Lately I have given much thought to my view of God’s grace. I believe that my salvation is a gift from God. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, it is not from works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 Can it be any more clear?
Lately I have given much thought to my view of God’s grace. I believe that my salvation is a gift from God. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, it is not from works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 Can it be any more clear? Along with my own experience I have observed many Christ followers working hard to earn what they already have.
The experience of most Christians is to balance out their behavior in such a way that we maintain a high level of confidence in our righteous position before God. As a Pastor I see this all the time and even experience it in my own life. For instance here are some examples.
• We spend most of our time fighting sin rather than embracing our freedom. Embracing grace means embracing our freedom. It’s been purchased for us through Jesus. But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, and having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. Romans 6:17-18. We are not slaves to sin so why should we fear it or keep fighting it. We are slaves to righteousness and are free to live the life God has for us.
• It’s easier to trust ourselves than trust God. We know that our salvation is by grace through faith. It begins with faith and continues with faith if we are to grow. The apostle Paul put it this way. For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.” Romans 1:17 God does not ask us to go from faith for our salvation to works for our sanctification (spiritual growth). It’s all by faith. Bible teacher and Pastor Jon Courson says this. “We think we have to mobilize, organize, and agonize over our spirituality.” We should be diligent to pursue Jesus in all things but rest in the work of Christ and trust Him for the growth he has promised.
• We are paralyzed by our failures and empowered by our successes. Some much of what defines us is our past. Our failures and our successes. We can get stuck by both of them. Our failures tell us we are not worthy to go forward and God can never use us. Our successes tell us that we can do it on our own and can serve to reinforce faith in our abilities and good works. God can use both but never wants them to become the basis for spiritual growth. Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead. Philippians 3:12-13.
So as we begin 2011 lets work less and begin to experience the grace and power that Jesus gave us through his resurrected life.