Pages

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What is Grace?

Ephesians 2:8-9 [KJV] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We've heard it preached: We can't work our way to heaven. Without the sin sacrifice of Jesus we have no path to God. Nothing that we do in our own power will ever be sufficient. Christ alone is our atonement for sin.

Isaiah 64:6 [KJV] But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

But, what exactly does that mean in the everyday life of the believer?  Does this mean that since we are incapable of becoming righteous by our own works that we then make no movement towards holy living?  Isn't Jesus' sacrifice sufficient to pay the penalty for each sin that we have already committed and any sin we will commit in the future?

Romans 6:1-2 [KJV] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

There is a popular Christian teaching about grace that seems to contradict many passages in the Bible (particularly Romans Chapter 6). This teaching implies that it really doesn't matter how we live our lives. This teaching implies that none of the sin in our lives holds any significance in our relationship with God. It is as if the grace of God is a 'magic pill' that we take to rid ourselves of the penalty of sin, but with no corresponding reduction of sin in our lives.  Now, having said that, there is no sin that is too big for Jesus to wash away. There is nothing we can do that is so bad that Jesus isn't sufficient to pay the penalty. Jesus paid it all, there is nothing we can do in addition to what He has already done.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

But, that misses the point of grace. Grace is not just available to wash away the penalty for sin in our lives, but it is also there as a provision to allow us to walk before God without sin. That means God has provided Christians freedom from not only the penalty of sin, but also from the dominion of sin in our life. We are no longer in bondage to sin; we are now slaves to righteousness.

Romans 6:11 [KJV] In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are no longer under the law, but under grace. This means you are no longer bound by sin; you do not have to submit to evil desires  because you have the power of the Holy Spirit (God Himself) to overcome. You, alone, will never be able to conquer your own flesh in your own power. But, the Holy Spirit can, and will, fight the battle for you as you submit your life more and more to to the dominion of the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:4 [KJV] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

If you are struggling with sin in your life, give it to God. He alone is able. Jesus paid the price so that you could live in righteousness.  Jesus' life, death, burial and resurrection was not a magic pill. All that Jesus did for you is everything that you will ever need to become an overcomer and live your life as a slave to righteousness.

Something to consider.

Love in Christ,
Susan