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God's Unfathomable Grace - The Book of Revelation
Week 42, 2016
Here we continue our study of the church at Thyatira that represents the church of the Middle Ages (538-1798). The Catholic church at that time had two major accomplishments that greatly benefited Western civilization. The first was stopping Islam from subduing Europe. The second was keeping belief in the present working of the Holy Spirit alive.
King Ahab, the husband of Jezebel, was one of the most wicked kings in Israel’s history. He allowed Jezebel to sow the worst kind of idolatry and immorality throughout the land. Yet when Ahab humbled himself just a little before the Lord, the Lord responded with remarkable grace. Grace and forgiveness are basic to the Lord’s nature. You see this kind of unfathomable grace repeatedly extended toward the church in the Middle Ages, even to some of its worst leaders after similar small expressions of humility and repentance.
As we look at the darkness and depravity of these times, we can’t help but see the truly amazing grace of God and power of the cross to redeem and restore even the most evil. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (see Romans 5:20 NKJV). Jesus said those who are forgiven much love much. As deep as the devil can get into us, once he is removed, Christ can fill us just as deeply, thereby turning our weaknesses into strength. So as we look at the deep darkness of the times, let us look for how the unfathomable grace of God overcomes evil with good. I expect to see the grace and glory of God revealed in every denomination, including the Roman Catholic church.
As we look at the church in history and the deep depravity it fell into, let us also look for and expect the Lord to fill the church with Himself in those same areas. Let us do this with ourselves and with others. No person, church, or organization is beyond the power of the cross to redeem and restore. As we view the errors, we look for the purpose of seeing the grace and redemption of God. In this we now see the Roman Catholic church. Just a couple of centuries ago, it hit possibly its deepest darkness with the Inquisition, but by the second half of the twentieth century, it stood so boldly for freedom that it was fundamentally responsible for dismantling the Iron Curtain. It has also become a primary power in confronting the deep darkness of abortion and standing for the integrity of the family.
In the greatest darkness we can find the greatest grace, but it is not a grace that overlooks our sin. Rather it exposes and extracts the sin, and then the sin nature, from our life. Jesus had seemingly unlimited grace for sinners, but little for the prideful and self-righteous. We are not better than those who did these evil things if we are the recipients of more grace. It is all about grace. It is all about Christ.
This brings up another important lesson—what causes some to be the recipients of grace and others not? It does seem to be as simple as “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (see James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 NKJV). There are biblically prescribed ways that we are told to humble ourselves. The wisest are those who know these and seek to do them. There is nothing on earth more valuable than the grace and favor of God, and He has made it abundantly available to any who seek it.
next week 43