Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Earning or responding to grace

Every believer has the duty and privilege of honoring (obeying, pleasing) the Lord. The problem is that many Christians just don't understand how and why they are to do that. The 'WHAT' is that which the scriptures declare, in other words we are bound by the scriptures alone in all our conduct.
The problem is however understanding the proper motive and goal of our obedience.

A "PERFORMANCE-based" (legalism) approach says:

1. We seek to 'please Him' so that He loves us

  • He loves us, because we first loved Him

However a biblical understanding of the gospel of grace says:

2. We seek to 'please Him' (2 Cor 5:9) because He loves us

  • We love Him, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)

Our salvation does NOT begin by our initiation NOR is it maintained by our performance. Christ not only drains the cup of God's wrath towards us, but in addition to that Jesus Christ imparts to us His righteousness. The righteousness of Christ imparted to us, seals the love of God toward us for eternity, in other words if God's love was to fade toward us then that would mean His love is fading toward Christ (how unthinkable).

The Lord produces works in His children by lavishing His love upon them, this is why the scriptures make such a strong link between our knowledge of God and our growth in godliness.

Ephesians 3:14-19

14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

What about the abuses??? Let's be honest, there are certainly people who abuse this knowledge of the grace of God. Allow me to put forth two categories then:

1. Those who view the grace of God as a 'license to sin' (Jude).

  • 'Since God loves me and forgives me, why not sin ALL the more!!!

THIS person has twisted the grace of God, has trampled upon the blood of Christ, and needs to repent and be saved (this is the typical mentality of a lost 'decision' convert).

2. Those who conveniently avoid conviction in their life, by crying out 'legalism' whenever their compromises are confronted.

  • "Since I don't 'earn' God's love and am 'free' in Christ, therefore why be legalistic since this is something that I enjoy and it's not blatant sin"

This is the believer who's understanding of God's love and grace, serves more as a shield from 'conviction' in their daily living rather than greater motivation to pursue the Lord without distraction.

The grace of God should cause GREAT rejoicing, and produce in us GREATER 'freedom' to serve the Lord because we KNOW that we are greatly loved. The knowledge of God's love for us should drive us to be more heavenly minded, more free to let go of things which others may be pursuing, more willing to restrict ourselves for the sake of the gospel, and more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We then are ABLE and WILLING because we have been TRANSFORMED into new creatures and have been SATISFIED by floods of merciful LOVE.

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