Grace. I’ve sang, spoken, and blogged many times about God’s incredible, immeasurable, life-changing grace. Yet, the more I try to understand it, the more I realize it’s unfathomable to my finite mind. Just as His love, God’s grace is indescribable. My heart sings out a thousand times over, that God’s grace is nothing less than…amazing.
In my last blog, I wrote about how many people in today’s culture view God’s grace as a license to sin. Grace isn’t God giving us the freedom to do what WE want to do. It’s so much greater than that! The God of the Bible has always hated sin. And sin is always followed by consequences, unless there’s repentance. And often we still experience consequences even after true repentance. But before you label me as being a “works based” Christian, please hear me out.
I’ve seen the hypocrisy of both extremes within the body of Christ. Sin is attempted to be hidden behind the cloak of religion, and the other extreme is to excuse sin based on the redemptive work of Jesus. When we’ve seen and experienced the error of one of these “ditches”, it’s easy for us to swing to the other extreme. This is simply human nature. But we need to continue to come back to the balance of what God’s word says.
I don’t fear whether I’ve done enough or the right works, or whether God accepts me. No! Why? Because I’m pursuing the heart of God. When I mess up, the Holy Spirit faithfully convicts me. He gives me the opportunity to repent and make things right. And I don’t believe I jump in and out of salvation every time I sin…
No one will ever be able to pluck me out of my Father’s hand. And it’s absurd to be concerned that I’m not doing enough for God. The more I get to know my Lord, the more I can simply rest in Him. My focus doesn’t need to be on my works. If I focus on staying in His presence, good works will naturally follow.
We tend to either live in fear of losing our salvation based on our works, or we believe God overlooks our sin and doesn’t hold people accountable for them. These are two extremes and neither of them are biblical. But there’s another option. A greater one. Thank You, Jesus!
We can better understand what the third option is when we understand the meaning of grace. In the old testament, grace was usually defined as being found in favor of. The Hebrew word for this grace is “hen.” “An example of this is when Noah found grace in God’s eyes. (Gen. 6:8) Or Moses in Exodus 33. However, in the new testament, we now see grace in an even greater aspect. This description of grace “charis” not only means receiving God’s favor, but grace in the new testament includes receiving power from God’s Spirit. The wonderful gift of the power of the Holy Spirit is now possible in our lives, while it wasn’t in the old testament. Praise the Lord!
In the new testament, we find that grace and truth now took the place of the Law. (Read John 1:14-17) The pharisees were all about truth, but no grace. In the same way today, many people are repulsed by those who are legalistic and emphasize rules and regulations of the church. John 1:17 gives a clear picture of how the law was done away when Jesus came. Through Him, grace and truth are now an accurate picture. But without truth (following God’s commandments and principles) another imbalance will take place and deceive many. The whole truth of God is found when we base our theology on the complete word of God and not on one or two verses. I’ve found the book of Jude is another great book to read to better understand the balance of grace and truth.
I also encourage you to read Ephesians 2 for more clarity regarding grace and works. Especially verses 5-10. This is another passage that clearly communicates that grace and works are both important. Paul doesn’t separate grace from works in our sanctification, because he goes on to talk about us being God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to dogood works.
One definition of grace is this: The power of God in us to produce good works.
How can a painter say he’s a painter, when he seldom paints? Is someone truly a mechanic if he almost never works on vehicles? Let me then ask this question. Can we say we’re a “Christ-follower” if we don’t actually follow Christ and His commands?
God has given us the glorious gift of the Holy Spirit. Why? So we can walk in victory OVER sin. The Holy Spirit is so much more than we portray Him to be. What do you think glorifies God the most? When we heal the sick and cast out demons? Or when we claim His grace and live an overcoming life? The FRUIT of the Holy Spirit is more powerful than the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit.
The wrong perception of grace can encourage a pattern of sin rather than the power over sin.
My friend, I believe we are undermining the grace of God when we portray God simply as forgiving or overlooking our sins, rather than God being able to give us the power to have victory over our sins. Yes, because we are continually being renewed, we will stumble and fall. (I speak from personal experience. I’m so needy of God’s grace!) But when our sins become habitual and simply an accepted part of our lives, we’re no longer living under true grace. When we truly grasp the enabling help of the Holy Spirit, our focus will be in walking in victory rather than debating over the meaning of grace.
I know I don’t always avail myself to the over-coming power that’s available to me through grace. This blog has been the result of what God’s wanting to do in my own heart. I desire to more fully walk in the grace and power that’s available to me. How are you and I demonstrating the true grace of God to a watching and dark world? When Christianity loses it’s power, it loses it’s attraction.
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)
When we truly understand and walk in grace, our focus will be less on others and more on ourselves.