It is with a sure passion and conviction that I believe the foundation of our Christian faith is based on the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything stems from the knowledge that we are saved by Grace and that it is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.(Eph.2:8) I suppose many sermons have been preached and many books have been written about Grace, but I am convinced in these days we have to realize even more that we live and move and owe our very existence to Christ’s Mercy and Grace. How often we get into doing so much by trying to earn favor with God and try to please him by our good works. Yes, you can please the Lord, but only through faith which is by Grace. We read in the scriptures that without faith we cannot please Him.(Heb.11:6) All is of Grace, which is the unmerited favor of God.
How can I live this holy life that the Lord requires me to live? Only by the finished works of the cross. “Be ye Holy as I am holy”(1 Pet.1:16) This is an awesome statement and cannot be achieved in the flesh. Impossible I might say. Yes, impossible, totally impossible in this fallible flesh of mine. "How can God expect me to be holy?" Yes, he expects it, without doubt. But what did he mean by this command? First of all, God is Holy. He cannot bare sin. He wants us to be holy. Tell me, "how can I achieve the high standard that God requires of me? Even to think about it is daunting to say the least." The fact is, it has happened, you are holy in Christ Jesus and in Him alone. I think that a Christian has to go through the school of experience, to realize that it is impossible. The wonderful thing is, that the Lord does not expect us to do something or be something without him giving the Grace to do and achieve anything.
The fact is the Lord Jesus Christ has done it all. The works are done.You may be asking,"Why is it so hard to walk this Christian life? Why do I feel like giving up, feel hopeless and disillusioned with everything? When I came to Christ; He saved me and I felt such joy. My burdens were lifted, I felt so free. What has happened to me? I’m disappointed."
I feel so sorry for all those who have gone through and are going through this reality. It’s a place and journey that all will go through if they are genuine Christians. It is a sobering fact to realize that without Christ you can do NOTHING.(Jn.15:5,6) Now that may be a statement that you have read in the Word and heard in many sermons. You are probably saying to yourself that you know this already. We all 'know', but don’t 'really' know, in many areas of our Christian understanding. It is only through bitter trial and error and life experiences that one comes to real knowledge by the Holy Spirit.This Christian life cannot be lived by ones own effort, good works, good reputation, diligence, long hours of praying, fasting, reading your Bible, going to prayer meetings, or just trying to be good. The fact is, you, (natural man) are not good. Your flesh is so corrupt and irreparable. It is rotten through and through. It cannot be patched up, zipped up or topped up. Well, that’s just great, "what are you telling me?" You may be asking, "What’s the point of being a Christian in the first place?" The point is, it means everything. It’s so wonderful and so simple that we cannot help but shout with overwhelming joy and gladness.Why? When we realize that it is impossible. We are not to despair. Jesus has the answer. Jesus said, "what is impossible with man is possible with God."(Mat.19:26; Mk10:27)
The more we come to the realization that it is by grace, the more we love God. The more we care for others and put up with their faults and failures. We are not haughty, because we know that we are only around because of Grace. That is how we grow in Grace by giving more Grace to others, because we don’t deserve anything.(2 Pet3:18) We feel pity for the sinner, because that’s where we were before He reached down and saved us by Grace. We exercise the fruit of the spirit, because we stand by Grace. We love others, because we are so unworthy and stand by Grace. We have been let of the hook by Grace, that is why we let others of the hook.
The Spirit of Grace, the Holy Spirit, (Heb.10:29 ) helps us walk the holy walk that Jesus requires us to walk, by making us aware of our fleshly inability to reach this high calling. (Phil.3:14 ) Thus, as we believe the finished works of Calvary we gain new insight to the reality that it is God and God alone who has already done all the work. Jesus Christ did not pay the price for us to go ahead and try and do what He has already done. This is called, frustrating the Grace of God. (Gal.2:21) You may ask, "How do I live for Christ? I so want to please Him and do what is right in His sight. I so want to live above sin and corruption. How can I live above this accursed sin?" Treat it as accursed and walk in the Spirit of Grace and newness of Life. The Word says “ I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me." (Gal.2:20) ) To live a victorious Christian life means to live in newness.(Rom.6:4) Not a life which is patched up. Not a life that is covered up and repaired. No! New Life, Christ’s Life. You will find out very quickly that it has to be by the Grace of Jesus Christ. Nothing to be earned, achieved or obtained. No, a complete new life. Christ has done it all. What must I do? I must absorb Jesus into my life. Read about Him and choose to walk in the Spirit on a daily basis.(Rom.8:1) Grace is unlimited. I will fail and stumble. I will come to realize how sick my flesh nature is. I will despair of it. I will say as in Rom 7 “ Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?”(Rom.7:24) )
I must consider myself dead,"I am crucified with Christ." (Gal.2:20) It’s a faith matter from beginning to end. Yes, "but what if I sin?" If I confess my sins He is faithful and just to forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness” (1Jn.1:9) But why must I confess if it is grace? The answer is,we have already been forgiven for all of our sins, passed, present and future, but our consciences can hinder our progress and faith. It blocks our ability to believe and thus hinder the flow of faith. When we confess our sins he remembers it no more, both now and for all eternity.The confession is not for God, but rather for out well being and benefit. The fact is the old man,” the flesh” is a very real person and has to be dealt with on a daily basis so that our new man, which conforms to Christ’s perfection always stays in the forefront. The Blood of Jesus is the strongest 'whitener' that there is. “Thou your sin be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow”(Isaiah.1:18) We are to confess, which means to agree with God that we have done this or that. His blood cleanses us from all sins. Our work is to confess.( Jam 5:16) To cooperate with and come into agreement with God that we have this attitude or have done that sin. It is an attitude of surrender and humility that we are acknowledging that the flesh, in all its forms, is accursed and that it is dead, and will remain dead as far as we are concerned. Paul says “I die daily.” (1 Cor.15:31 ) This means that I die to the inclination to give the flesh a place. It is a dying because it hurts so badly when we say no to its lusts and inclinations. Yes, you may say yes many times to the flesh, but when you rely on grace to flourish in your life the more the Holy Spirit will empower you to eventually say no.
The fact of the mater is, we can’t live this Christlike way without the Spirit of God. He is the Spirit of Grace. We need grace because we need peace. That peace flows like a river when we realize Jesus has done it all. We must not crucify Him afresh by doing the work that has already been done. How absurd and stupid of us if we try to crucify ourselves when Jesus has already been crucified. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Christ said on the cross “It is finished”(Jn.19:30) The more we realize our inability and surrender to Christ’s finished work, the more peace we will have and the more joy we will have. We will be energized with His Life because it will no longer be me who lives but Christ in me.(Gal.2:20) We must remain in the slipstream of the perfect Person who did it all. This is a faith matter. We will manifest the victory. Not our doing, not our effort, not our great standing, or great ability, but His. He will get all the glory and that honors God. That’s how the matter works.
The more we plunge into the river of Gods Grace the more we will be useful to Him, because we will not be relying in our own power. We honor God in this way. We walk with Him, breathe Him and rely totally on Him. The greater the realization of Grace, the greater will be the love for God. Love flows when you are grateful. What did Jesus say to the Pharisees? He said about Mary, she loves much because she has been forgiven much (Luke7:47) How can I love God and be grateful to Him if I am trying to do what He has already done? No wonder we want to give up, become depressed, despair of life itself, and cry impossible. In ourselves it is impossible. Lets fall in love with Jesus afresh.(Rev.2:4) Lets become like little children and follow our Father because He has lead the way and done what was impossible for us to do. Let us walk in Grace, and the love that springs from it.
We put the cart before the horse many times. We Love Him because he unconditionally loves us. We don’t try to get Jesus to love us by dong the right things. We do the right things because, come what may, He loves us. What a burden remover. Good works stem from the unconditional love of God expressed by Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit becomes an act of our will because of the love of Christ which does not depend on our being good.
Yes we are not to do evil so that grace may abound (Rom.6:1) My response to His love is one of such relief and gratefulness. Why? Because I know in the flesh “the old me” no good exists. The Lord understands our weaknesses and faults (Heb.4:15 ) All we have to do is be willing to do what is pleasing in his sight.(2 Cor.8:12) Oh how awful I feel when I have failed and faltered through weakness. I feel bad, I castigate myself and feel I've let the Lord down. Yes, mirrored against the perfect law of liberty (Jam.1:25) I look bad, but measured by the love of God I am justified before God through His Son Jesus Christ. God does not see me, He sees His Son, who paid the price. I don’t have to pay any price. I don’t have to beat myself, or castigate myself, and belittle myself. The Lord sees my willingness and my remorse. I must just accept the sacrifice that He made and move on with joy, relief and total humility that I am forgiven and accepted, by Grace .”I am accepted in the beloved (Christ Jesus)(Eph.1:6) Amen.