Who is grace? Grace is someone most of us know about, we have seen, yet sometimes takes years to get to know. People view Grace differently. They see her as first in command or second but not equal. Some think she is highly important and others think she is a nice attribute to have around.
Now let me explain who Grace is. Grace is someone who wants to live with us, walk with us daily and show us how to live in peace and holiness. We know about Grace and we think we know her once we are introduced. Grace doesn’t demand we perform or look a certain way to show others who we represent. Who is grace? I am not talking about a person but the unmerited favor of God. I am talking about the undeserving mercy of God. We can play the part, look the part but we however cannot change ourselves inwardly by our works or looks. We cannot change ourselves because we just want to. Why do you think change is so hard? You can change the way you look, your actions and change your lifestyle to fit into the Christian mode. However, although we may look good to others but inside we cannot fool ourselves. Grace must be imparted into someone who has an open mind and heart. Grace is imparted into us by knowing Him.
Why do we all come to know Grace at different times in our lives? Grace sometimes comes when we have done something so totally wrong against our teaching and discipline trainings in which we feel as though we are lifted above all sinful nature, it is then we fail. It is when we become so proud of what WE have accomplished, being prideful. Once we fail the test of trying to prove our own spiritual hierarchy, Grace comes to our rescue but only when we ask. People don’t really get to know Grace sometimes until they fail, they may have an idea who she is but not really know her valuable worth until they realize they cannot earn her love nor do enough works to obtain living above the world’s sinful acts.
Grace is the action of God bringing to pass the good things, which we neither deserve nor can accomplish on our own. It is a tremendous dynamic of personal experience where the reality of God’s life enters what we are doing, feeling, and thinking. It is being filled with the power of Jesus as our life moves in every aspect. It is when God initiates action and we respond with action. Grace never means inaction or being totally passive. The opposite of grace is works but not effort. Works has to do with earning and there simply is nothing any of us can do to earn God’s love or acceptance. God already loves us utterly and perfectly and our complete acceptance is the free gift of God through Jesus.
Action is not the same as works so let me explain. The foundational structure for the growth or action of grace involves a training of body, mind and spirit by means of disciplines of spiritual life. Through a process of time and experience, we become the kind of person whose life naturally and freely expresses love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We cannot make ourselves have these fruits WITHOUT inclining our hearts toward Him. Only He can reprogram the deeply ingrained habit patterns of sin that constantly hurl toward works of flesh. We cannot become humble by trying to become humble. Action on our own would make us all the more proud of our humility. Instead we train with disciplines appropriate to our needs and then God see the effort and our offering of ourselves to him. God often uses the various difficulties and trials we face in life to produce in us a kind of endurance. These experiences shape us, form, us and make us different people to the extent we are willing participators in this work of grace.
In the Old Testament it teaches about obedience to truth, however the New Testament presents the message of grace, mercy and forgiveness through Jesus. At first, truth and grace seem to be opposite but they are both at the core of God’s purpose and plan. To be healthy, there must be balance between the two. Grace only, leads to self-indulging and immature children. Truth only, leads to rebellious attitudes. Rules without relationships are first resented then resisted and ultimately rejected. Many churches and religious people gravitate toward one extreme or the other. Environments that become legalistic, rule oriented, and guilt-driven promote an impossible expectation. This in turns leads to a never-ending works mentality of I will never be good enough. I have seen many people fall into sin, fall away from God or live in depression or poverty who view grace as unimportant. They push and convince people to live a certain way as to gain favor with God or to live above the world. Although spiritually in tune, they themselves become judges or they may cast away people who don’t follow their truths. Then there are those who focus on just grace. The focus is on love and forgiveness not consequences of sinful behavior. Many then will interpret this openness as license to live any lifestyle expecting forgiveness. There is no common ground when you deal with truth. Truth and Grace live together and must be balanced. We cannot earn or deserve God’s grace and we cannot select what part of His truth we want to embrace and abide by. Truth should magnify grace. Truth without grace is legalism. Grace, without truth leads to license to sin. Truth proves the message grace provides the method. Grace doesn’t provide the freedom to sin but forgiveness for sin. Grace never supersedes or compromises truth. Grace does not replace truth it reflects it. Truth and grace lead to liberty.
God’s grace should not be viewed as independent of His truth. Both grace and truth are essential elements in His gift of eternal life. We show people Jesus only when we show them grace and truth. It is living in balance and harmony with everyone we come in contact with. It is not only the disciplines in lifestyle, the works that we do but allowing God to manifest His mercy in grace in our lives as we are transformed to be more like Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus help me to gain not only more of your truth but also know your grace and mercy. I want to find balance in both. I want to know you in the fullness to expound to others and to show others the true life of a Christian. I do not want to demand certain things in people where they feel they can never live up too nor do I want to give them the freedom to continue to live in sin. As a leader, Lord help me impart grace and mercy to those who fail and encourage them to go forward when they do fail and not cast them away. Let your truth and grace be balanced in my life. Let spiritual fruit be manifested in my life. In Jesus Name. Amen.
John 1:14-17 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. New International Version