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I started this blog when I was following the Life Journal Bible reading plan on YouVersion. (I've since completed that plan.) At that time, YouVersion didn't provide any way for people to respond to my notes, other than to "like" them. So this blog is here to remedy that problem. You may comment on my notes here in the comment section.
I also have a general blog.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Grace & Works

29/10/11 Job 20; Mark 3, 4

S: Mark 4:34-35 Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

O: Some people are bothered by this passage as it appears as if Jesus is being rude to his mother and siblings. But I don't think so. Jesus was merely taking the opportunity of his relatives coming to visit him to teach about the family of God. Everyone who does God's will is in the family of God.

He probably then went to greet his relatives after making this spiritual point. If I remember right, the Jesus Film portrays it this way -- he got up to go see them right after saying this.

A: I have been having a discussion online with a bunch of people who emphasise grace lately. They were making the point that we spend too much time obsessing over sin, instead of focussing on Jesus. There is some truth to that. But we also cannot go too far -- in this passage and many others in the Bible, God has made it clear that obeying Him is a very important part of the believer's life.

While we recognise that our salvation is by grace through faith and not of works, it is also indisputable that works is evidence that someone is in the family of God. A life characterised by sin is evidence of not being truly saved by grace through faith.

The part that I haven't quite figure out is, what about habitual sin that I continue to struggle with? Some of those Christians in the discussion online that I referenced above said, essentially, that my struggle to stop that sin proves that I don't believe in grace and am trying to get out of sin by the flesh. "Let go and let God" is one way I've heard it put. But what does that mean in real practical day to day living? Some of the discussion has verged close to basically saying to go ahead and sin and just trust that Jesus will eventually solve it. But scripture is clear in instructing us not to sin. So this is still an unsolved issue for me.

P: Father, I am committed to follow You. I know I can confess my sins and receive your forgiveness, and I do so when I do sin. Bring me into Your perfection, even as I am muddling along here on earth. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)


  1. Hi Dr Ian, from what i read of and know about grace, here's how i would put it on the matter on habitual sins..

    "go ahead and sin and just trust Jesus will eventually solve it" is definitely not the way, and its totally out of the heart of God..

    habitual sins are difficult to handle, it takes lots of time and lots of determination to get rid of them. If, you are only striving with your own strength.

    the grace of God proven on the cross should not be used as an excuse to continue sinning... but instead it should be used as a strength to come out of the wrongdoings.

    from what i've learn and experience, on the first try of trusting His grace, maybe after a few days i get back into the habitual sin, but i thank God that His grace is sufficient. and say, im gonna try it again..

    the next time i sin was few weeks later... and that's an improvement. did i still fall short? yea i did, but this time few weeks apart..

    so, try again, depending on His grace.

    But what does it mean to depend on His grace? For that, one must first understand and appreciate the story of His grace. His love for us.

    When you know that Someone loves you, you would wanna do your best not to hurt that person right? It applies here as well.

    i hope this helps :) God bless!

  2. I don't know if trying to link into Facebook like this will work but here is the discussion on Facebook that started this.

  3. It appears that the Facebook link does work, at least, if you're logged in to Facebook.