We have idolized grace. That must sound like an abrupt statement, but I have been thinking about this for a long time, reading blogs and posts that are both conservative and not so much. Yes, we have idolized grace.
We talk about grace like it is our salvation, but it’s not. Jesus Christ, and our making Him Lord of our lives, is our salvation. The cross, where Jesus died and paid for our sins, is what makes that salvation possible. Grace is extended by a Merciful God, but God’s grace in His character gives Him the ability to do all this. And gives us the opportunity to receive it.
We act like this is OUR grace, to be used whenever we want to pull the “grace card.” Instead it is a gift and blessing extended to us by a holy God. A blessing I believe many are taking for granted.
Grace is a gift to be cherished, instead I see many Christians wanting to get ever so close to the edge of sin, just to play with it a bit, or joke about it. This is dangerous. I recently saw a post on social media where ministers were joking about “coming out.” Paul tells us it is disgraceful and shameful to even mention the deeds of the darkness. He goes on to tell us to not even have coarse joking or silly talk in our conversations. While some may think it’s funny, we have brothers and sisters in Christ who understand first-hand the darkness and entrapment of their past in homosexuality.
We, as Christians, stand on our right to participate in certain things (because of grace). Although these things may not quite be sin, there is still a heart issue I’m very concerned about. For instance, I don’t believe drinking a glass of wine is sin, but I do believe gloating about the fact that I have that right is wrong – for two reasons.
First, it’s not love for other believers who are convicted to the point of sin, or for our brothers and sisters who might be recovering alcoholics.
Secondly, it brings the attention to ourselves…this is what I can do and don’t tell me what is wrong and what is right. I can do whatever I want because I stand in God’s grace. It’s a very arrogant stance.
Even worse – others who profess to be Christians, seem to want to live in sinful lifestyles, while invoking God’s blessings and/or promises, ignoring His precepts and commands.
We proclaim the benefits of grace, but ignore the means by which we have received it – the blood of Jesus Christ. The precious blood. Do we even contemplate any more just how valuable that blood is?
Grace is a gift to be treasured. But I see grace being used and abused. We want to cover sin with it, but do so in a way it was never intended. I believe the best evidence of the value and object of grace is what Paul tells Titus in chapter 2, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
If we understand grace to the fullest, we must embrace the fact that the true grace of God brings about change, is not to be taken lightly, and is a means by which we come into contact with a holy and righteous God. Just one confirmation of this is found in 2 Corinthians, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
God’s grace is not something which we passively enjoy. I believe it is a lifetime of cooperation with the Holy Spirit, of transformation; to become more like Jesus Christ – humbly and with deep, abiding gratitude. Let’s not trample one of the most precious gifts offered to us.