God’s Amazing Grace -Part 1

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God’s love and goodness can be seen through His amazing grace. The Bible proclaims the grace of God but many struggle to believe it. Still others wonder what it really is or looks like. We have heard people talk about grace by describing a person who may be “graceful,” a company giving you a “grace period” to return an item or saying “grace” before eating. But these don’t explain God’s view of grace.

Grace is all about God’s love through Jesus Christ and the unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor that He freely gives without demanding anything from us in return. It is a gift from God and you can’t earn it! All we need to do is receive it. We each have been given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift; what God in Christ has done for us (Ephesians 4:7)! The Gospel of Grace in a nutshell is that God loves us, our sins are forgiven, we are justified or made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ and that we have available to us all that Christ has done and provided for us through God’s grace (i.e. salvation, healing, deliverance, provision, etc.).

We need to mediate on the Word of God to get a biblical view of God’s grace and how much He loves us in Christ Jesus. Many have a warped view of who God is because of their sin. In Exodus 34:6, 7; the LORD proclaims that He is merciful, gracious and slow to anger, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.

Saving Grace

God has provided a two-fold remedy for mankind’s death sentence because of Adam’s sin: 1) those who receive abundance of grace and 2) the gift of righteousness.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace and His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7. NKJV

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7). NKJV

Knowing that your sins are forgiven is a key to living the abundant life Jesus came to give us!

God’s character or attributes don’t change but He has given  us a new and better covenant through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross who died for our sins and when we repent and come to Him for salvation (See previous blog: God’s Love Revealed – Jesus Our Savior), He gives us His righteousness instead of the penalty for our sin which was death. God’s remedy for mankind’s death sentence because of Adam’s sin is receiving God’s abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness and eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

Once you are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, you are under the New Covenant of grace through His finished work on the cross (i.e. saved; sanctified or made holy; justified or made righteous; washed or cleansed by His blood; and sealed by the Holy Spirit).  We are no longer under the Old Covenant or law. God is no longer looking to see how faithful we are – we are not part of the equation! It is all about what Jesus has done for us and our believing and receiving by grace everything that He has done. The law doesn’t give us the abundant life Jesus wants us to have. But God’s grace does! We receive all blessings by grace through faith (Ephesians 1:3).

Sustaining Grace

However, once we are saved, the enemy (Satan or the devil) tries to get us back under the law God put into effect under the Old Covenant, and into works (trying to get and keep God’s approval or favor by our own self-efforts and right living). The Old Covenant was based on what you did whether or not you were under God’s blessings or curses (See Deuteronomy 28). We must continue to walk in God’s grace and not in our own self-efforts or self-righteousness (Galatians 5:1).

The law is demand centered and talks about what man ought to be. Whereas grace is Christ centered (what He will do for and has done for us) and reveals who God is. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:16, 17). In the book of Galatians Chapters 1-4, law and grace; the works of the flesh versus the fruit of the Spirit; and the works of self-effort versus the fruit of life in Christ are contrasted. God works by the hearing of faith which is accounted to us as righteousness (Galatians 3:5, 6).

Through grace, we receive righteousness as a gift (Romans 5:17). Righteousness means right standing with God, and we can only be righteous through Jesus Christ by position, not by performance! We are in Christ once we have asked Him to be our Savior  (2 Corinthians 5:21). We have a righteous foundation through the cross of Christ. God the Father sees us righteous based on the finished work of Christ. The work has been done but we must continuously receive His righteousness by applying it to our lives by faith (Romans 3:21-24; Galatians 2:21).

God gave us the law (Old Covenant) so that we would have knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20); it would be our tutor (Galatians 3:24, 25); it was a foreshadowing of the New Covenant to be fulfilled in Jesus (Matthew 5:17, 18) and it is a map for us to follow (Psalm 119:105).

Contrary to certain beliefs some people have about grace today, people don’t want to go out and sin just because grace is being taught. God’s kingdom operates in the opposite of what our natural mind would think i.e. to receive you must give; to be great you must serve; and grace leads to righteousness; etc. When you are truly born again, God changes your nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, you don’t want to keep on sinning. A pig loves the mud and likes to roll around in the mud hole. When a sheep falls into the mud hole, they may be muddy, but they want out! We are His sheep (Galatians 2:20)!

The Apostle Paul discusses that sin shall not have dominion over us (Romans 6:14) and that the strength of sin is the law. When we try not to sin and focus on that instead of the grace and victory we have through Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:56, 57), we end up sinning because we are sin conscious rather than focusing on Jesus and the victory we have through Him. What we focus on we become.

This doesn’t mean that we have a license to sin. Paul says in Romans 5:19 – 6:2 that where sin abounds grace abounds even more. We should not sin so that grace may abound. We have died to sin and have been made alive in Christ! However, when we do sin, it does not and cannot stop God’s grace! We ask for forgiveness and receive God’s grace. Jesus has already paid for our sin and we are forgiven (1 John 1:9). Walking in grace doesn’t mean ignoring sin because sin needs to be confronted and dealt with.

Satan uses the law to accuse you (it is overbearing, finds fault, critical, etc.). The law points out what we do right and wrong. Satan tries to get us to struggle with fear, anxiety, insecurity, guilt, shame or condemnation. But you don’t have to live this way. This is different from what the Holy Spirit does when He convicts us of sin so that we can ask for forgiveness and restore fellowship with God (Romans 8:1,2). We need to know and believe that we are loved, forgiven and have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus so that we can live the abundant life and walk in our destiny. Jesus gives us worth and value!

 

 

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