Grace is the greatest thing that ever happened to you – and it came to you despite your best efforts, or your worse moments!
It is possibly easier to have a clearer understanding of the great doctrines of soteriology or eschatology than have an understanding of the full implications of grace. Grace has profound consequences on the way that we think, speak, believe and act – nothing is left untouched by it.
If it is true that grace has such a far reach in our lives, then some thought has to be given towards some of the wider implications of what grace at work in our lives may be.
- It serves a greater purpose than redeeming sin
Grace is not limited to the awesome truth that comforts the hearts of all in Christ, namely that our sins are forgiven because Jesus took the penalty for our sin, not because of anything we did, but because He chose us, loved us, cleansed us from our sin, redeemed us and reconciled us to God, giving us an inheritance with Him.What grace also means in our lives is that we live differently. We don’t have law at work in our heart anymore, but there is a desire to do the things that honour God in our lives. We willingly want to live our lives in righteousness, we don’t have to please God, (we already do that because we are now ‘in Christ’) but it brings joy to our hearts to walk in obedience. When we sin, we have and advocate with the Father and our repentance and reconciliation is a prayer away – no need for a priest, or crushing acts of penance. Grace at work in our lives changes everything. It comforts us because we know that God is not punishing us when things go wrong, indeed, we are elated to discover that all things are working together for our good – and all because of Him!
- We’re not supposed to understand it – but what you believe about it is important!
Grace astounds us, astonishes us, but at times leaves us wondering what it is all about. It is important that we grasp and appreciate what we learn and what others have discovered about it by way of good theological understanding because, if we are living by grace and not by the law, we need to understand where we stand. It is important that having the understanding that we are walking in grace that we continue in it. Our dealings with others also must be considered and we must be very careful that we do not allow even a hint of control or manipulation in getting our way with others. We treat people the way that Jesus treats us. No control, manipulation, coercion or anger – just grace upon grace.
- Grace leads us to walk in obedience
We are in Christ, with nothing to prove because we go to heaven because of what Jesus has done, nothing of our own works. When we get to heaven we are rewarded for all the things we did. And the things we did, we did because of the inspiration, love and servitude that God placed in our hearts Himself. In other words, we get to heaven because of the works of Jesus, and get rewards because of the works of Jesus! The grace of God leads us to live our lives imitating the obedience expressed in the life of Jesus in the gospels. Grace urges us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, making him as my friend Paul Cain once preached, the magnificent obsession of their hearts.
- Grace is for us.
You never stop needing grace. Tullian Tchividjian’s catch phrase speaks volumes, “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”, and expresses grace in its depths. God has provided everything that we need in the person, life and work of Jesus and the continuing work of the Spirit. You can also read this as “Grace is for us“. Grace wants us to grow in God, trust Him, obey Him and please Him. It is for us, and with us and a gift to us. Don’t let your heart grow weary, grace leads us on, without hesitation, welcoming us into the presence of a Holy God who longs to hear from us, and for us to encounter His faithful loving kindness.
- How to get more grace…
So, grace is unmerited, undeserved and free. You can’t earn it, but there is a way that scripture teaches us that we can get more! There is something that you can do, that will get you more grace!! The reality is that the very thing that brings more grace into your life is actually a work of grace, so in effect, God is blessing you because of what He has done! God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6) God opposes the proud! That is worth noting in our culture!
Terry Virgo’s fantastic book on God’s Lavish grace will thow open an encouraging new view on the way that God sees you and deals with you, well worth a read!