“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalms 86:15
Over the last several weeks on Thursday’s we have been looking at the four basic attributes of God that can help us to understand the gospel. (see below for links to previous articles) Today, we will look at the Biblical truth that God is gracious. The word “grace” in the Bible refers to God’s unmerited favor or kindness. God is gracious towards us in that He gives us what we do not deserve. Grace is not something we can purchase, earn or even deserve. Grace is something God gives to us out of His own kindness and love. God’s grace is best understood in light of the previous attribute—His righteousness. God’s righteousness demands that a payment be made for breaking of His rules, but His grace compels Him to offer us salvation.
In Genesis 3:21-24, we see the first instance of God’s grace after the fall. In v.21, God provided clothes made from animal skins for Adam and Eve. This act prepared the way for the Old Testament sacrificial system and the coming of Jesus. In effect, the animals that provided their skins for Adam and Eve were the first in the long line of animals sacrificed in the Old Testament to provide a covering for sin. These sacrifices did not have the ability to forgive or erase the penalty for sin; however, they did provide a temporary covering so that people did not have to deal immediately with the full consequences of sin. Ultimately, all of the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament pointed forward to the coming of Jesus and His complete payment for sin on the cross (see Heb 9:11-14).
It is important to understand that we do not deserve nor have we done anything to merit salvation. God’s offer of forgiveness and eternal life is the result of His grace, not our works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Last week I posted a set of three articles dealing with the issue of anxiety. These posts came about primarily as a result of response to a sermon I had preached the Sunday before. I was shocked by the number of people who stopped me in the halls, or came by my office during the days after the message to talk about their struggles with anxiety. In the midst, it occurred to me that this is a much larger problem for Christians than I had imagined. Here are the links to the three articles I posted last week:
This morning I would like to share with some Bible verses to help you cope with anxiety. I hope that you will take some time to review and memorize some of these verses. If you have other verses that you have found helpful, please share them with us in the comments section.
BIBLE VERSE TO HELP YOU COPE WITH ANXIETY
1.) If you are anxious about the future.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a
future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared” Exodus 23:20
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34
2.) If you are worried about finances or material needs
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” Luke 12:25-26
3.) If you are worried about a decision
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
4.) If you are worried about opposition or enemies
“in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalms 56:11
“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:11-12
5.) If you are worried because you are going through a time of testing.
“Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8
6.) If you are worried because you lack strength.
“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13
VERSES THAT TELL US WHAT TO DO IN TIMES OF ANXIETY
1.) Overcome Anxiety with Faith
“casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
2.) Overcome Anxiety with Prayer
“”Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7