Our emphasis on the grace of God is beginning to permeate much of what we say and do in the Church in this day, but we need to emphasise grace at every step we take. The only legalism we can have is the mindset that says that grace is so imperative to the way we live our lives, that we simply must live by it!
Legalism is our default position and comes easy to us. We long for rules, regulations and as the army calls them, ‘standing orders’ to direct our activity, inform our thinking and govern how we do things. It is difficult then with such a mindset and way of thinking, to fully appreciate that Christ has done everything for us in terms of our salvation, our acceptance before God and everything that secures God’s approval. Nothing more can be added. It simply is beyond my wildest comprehension to assert that what Christ has done for us, is deficient in a single area – and that something needs to be added. We are not going to heaven because of our obedience, but Christ’s.
The faithfulness to God’s eternal purposes and total, radical obedience that He demands as the Holy God, is not met in our manic activity in a bid to appease God or secure His favour, instead it is fully and only met in Christ.
Tullian Tchividjian nails it when he says, “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”. Add something to the equation and you lose everything. Literally everything. Every reward we receive from the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ on that final day, is because of the work of God in our heart. He initiates everything of eternal value and consequence.
Surely, taking these things into consideration, the mandate of any prophetic ministry, gift or encouragement has to be one that not only embraces the message of grace, but that it also extrapolates it to its most radical conclusion. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3) Everything we need to please God, given by the resurrected Christ. We are not sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, from our initiative, but our sufficiency is from God, (2 Cor 3:5).
The ten commandments are wonderful because every last one of them is firstly for the honour of God who is jealous for His own glory, but also for our protection not only from God, but from each other. As we live in the grace of God it is a profound discovery that the work of the Spirit in our lives, leads us to a place where we don’t have to obey the commandments, but that we find those words etched on our hearts by the finger of God and want to live by those words; not as commandments, but as a radical Christ-exalting, God honouring way of life.
Praise God for the grace of God that enables us to live how the law requires us to live, and all because of Jesus’ astonishing life. Given for us.