Grace is the magnificent and wonderful favor of God that is completely free, necessary but is often misunderstood and cheapened by emotionalism. The Grace of God is so much more than than a simple understanding of the favor of God. Considering the grace of God brings salvation to us, we must respect the grace of God as our pathway to heaven, and not diminish it to a get-out-of-jail free card. Deitriech Bonhoeffer used the term “cheap grace” when he wrote concerned the ignorance around which we use grace and fail to see the costliness of God’s Grace - it costs Jesus is life. He said particularly, “Cheap grace means justification of sin without justification of the sinner.”
When the grace of God is cheapened, phrases like the following are bantered, followed by an excuse for living less than God intended -
“No one can judge me…..”
“God loves me…..”
“I love God, I don't need the church…..”
Titus 2:11-15 gives some insight.
“11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”
Grace that brings salvation has appeared. Jesus has come to save us. Galatians 4:3-5 describes this beautifully, “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness. We are empowered through and by grace to deny ungodliness. Ungodliness is anything that impedes me from being transformed into his image. I want to be like Jesus! 1 John 2:14 summarized ungodliness, “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
Grace teaches us to deny worldly lusts. No man can serve God and mammon. Materialism that exists in the pursuits of money, sex, and power bombards us daily, but daily, God has made a way of escape. 1 Corinthians 10:13 asserts, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Grace teaches us that we should live soberly, in this time. Today’s cultural climate requires the church to have a sober, or clear mind. From the justice system to immigration, from the sanctity of marriage to the sanctity of life, there are a minefield of traps and hurdles that we must navigate to “make straight the way of the Lord. (John 1:23)” To do so, we must live soberly. The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:13-15, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Grace teaches us that we should live righteously, in this time. Not only having a clear mind, but also a clean life. Romans 5:19 states, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” In Christ we are made righteous, and we are made righteous for his glory. Therefore, we live in such a way that reflects the righteousness of Christ, in this time. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Righteousness is easily professed but hard to perform for a lot of Christians, because the performance of righteousness is just that - a performance. Believers don't become righteous or become holy, they live from righteousness and holiness. We are made right(eous) at salvation - and now we live from that righteousness. We must fully rely on the grace of God to give us both the confidence and commitment to live from the place of righteousness that he has made us.
Grace teaches us that we should live Godly, in this time. Godliness is the reflection of Jesus Christ in the Earth. Being God Incarnate, Jesus demonstrates the ultimate state of godliness. To live Godly, is to live in such a way that reflects God and his glory. Godliness can be summarized in two commandments, Love God with all of your heart, soul and stregnth, and love your neighbor as yourself. Godliness is possible, and Jesus Christ as made a way for us to live in godliness. Romans 12:2 teaches us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Godliness is not so much about what you DON’T do, as much as it it what you DO! Be compassionate, live holy, reach out, be aware that every person on the planet needs to experience the grace that you have experienced!
So let’s walk in grace today. God has graced us to accomplish what we need to accomplish today, and we have to trust Him. Walk in the grace of God.
- Pastor B