Grace: the free and unmerited favor of God
I strongly believe in the message of the grace of God. It’s not always been this way. I used to strongly believe in the message of good works. So which is right?
We know the Bible says, “Faith without works is dead.” That is true, also…obviously since it’s in God’s Word.
But where does grace fit into the equation? Glad you asked.
I recently heard a preacher say that grace and works go together hand-in-hand. Say what?
Let’s first examine what grace is and what grace is not.
Grace is NOT a license to sin, an expectation that God will just forgive you over and over and over again, a one way ticket to heaven on the “by the skin of my teeth” highway. Presuming upon the grace of God is wrong in every way possible. How do you know if you are taking advantage of the grace of God? If you are one of those people who sin and sin and sin and say, “It’s okay, God will forgive me. I’ll repent later. His grace covers me.” Do you realize that Jesus SUFFERED and DIED a horrific death for all those sins you’re committing? YOU are the reason He suffered and HAD to die. And the crazy thing is that He would do it again if He had to just for YOU. Because that is how much He loves YOU. Thank God the work was finished on the cross that day. FYI: that applies to me and everyone else who ever lived and will ever live on this earth. I’m just speaking the truth in love, folks.
What exactly is grace? Here’s how I put it…When I didn’t deserve to be happy, God gives me joy. When a person with cancer needs healing, God heals. When the drug addict or prostitute should be dead, God intervenes and saves. When we all should pay for our sinful ways by death, Jesus suffered and died in our place. Even though He was sinless and perfect, He paid our way for healing, salvation, righteousness, the abundant life, the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts and more. It’s not fair. Grace is not fair. With grace, WE got the better end of the stick. Grace says, “You owe me a million dollars. But, that’s okay. You don’t have to pay me back.” Or if your bank called you up and said your mortgage is paid off TODAY. What a great feeling, huh? Grace.
There are plenty of Scriptures about grace that I could post all over this page, but you can look them up yourself. Go to Biblegateway.com and type in “grace” in the search bar. You’ll have enough to read for awhile.
For word count sake, I’m going to break it down for you real simple.
Our faith in, belief in, acceptance of Jesus Christ (His life, death, burial and resurrection) produces salvation. Salvation means your sin debt is canceled, marked “paid in full,” by our awesome heavenly Father and ultimately you are getting a place prepared for you in heaven. Grace. He no longer holds your filthy sins against you. They’re gone. Hallelujah! That’s good news, right?
When you become saved or born-again (like we are so accustomed to saying) there is something that happens inside of you. You are changed. There is a conversion in your spirit. You are squeaky clean, white as snow. Now when God looks at you, He sees Jesus instead of old sinful you. You are a new person in Christ! You are like a newborn baby. As you grow and mature, you become more and more like Jesus. That’s what the word “Christian” means…like Christ. As you become more and more like Jesus, you start acting like Him and DOING the things He did.
And that’s where the “works” come in. When you have faith in Jesus, are shown the grace of God, you WANT to do good works. When you realize or understand what God has done for you through Jesus Christ, your heart desires to extend grace to those in your world. It’s like you received a heart transplant! So you see now? True faith and realized grace produce good works. It all goes together! You become the hands and feet of Jesus!
And of course, ALL of this is made possible because of the unconditional, never-ending, ocean-deep, amazing love of GOD. His love shows grace. His grace activates our faith. His love and grace shining through us produces good works.
Here’s a song that sums it up so well…
Amazing love, how can it be?
That you, my King, would die for me. (Grace)
Amazing love, I know it’s true. (Faith)
And it’s my joy to honor you.
In all I do, I honor you. (Works)
Let’s stop presuming upon God’s grace by doing whatever we want to do, whenever we want. Let’s honor Him in all we do. Let’s stop doing good works in hopes of earning our way to heaven. Let’s do good works because we want to show people God’s love and grace like He’s shown us.
I blog because of the grace and love God has shown me. I can’t keep quiet about His goodness and mercy in my life. If you would like to know more about God’s grace, His love or salvation, please just ask. God loves you so much and wants nothing more than to have a relationship with you!