busy firing spit-balls at the ceiling or tying the hair-plaits together of the girls sitting in the row in front of you to remember such important rules. You may, in your innocence and inattention, have missed an important spiritual lesson.

    Take the distributive rule: It says tersely a(b+c) = ab+ac Or in spiritual terms: grace(me + others) = grace for me and grace for others.

    We often talk about the grace of God and its place in the salvation process. But, there is a bracket and it impies inclusion.

    Moses understood the meaning of the bracket. In his discussion with God, he inplied the notion of inclusion. In fact he went as far as saying, "exclude me" if that is going to help.

    Grace is a distributive operation, not an exclusive one.

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    • Yes, Moses had experienced God’s grace and never forgot. He understood the need for forgiveness and that everyone deserved it just as he did.
      What say us, how many times has God forgiven us? Accepting God’s forgiveness can change us as it did Moses. Let us be hopeful too that when forgiveness is extended to others, they will repent and accept forgiveness and pursue a new experience in Christ.

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      • Yes, grace is about forgiveness. And we should forgive, just as we need forgiveness also. And God gives us forgiveness for free, while we must ask and accept it! He can do that especially through Jesus, His Son that was offered so we could be able to receive the complete grace and be saved! By grace we are saved, in the sacrifice of Jesus, our most precious gift (or grace)!

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  3. All my life I understood that Moses was called to lead God's people from the land of slavery to the promised land. In the lesson on Sunday, 28 August, I read: "Moses was called to endure unending waves of gossip and criticism" Does the Bible teach this notion anywhere?

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    • I don't know about unending waves of gossip and criticism, but there are several references that indicate that he was criticized. Even his own brother and sister criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite. They got into trouble for this and Moses had to intercede for them. Then there were the times the people murmured against Moses because of the lack of food and water. And they ganged up against Moses when they attempted to enter the promised land the first time. I think there are enough examples to indicate that leading the Children of Isreal was a pretty thankless task.

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      • I did not ask what problems Moses had to deal with (I know it), I asked if the Bible teaches anywhere that God called him to do these things.

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        • Exodus 3 describes how Moses was called by God who spoke to him directly.

          It doesn’t explicitly say that God told him how difficult it was going to be - if that was your question.

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          • Thank you. It is close enough to conform that the statement in our pamphlet “Moses was called to endure unending waves of gossip and criticism" is not taught in the Bible.

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  4. I see Moses as meek, and selfless asking God to bestow grace on his people.
    Moses is depicting Christ or if you prefer is the type of Christ. Christ came into this world to save, as meek and selfless, He bestowed grace to all, in a world where we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Christ showed mercy, and love for every one, giving us a chance to allow His redeeming love to work in us. We take hold of His redeeming love by falling on our knees, asking for forgivness, grace, and mercy, getting up born again, grasping the gifts, and rejoicing in the Lord. The crucibles are tolerable now, well even strenghtening.
    Simply we have turned them over to the Lord. Peter tells us the benifit of humbling ourselves before the Lord. 1 Peter 5:6-7. Humbling before the Lord works for others too, as Moses exemplified.

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  5. Hi all, I've come to realize that God is gracious to me. Especially as I'm studying this WEEK.
    Can I be assisted Exodus 32:14 says God changed his mind.
    Does God change his mind❓

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    • Khayalethu, I think the real question is - does the LORD forgive your sins?

      I believe the LORD set out the result of Israel's sins and then when Moses pleaded with Him, the LORD forgave their sins. This means the consequences were different. God's character doesn't change, He operates based on His Principles of Life.

      I believe : God established His moral law from before the foundation of the world and progressively revealed His love, mercy and justice contained/inherent in His moral law/Principles of Life.

      The LORD always gives us a choice - worship, love and obey Him or choose our own way of living, just like the devil and his angels did in heaven.

      (3)
      • Hi Khayalethu,
        As i can see, your question was not answered. And what others tell you what your real question is may not be what you know your question is. I will try to answer the question “does God change His mind?” Instead of “does God forgive sins?” or “does God change His character?”

        God does not change His mind because He is omniscient and He knows everything before it happens. But people are not omniscient and it is natural for them to change their minds.

        When God said to Moses that He was going to destroy people (v10) it was not His intention. His intention was to place this scenario in Moses’s mind and trigger his response to this scenario. After Moses presented his argument, God told him that he would not destroy people and this time He said what He knew from the beginning what would be the result of the conversation with Moses.

        Moses reported that God changed His mind but in fact God did not changed His mind. It only looked *as if* God changed His mind.

        For the readers of the Bible, and certainly for Moses’s contemporaries, the event is easy to understand as Moses has described it. But my precise explanation above may not be.

        Your analytical mind demands clarification, and this is why you asked the question.

        Let me know if my response answers your question.

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  6. Thoughts I am considering –
    If sanctification is a process, than grace born of the Love of God is the only operative aspect which allows salvation of man to move forward. Whether it is the people of Israel having received God's Word from Moses, or us after having received the Word of God through His Son Jesus Christ, all of unsaved mankind are sinners saved by His Grace.
    His Grace is ongoing, ever present, never diminishing, though its manifestation is calibrated to demonstrate His most fervent Love for us as it is applicable under the individual circumstance.

    Ex.32:11-14 is remarkable to me in that it describes our LORD and God having ‘human-like’ traits of ‘wrath burning hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand.’
    God was ready to give up on changing the hearts of the people of Israel, but Moses reasoned with Him just like we would reason with each other to keep from committing a wrong born out of the anger and disappointment we experience at a present moment.
    What is especially remarkable to me is that Moses established his persuasive reasoning for God to change course on compassion combind with logic - Gen.32:12.

    Moses, as the peacemaker, teacher and leader for the spiritually ignorant people of Israel, becomes also their advocate, giving clear evidence of his renewed heart and mind which the Grace of God has formed within him.
    Could one say that when man expresses compassion and grace that God’s loving Grace within us communicates with its source found in the loving heart of God?

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    • Do you mean that God planned to kill people but Moses managed to keep God from committing the wrong born out of anger?

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      • Actually, Cezary, I would have to say ‘yes’ to your question. I see both, God and man, benefitting from Moses’ interception and advocacy. Scripture records many circumstances where the ‘wrath’ of God destroyed people right on the spot, but God would have rather wanted them to turn from their wicked ways. I do not equate human ‘anger’ with ‘God’s Wrath’, though. In the end, even Moses had to accept God’s decision not to allow him to enter the Promised Land.

        What the ‘Wrath of God’ actually is, I do not know, but it manifests itself in the ‘destruction’ of those who ‘deserve’ it according to Him; miraculously, on the spot, or living out their life without entering eternity.
        If I understand your comments regarding this subject correctly, you understand God’s words of impending actions to have been used to allow Moses to recognize his ‘own’ compassion toward his people, that God did not really intent on destroying the people. If so, Moses interceding on behalf of his people would have returned God’s compassion within him back to the source - our Creator, which I mentioned in my comment.

        I do not know the mind and ways of God, but I know that He allows destruction to take place. God being omniscient does not seem to prevent Him to plead and woo His people to love and accept Him and chose to live according to His Way of Life.
        For man, the freedom to chose one’s own will and ways or to accept God’s Will and Ways is the fulcrum on which all things turn.

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        • The wrath of God is an interesting study. My conclusion is that most times in scripture, wrath is is actually a direct consequence of human behavior. God is not an out-of-control tyrant. He is not punishing out of anger or disappointment. Like with Adam and Eve, He lets humans know the consequences of their poor choices and sometimes lets those consequences follow in the due course of time. He warns us so we won’t have to endure those consequences. Frequently, in His great mercy, He lets us escape the consequences we deserve.
          The story of the Exodus demonstrates His grace, mercy, and compassion, while providing the reminder that there are natural consequences of bad behavior. God seems to allow “wrath” being attributed to Him, even when it’s just the natural result of humankind gone amok.

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          • Barbara - thank you for the comment related to the 'Wrath' of God. I ponder to understand the 'Wrath' of God in the context of an experience as depicted in the Scripture. My musings are about how it forms in the spiritual relationship between Him and man.
            Since we relate to God as the Spirit of Truth and Light, does His wrath form as we disregard or callously discount His Spirit in our life? I think there to be more at play than man's bad behavior. I see His wrath more directed to the root cause - the unwillingness to receive a changed heart and mind; He judges the heart of man.

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