Grace Gone Wild: Embrace the Gift
- Friday, October 07, 2005
God has given all Christians an amazing gift: Grace. But many Christians misunderstand and abuse this gift. And, in the process, they rob themselves of the joy it's intended to bring them. Here's how you can avoid bad grace and embrace good grace in your life:
Rescue the concept of grace from both legalists and libertarians.
Understand that, just as you can't earn your salvation, you can't earn grace. God gives it to you freely, out of love. However, grace doesn't exempt you from your responsibility to obey God. Obeying God is your gift to Him. Realize that your love for God and gratitude for all He does for you should motivate you to obey Him more - not less. Recognize that, although there's nothing you can do to earn God's love, there's plenty you can do to enjoy God's blessings that come with obedience. Know that God's standards of conduct exist for your benefit, not your detriment. Understand that faithfully living in obedience to God's commands will give you a much better life than not doing so. Recognize that you should establish boundaries for other people's behavior toward you rather than allowing them to mistreat you. Seek to live in a way that honors God, remembering that He deserves nothing less. Realize that bad grace leads to death, but good grace leads to life.
Let grace give you a new awareness.
Ask God to make you aware of how desperate your situation was spiritually before you came to Christ. Value the magnitude of God's grace toward you. Understand that pain in your life is a signal that can alert you to sin you need to deal with for good spiritual health.
Let grace give you a new status.
Realize that God's grace has transformed you from being His enemy to being His friend. Now, instead of being a slave, you are a child of God.
Let grace give you a new heart.
Know that your new heart will help you obey God out of genuine desire, rather than fear.
Let grace give you a new master.
Understand that grace frees you not to serve no master, but to serve a new master. Know that all people are slaves to something - whatever controls their lives. But Christians get to choose the only truly worthy master - Jesus Christ. This new master liberates you from sin that will keep you in bondage.
Let grace give you a new location.
Allow grace to lift you out of the graveyard of sin and into a healthy realm of living. Ask yourself, "Even though I can still choose to live in sin, why would I want to?" Understand that responding to God's forgiveness with a decision to sin is like stepping into a grave while you're still alive.
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