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Christian Life

What Is Grace REALLY All About?

I love God’s grace! I love knowing that even though there are times when I mess up (and it happens a lot), God is still there waiting for me with open arms. I once heard someone explain grace this way:

Grace is getting what you do not deserve.

That explanation is absolutely correct. When God extends His grace to us, He is extending love, forgiveness and reconciliation to us. When we mess up and sin against God, we don’t deserve these things, but He gives them to us anyway; we get what we do not deserve.

Lately, my husband and I have been struggling with the way many American churches present the concept of God’s grace.

We’ve noticed over time that many Christians view grace as an excuse to continue living the way they want and not the way God wants. The usual argument is,”Well, everyone makes mistakes. Besides, God will forgive me.” While that argument is essentially true, it misses the point of grace.

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined Him in His death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with Him in His death, we will also be raised to life as He was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin (Romans 6:1-7, NLT).

The point of grace isn’t for us to live however we want because we know God will take us back. The point of grace is God’s acknowledgment of our humanity. God knows we aren’t perfect, but He expects us to patiently allow Him to work in our lives and constantly make us perfect–that’s called sanctification.

Sanctification is the process by which God makes us holy and perfect. Justification is a one-time thing–we inherit Christ’s righteousness as soon as we confess our belief in Him. Sanctification is a continuous process–God works in our entire lives to make us perfect, as He is perfect.

But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48, NLT).

Girls, I’m not saying that we won’t make mistakes. I know from experience that sometimes it takes years to overcome certain sins and cycles of ungodly living, but as we spend more time with God and learn to trust Him more, we should see fruit in our lives. We should notice that we’re overcoming sin and temptation in our lives. In John 16:33, Jesus tells His disciples to take heart because He has overcome the world. Jesus has overcome the world and since we were joined with Jesus in baptism, then we’re part of the One who has overcome the world. How cool is that?

I would much rather see the fruit and power of Jesus in my life because He’s helping me overcoming sin and temptation through Him than to have to keep drowning in grace because I’m not trusting the power of Jesus. I know we won’t be perfect until we get to heaven, but that doesn’t mean we should use grace as an excuse to keep falling into sin, does it?

Girls, I want to know, what are your thoughts on grace?

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous (1 John 2:1, NLT).

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves (Galatians 5:16, NLT).

More Stories Like This on Project Inspired:

“What Do I Do If I Don’t Know My Purpose Yet?”
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Image: iStockphoto | ThinkStock

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6 Comments

  1. WriterGirl

    Posted by WriterGirl on August 18, 2013 at 21:36

    We had a guest pastor today, talking about this very subject. He used the story of Jesus and the woman caught in the act of adultery, from John chapter 8:1-11, and what he said was amazing. I hope you don’t mind if I share. (I’m using the NLT for the verses, by the way.)

    Verse 6: “. . . but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.”

    The pastor focused on the phrase, “Jesus stooped down,” saying (roughly; I don’t have amazing memory or anything xD), “This, to me, is one of the most amazing verses in the Bible. Jesus stooped down. He got down in the dirt /with/ her. He didn’t tower over her like her accusers did–He got down on her level.”

    (I’m going to skip ahead a bit; it would be really long if I didn’t. :P)

    Verse 10: “Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’

    Verse 11, part 1: ‘No, Lord,’ she said.”

    The pastor pointed out that, right here, she calls Jesus “Lord;” recognizing Him for who He was, and reverent of Him. Repentant. Truly sorry.

    Verse 11, part 2: “And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. . . .'”

    The pastor dwelt on this for a bit as well, saying (again, roughly, as I still do not have amazing memory), “Here He lets her know that He understands everyone has fallen. That He knows she’s not the only one guilty here–the man she was with was just as guilty, but they didn’t bring him to be stoned. Only her. Accusing her personally, as Satan does to us. He doesn’t remind us about the sins of others. He only reminds us of /our/ sin, because he wants us to thinks we’re alone. But Jesus wants us to know we’re not alone. Everyone has sinned, and there is grace for all of us if we are truly repentant.”

    Verse 11, part 3: “‘. . . Go and sin no more.'”

    Here the pastor said, “Now, He didn’t tell this woman that all her sins would be forgiven, and so she could go on sinning and it would be okay as long as she asked for forgiveness after. He let her know there would be some work on her part. But He was also telling her that He understood; that everyone fails sometimes, and that He would always be there for her. Even when she was down in the dirt.”

    The sermon was more than that, but this is what stood out to me the most, especially the bit about Jesus being in the dirt with us.

    Annnd I’m done now. xD

  2. vanilla

    Posted by vanilla on August 18, 2013 at 19:50

    Amen! You explained it really well.

  3. Rachel223

    Posted by Rachel223 on August 18, 2013 at 18:26

    I think that repentance also goes hand-in-hand with grace – we should always repent of our sins and try to live without sin. “We’ve noticed over time that many Christians view grace as an excuse to continue living the way they want and not the way God wants.” I would say that these people aren’t repenting of their sins, they’re just continuing to live in it. I think that people truly receive God’s grace when they repent and try to work on their sin and live more holy lives. Of course, we will always continue to make mistakes, but knowing that God is ready with His grace gives us another thing to be thankful for. 🙂

  4. Posted by Nicole on August 18, 2013 at 17:32

    I love this article, thank you Jenn!! I am so glad that God is so patient with us and loves us even when we sin and fall short. I will really try hard to be sanctified through my life to grow closer to God. 🙂

  5. PumpkinGirl

    Posted by PumpkinGirl on August 18, 2013 at 09:34

    I agree with what you said, most churches nowadays just say that it’s okay to keep sinning because God will forgive us right away. You explained grace in an amazing way, Jenn!!

  6. worship

    Posted by worship on August 18, 2013 at 09:19

    Thank you for posting this! Grace is a truly wonderful thing, but if we don’t understand what it does for us, then we will never fully experience it! I love that God loves us no matter what, but we should still try to please Him. He is our Dad! 🙂 Again, thanks for posting this!

    God bless!