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).
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