Thursday, January 25, 2024

Embrace Grace

Thursday, January 25, 2024

 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.  Acts 15:11

Embrace Grace
When it comes to grace, people usually go wrong in one of two ways.  We either think that we’re too far gone for it and dismiss it or we take it for granted and abuse it.  While they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum, they’re actually just two different expressions of the same problem; they both view grace as weakness.  The first group lives as if grace is too weak to rescue them and the second group lives as if grace is too weak to transform them. 
Both are wrong.  Grace isn’t weakness.  Grace is power.  It is power to save and to transform; to cover all of our sins and remove them from our lives; to get you off the hook and to get you into the zone of transformation.  Listen to Paul’s testimony: For I am the least of the apostles, not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10
I love that.  First, Paul relates with those of us who think we’re the exception to God’s grace.  If there was ever a candidate, it was Paul, not you.  Apparently, his sin wasn’t too powerful for God’s infinitely more powerful grace and neither is yours.  Paul could have lived in perpetual guilt for what he had done, or he could have taken advantage of what God had done for him.  But he didn’t and look at what he accomplished.  Grace isn’t just a cheap perfume you splash on to cover the stench of your sins; it’s the power to change your life from the inside out.  
Yes, grace is more than just divine favor; grace is power.  Power to save, power to live right, power to talk right, power to walk right, power to give and power to forgive.  God’s grace is the power to do anything God calls you to do in His name; power to pray and power to overcome.
We are quick to understand the need of grace for our forgiveness, for if God was not willing to offer us salvation we would have no means for securing eternal life.  But do we make the grace of God “in vain” when we ignore it as our source of power to serve and minister in His name?  We can certainly seek to please God with our righteousness but we know that is of no effect for salvation.  (He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5)  Can we learn the same is true for our service?  Our feeble efforts bring God no glory.  It is His working in us that brings Him praise.  

Paul reminded the Corinthians that when we allow God to work in us we remove all temptation to pride and position.
  Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one may boast in his presence.  It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption—  in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.  I Corinthians 1:26-31

We have the same options as Paul.  Embrace the power of God’s grace and imagine what you’ll become.  Ask God for His grace to power your life through those difficult places and relationships.  In the end, you will have reason to praise Him.

so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21

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