(Part 2 of the “Great Grace Debate“)
The other day I had the following thought, “I don’t want to live offended with grace; having to retreat back to the law, calling it “getting back to normal”. You might be wondering what the heck I mean by that and I am glad to share it with you. Grace is such a beautiful thing and we will spend the rest of our existence getting to know the depths of its mysteries. But for the sake of this article I will give further explanation.
We are called to live in the reality that we were crucified, dead, buried and raised with Christ (Galatians 2:20). So now we live in Him; alive as He is, are joined to the Father as adopted sons, and are partakers of His inheritance that He chose to share with us NOW on earth. When this becomes our reality, we begin to undergo the process of transforming into His image by the renewing of our minds, which is a beautiful journey of intimacy with Him. However, as we are on this journey of transformation the hard part is seeing the remainder of our past life slowly (and sometimes painfully) fade away.
Because of what we see we find it easy to punish ourselves when we think we don’t do well and when we are blessed we see it as something that we earned by our good works. Let me put it another way. We often times push away blessing if we don’t think we earned it and gladly receive what we believe is “God’s punishment” because we failed! Isn’t it right that we should receive punishment or “get what we deserve”? However this is where the beauty of God’s grace shines brightly. In grace, you were given something that you didn’t earn or deserve and what’s more, you were never asked to earn or deserve it!!! Again, this is the beauty of grace. What Jesus did on the cross fulfilled the law so that you would no longer have to subject yourself to the law or “rewards/punishment” system.
What I am suggesting, may be going against everything that you have ever believed, and to that I say, GOOD! Believe it or not it can be difficult to live in the true reality of grace, which allows the goodness of God to abound in your life even when you aren’t performing well! It would seem a holy thing to point out our personal wrongs and become judge jury and executioner for ourselves. We might think that because of what Jesus did for us we must repay Him by living holy life. In other words, never doing anything that we be perceived as wrong and quickly correcting what is wrong in our lives. The “crucified life” as some call it. “Die to yourself” and by all means “kill the flesh”!!!!
If this is your thinking, I challenge you to take another look at the what Jesu has done for you. When you died and were raised with Him the old you, the body of sin (Romans 6:6) was left in the grave and you have become something completely different!! In Romans 6:11 you are told to reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to Christ where your transformation journey is not a process of YOU cleaning what you see is wrong, but through an intimate relationship with God allowing your heart to be changed through love encounters with Him that will compel you to good works. The first way will keep you separated from God until you, “clean up your act”.
You are called to know no one after the flesh and that includes yourself my friend (2 Corinthians 5:16)! Let’s face it you will NEVER see all that is wrong with you. If you gaze upon your wrongs, what you focus on you empower and you will never allow God to get close to you unless you think you performed well. In doing this you turn the cross of Christ into a thing to be earned and not the gift that it is. When you can see it as a gift then you open your heart to receive all that God has released to you; and He has released ALL to you at the cross and resurrection.
It is imperative that you understand that God is not “rationing” blessings according to your behavior. That is the law system; a system God NEVER wanted to impose (Exodus 19:6, Deuteronomy 5:29-32). He has released His all. It is YOU that is determining what will and won’t come into your life. There, I said it! And you may be protesting on the inside right now but I challenge you to meditate on it. God has given us His all now it, and is up to us to live in the grace released as we journey being transformed into His image, yet not having to wait to live in blessing and inheritance until we are perfect (or go to heaven). We have been made complete in Him now in the spirit (Colossians 2:10), we simply have to learn to live in the extravagant gift of grace without thinking that we have to live under the law to be pleasing to God. When submitted to our fallen nature this truth is hard to grasp and even more difficult to live. However, its why such a great sacrifice was made for you, God wanted you FREE (John 8:36). Free from the letter of the law that KILLS and liberated by the Spirit!! (2 Corinthians 3:4-6, &17) From today, purpose to live no less than in what was purchased for you in precious blood.