Do you ever read about the grace of God, but the words just bounce off your heart? The words are so familiar they sound like a rhythm—not real, active words of hope. They’re a concept, not a reality.
Grace of God. What does that mean for us, practically?
There’s a difference between grace and mercy. Mercy is when God withholds a punishment we deserve to receive. Grace is His unmerited favor. Simply put, mercy is amazing…but grace goes above and beyond! God not only withholds punishment; He abundantly forgives and gives us His favor.
I think many of us know this truth, but it still hasn’t moved from our heads to our hearts. This is why so many Christians believe in Jesus, but don’t actually live out the free, blameless, abundant life He promised (John 10:10). It’s why so many people struggle with self-hate and condemnation. They haven’t accepted God’s grace, so they don’t know how to view themselves.
Scripture shows us what a grace-based life looks like. When we grasp grace, really trust that God is good for it and live as if we believe Him, our entire outlook on life changes. Not only that—we become people who are no longer concerned with accepting ourselves but are motivated to share Christ with those around us. Accepting God’s grace leads to true confidence in our Christian identity, and this confidence leads to selflessness.
Accepting Grace Starts With Salvation
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so no one can boast.” When we respond to the Holy Spirit’s call by embracing Christ as Lord and Savior, grace saves us. We are assured salvation from judgment and separation from God. But we are also assured a present grace, God’s favor with us day to day. This is the part so many Christians miss. They know they are eternally secure, but they spend their days doubting God’s goodness and love.
What kind of God saves eternally only to withhold love daily? It doesn’t make sense! But that’s what happens when we believe the enemy’s lies, or follow our feelings, instead of grounding ourselves in the Word. We cannot earn salvation. So we can’t “unearn” salvation. It’s all God’s work on our behalf. If you believe God for your salvation, believe Him for daily grace.
Accepting Grace Is the Basis of Confidence
Contrary to what magazine covers promise, true confidence doesn’t come from a summer body or a new wardrobe. It comes from an inner assurance of who you are and where you’re going. We can drum this up with good goals and new year’s resolutions, but when we fail, we’ll doubt ourselves once more. Only when our assurance is based on something objective—something outside of us—can we know for SURE who we are. In Christ, we have this assurance!
Jesus gave us every part of His identity when we surrendered our lives to Him, believed, confessed and received the Spirit. We are righteous, heirs with Him, a kingdom of priests—everything promised in the New Testament to the redeemed saints. So when Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us then approach God’s throne with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace for our time of need,” we can take it to the bank! We can approach God with confidence because we are in Christ.
Accepting Grace Is Vital When You Sin
Most of us struggle to accept grace most when we know we’ve sinned. If you are a Christian, part of the Spirit’s job is to show you your sin and sanctify (purify) you into the image of Christ. This will take our whole lives! Though our salvation is secure, we can grieve God, resist Him and break peace with Him by sinning.
Repentance is the process by which we receive God’s grace for our sins. God’s favor can’t rest on sinful behavior, but the moment we confess and repent, He is “faithful and just to remove our transgressions and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” I love how powerful that statement is! Sin shall NO LONGER be your master. That’s a command! We can command sin away from us and walk out a pure life by listening to the Spirit, who produces spiritual fruit in our lives (Galatians 6).
I hope you see that accepting yourself—living out from under condemnation—can only happen when you know, understand and believe the grace of God through Jesus. This happens as you are in the Word! Get in it today. Tell the Lord your struggle with grace and repent of anything that is keeping you from peace with Him. Then ask Him to help you trust His goodness, because at the end of the day, that’s the one thing we can know for sure.