Friday, March 9, 2012

Accept Grace

Grace. What is grace? It is oftentimes used as a name for a girl, a church name, or maybe even a rehab center. But what does grace actually mean? As we continue in this series, “Life After Service,” let’s take a deeper look at what grace is and why we sometimes do not accept it.

Many Christians who “grew up” in church will automatically say that grace is unmerited favor. This simply means that God does not judge on a “merit” system. Elementary school teachers show us the merit system best. If a student is behaving well and completing their work, they will receive a star on the board next to their name. The student that is not behaving well will not receive a star. See, our God is not like this. We cannot, nor do we ever earn grace. It is freely given to us. The matter of being “good” or “bad” is useless. Furthermore, we receive favor from God without doing anything at all. So, now that we have looked at the theological definition of grace, let’s “dumb it down” a bit.
In the beginning when Adam and Eve were created, God could freely dwell with them. However, after the fall of man, we as humans could no longer see the Father. As tragic as this could seem, God had a backup plan. This plan would cover all of our sins and give us access to the Father once again. We know this plan to be Jesus Christ the Messiah, our Lord and Savior. Jesus stands in the place of our sin. He is THE sin substitute. So when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, He only sees the blood of Jesus. This was the greatest demonstration of grace, EVER. 

“Christian, when God looks at you He sees Jesus. End of story. God delights and celebrates the image of His son in you, even when you fail.” –Jefferson Bethke 

If Jesus is our propitiation and grace is freely given, why do we continue to walk in guilt? Why do we act as though we can earn grace by our works? The Word of God says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NKJV) After true repentance, it is important that we accept grace. Many times I have failed at doing this because of doubt. I would reject grace by drowning in my guilt. As believers, we have to stop doing this. Every time we let guilt overtake us, we simply doubt that God’s grace is good enough to cover our sins. Accept grace and walk in God’s favor, which is love.

 “God wants His children to walk in grace not perfection.” –Pastor Vic Hudson

God freely gives us grace through Christ because He loves us so deeply. I asked God one day in prayer, “How much do you really love me? How great is your love for me?” A few days after, I found myself back in sin and the Holy Spirit reminded me of the question I asked the Lord previously. I finally realized just how much God truly loved me. Even after all of the mistakes, Christ still wanted to be with me. This is hard to grasp sometimes, especially if you are in a season where you are struggling. But we have to stop trying to figure grace out and just accept it. 

So how do we do this? FAITH! Romans 5:2 says, “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (NKJV) The only way you can accept grace is through faith. Each day, believe that grace is enough for you. Ask yourself questions like, “Do I truly trust that God’s grace is sufficient?” Also, ask the Holy Spirit to expose areas in your life where you are still doubtful and feeling guilty. If you continue to reject grace, you will never be able to grow a deeper relationship with Christ. Jesus died just to have a relationship with you. When you reject grace, you reject Christ. Let’s make it our duty everyday of our lives to accept grace, not only at church, but home as well.