The Tension of Grace

6.29.13

I think I should start off with one of the truths of human nature. Everybody wants to have grace extended to them; Not everybody is anxious to extend grace to others.

Grace causes tension. This ‘unearned favor’ from God ought to be a big sigh of relief. But it often isn’t.

The tension of grace is demonstrated in one of the greatest verses about grace, Ephesians 2:8-10. It begins with…

For it is by grace you have been saved…

Awesome news. Suddenly the weight of saving myself from my own sins has been removed and God has extended to me the beautiful acceptance only He can give.

through faith …

Ah, the free gift isn’t without some action on my part. I need to trust Him …believe Him … entrust myself to Him. Now I have questions about how to do this. Have I gone far enough? Did I do it right?

and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Oh man that’s good, because for a minute there I was beginning to panic. You know, I’d hate to get to the pearly gate and miss one of the items on the checklist. I reckon if I trust Christ to save me, He will make sure all the check marks are in place.

not by works, so that no one can boast.

That’s cool with me. I doubt I could brag about much of what I’ve done for God anyway. In fact, since God is paying the bill on this salvation thing why should we worry about doing anything? If anyone can save us HE can, right? 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Work eh? I thought we were against the whole works thing?

If you think you’re the only one who struggles a little bit with the tension of grace … the free ticket that you have to reach out and receive… but by reaching out to receive it you do not earn it … but there are some expectations that go along with it …well, you’re not alone.

It seems that Paul spent a lot of time explaining the tension of grace. Some in Rome actually seemed to think that sin was of no consequence whatsoever and that maybe it even made God’s grace look more radical and awesome and glorious!

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. ~Romans 6:1-4

Do yourself a favor and try not to get frustrated with grace. God is so BIG and we are so SINFUL and He has gone to such great lengths to save us that I doubt that we could grasp it in every aspect. My suggestions are…

*Thank God daily for His grace.

*Trust God to save you.

*Do what God asks of you.

*Don’t ever be arrogant in spiritual matters. Even on your best day you don’t have what it takes to rid yourself of even one sin. (But don’t panic, there’s Grace.)

*When you talk about Jesus and following Him, give God all the glory… because for all the good you’ve done, and all the obedience you’ve rendered, and all the intentions you have … it’s still true that God placed it all before you free of charge (to you … Jesus paid a big price to make this happen).

Thanks for reading,

John

 

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