Until you ‘get’ Grace, you just don’t ‘get it.’ You have the cart before the horse or you’re missing the cart or the horse. Either way, you make faith harder than it is. Too many Christians live a life of defeat simply because they never really grasped Grace.
If you find yourself saying Grace, but…. you have not understood it yet. When you completely understand it, you no longer have to fear it. You no longer have to worry that sin is going to run rampant. It just will not happen when you understand Grace. There is nothing harder for us to get our minds around than the Grace of God. Once understood there is nothing more beautiful.
Augustine said it well when he said, “The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient and that I am utterly dependent on the merit of Another.” Satan wants the church to believe is that Grace is to be feared and therefore needs to be kept in check. He uses religion to instruct what needs to be done, to cloud the fact of the Gospel, which informs what God has already done. We think we earn God’s blessing or forfeit it by how well we live the Christian life. “You’ll never take pleasure in your work until you realize that the ‘work under your work’ has all been done by Jesus Christ.” The question,’ how are you doing in your faith?’ is a performanced based question. Struggle, fall, doubt does not describe your faith. That describes your humanity. It is the Gospel that continues to remind us that our day-to-day acceptance with the Father is not based on what we do for God but upon what Christ did for us. As Christians we stand before God today as righteous as we will ever be, because we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ. I don’t have to perform to be accepted by God. I am free to obey him and serve him because I am already accepted in Christ. My driving motivation is not guilt but gratitude. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
Too many times we focus on when it is ok to judge or not to judge. If the focus changed to ‘love your enemies, love your neighbor, love God’, that would make such an unbelievable difference in every area of life and in society. There is a reason that ‘get the beam out of your own eye first’ is in the Bible and there is a reason that God proclaims King David to be a man after His own heart even though he was an adulterous murderer. God sees the heart! God sees the struggle, but He knows the heart. When God looks at you or me He sees Christ, the perfecter of our faith. Christ is the perfecter of our faith. Wow!
Having begun by faith in the Grace of God, many continue by performance. Don’t do it! In a book by Jerry Bridges he says you need to “Preach the Gospel to yourself every day.” We tend to think the Gospel only for the nonChristian. Not so. Look at who God is, look at what He has done. Go back to Grace. Be enveloped by it. Bask in it. Until you ‘get it.’ Even then, “Preach the Gospel to yourself every day” to keep that horse in front of the cart. 🙂
Go forth in thankful gratitude for what God has done.