Grace | Imitate Series
Dear friends, if it weren’t for the grace of God, we would have no opportunity to enter into a relationship with the Lord. Due to our sinful hearts, we would be bound for destruction, with no one else to blame but ourselves and having no way to be saved or redeemed.
God freely poured out His grace upon us and not only did He choose to not give us what we deserve, but He decided to give us what we don’t deserve. This, my friends, is what grace is!
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
We had no part in this grace that God decided to bestow upon us. It is a free gift that God has given – and the reason He has given it as a gift is so we cannot boast or take any credit for it. No matter how many good works we do, it will never be enough to satisfy a holy God and remove the sin that we have ensnared ourselves in.
Jesus is the One who brings this grace. It’s because of what He willingly chose to do by taking our sins on Himself – becoming sin so that we would have a way of being forgiven for ours – that this grace is made available to us.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Now this is often misinterpreted to mean that the law is a bad thing that has now been abolished, but that is not what this verse is implying.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? By no means!
The law is a reflection of God's holy, perfect standards (Romans 7:12) -- which is why we are unable to fully abide by them, because we're so flawed and imperfect. However this doesn't make the law bad, on the contrary, it shows how lost we'd be without God's grace. The reason the law brings death (2 Corinthians 3:6) is because us humans break the law, and to break God's perfect law separates us from God and is deserving of death. So it's only because of our disobedience to the law that death comes ... and as much as we may try in and of ourselves to keep the law, we will fail because it cannot be done without the help of the heavenly Father. When God gave us His Son as a means of His grace so that we may be saved (1 John 4:9), this doesn't somehow nullify God's law -- for to do that would mean that God is no longer holy because this is what the law reflects. The law is something we cannot fulfil, and only Jesus could, and did, fulfil it, however now that we have His Spirit in us -- the Holy Spirit -- He helps us to be holy as He is holy. Putting it plainly, there's a reason that our Helper is called the Holy Spirit ... with the word 'holy' being the predominant word. With the name 'Holy' Spirit, it makes perfect sense as to what He will lead us in -- holiness! Coming to know Jesus Christ doesn't lead us into lawlessness -- God forbid -- it leads us into living according to God's ways.
1 John 3:4
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
How can we who died to sin still live in it?
The law is no longer seen as a set of unkeepable rules, but a beautiful standard which has now been put into our hearts (Hebrews 10:16).
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
God’s grace is seen right back in the Garden of Eden. We read that after Adam and Eve chose to sin, instead of killing them both for their blatant disobedience, God chose to extend His grace toward this unworthy couple by covering their sin (Genesis 3:21).
We also see when Paul was having a difficult time and was struggling, that in his weakest moment, God’s grace shone brightly.
2 Corinthians 12:9
… he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”'
When we are weak, if we cry out to the Lord, by His grace we will be given the strength to continue on.
Although we are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God, the Lord in His infinite love, has graciously made a way of escape for us by redeeming us from the curse of sin and death through His precious Son.
… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
Because of His great love for us, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us – God’s only begotten Son full of grace and truth.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
May we use the grace that the Lord has apportioned us as a witness and testimony of our glorious heavenly Father.
1 Peter 4:10
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace …
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Let us always be grateful to the Lord for choosing to impart His beautiful grace on us – knowing that we, being so undeserving, are tremendously blessed to be given God’s amazing grace!
Let me finish with this wonderful quote that sums up the Lord’s grace so eloquently.
Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. It is a self-existent principle inherent in the divine nature and appears to us as a self-caused propensity to pity the wretched, spare the guilty, welcome the outcast, and bring into favor those who were before under just disapprobation. Its use to us sinful men is to save us and make us sit together in heavenly places to demonstrate to the ages the exceeding riches of God’s kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
-- By Jen Ayling
This article was written to form part of the series, 'Imitate'. Containing 45 sessions, this thorough series intends to reveal the characteristics found in a disciple of Jesus. The original article, 'Imitate', would be the best place to begin your journey in discovering the qualities of a follower of the Messiah of Israel.