Thursday, December 29, 2016

Grace, Grace, and More Grace. Too Much Grace? Is it Possible?

Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace. Too much grace?
Is it possible to focus too much on grace? What about all the other parts of Christianity? What about discipleship?
We have all encountered these questions in one-way or another. I encountered them during a recent conversation that I had with an older gentleman. I had finished giving a talk on the spiritual blessings in Christ that we possess. The point of the message was that these blessings are forever ours, and forever untouched by the world. Our circumstances can change, we can go through the trials and ups and downs of life, but these will forever be untouched and safe. After the message he pulled me aside and began to question my understanding of the Old Testament Law. Now, at first I was confused because I hadn’t brought up the Law during my talk at all. But as the conversation went on I realized that he had found me online and had read some of my articles about the Law. Towards the end of the conversation he gave me his card and told me to get in touch with him when I realized how wrong I was. I did the same. He wasn’t too happy because he had been a Christian for so long. I gently reminded him that it was possible to go your whole life and miss the gospel. He nodded and prayed an imprecatory prayer. Just kidding.
Are we missing the boat by focusing too much on grace? Do we need the Law? I find such questions a bit troubling because they seem to be making the claim that the indwelling Christ is not enough for our Christian lives. We need rules and regulations or else we will get lazy. However, scripture seems to suggest the exact opposite conclusion.

Grace: The Perfect Teacher

Titus 2:11-14 says this:
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
Too much grace? Apparently not. Apparently, if we want to live productive lives for God we need grace. The alternative is Law and this does not yield productivity in Christ. It actually yields sin!
“For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.” Romans 7:5
Law breeds sin, not true discipleship. Our place as Christians is to soak up God’s grace. It is the perfect teacher.

Grace: God’s Will for You

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
Why did God raise us up with Christ? Why did He seat us with Christ? So, that we would follow the Law more? No! He did this so that we would spend an eternity learning about His grace. Notice the word choice: “…that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.” God is showing us grace. It’s what He does! Grace is His message to us all day, every day. It is His will for us. If we want to listen to God or hear God, we need to listen to grace. Grace is our love language, and He is speaking it to us constantly.
Article by Andrew Nelson
Copied with permission. From 2/23/2016