Grace Gone Wild: Embrace the Gift
- Friday, October 07, 2005
Follow a new law.
Understand that, while grace frees you from God's old law detailed in the Old Testament, it doesn't mean that you're not under any law. Recognize that God's grace is not a license to do what you want, but the liberty to do what you should. Realize that grace provides you a powerful incentive for obedience. Rather than obeying God because you fear His condemnation, let your gratitude for His forgiveness motivate you to obey Him.
Understand the importance of repentance.
Know that, while sin doesn't alter your position in God's family, it does affect your day-to-day relationship with Him. Be willing to continually acknowledge your disobedience and ask for God's forgiveness so sin won't distance you from God. Seek to constantly maintain a close relationship with Him. Have a healthy attitude about sin; don't argue, rationalize, or cover it up. Instead, agree with God that you are in sin when you are, and that you need to do something about it. Then make specific changes in your behavior, as God leads you to do so, so you can head in a healthier direction.
Realize that God rewards those who obey Him.
Understand that heaven won't be the same for all Christians. While you can gain admittance for free by trusting in Christ for your salvation, you won't receive rewards there if you've neglected God's commands. Christians who were obedient on Earth will receive greater rewards than those who weren't.
Let grace guide how you make decisions.
Realize that, in the many gray areas of life where discernment is necessary to make wise decisions, God wants you to look for a higher perspective than just personal preferences. Elevate love above knowledge, the welfare of others above your personal freedom, and God's interests above your desires. When facing a decision, ask yourself: "Is this behavior lawful?", "Is this behavior profitable?" and "Is this behavior helpful?".
Let grace help you forgive.
Know that good grace affirms the necessity of forgiveness, recognizes that forgiveness doesn't erase the natural consequences of offenses, and understands that, although forgiveness can be granted, reconciliation must be earned. Choose to forgive people who have hurt you and work for reconciliation in your relationships with them, but understand that reconciliation will only be possible if they respond to your efforts. No matter what happens, choose to forgive anyway, remembering that God is always willing to forgive you and will help you through the process of forgiving others.
Don't let bad grace hurt your marriage.
Understand that grace doesn't give you license to marry whomever you want. Remember that your mate should be a member of the opposite sex, and a believer, if you want to experience God's blessings in your marriage. Know that grace doesn't give you permission to cheat on your spouse without lasting consequences. Realize that adultery leads to fractured marriages, sexually transmitted diseases, and severely damaged reputations. Even when people genuinely repent from adultery and gain God's forgiveness, they often still experience these consequences. Recognize that divorce and remarriage are biblically allowable only in two specific situations - adultery and desertion. Remember that God intends marriage to be a lifetime commitment, and that divorce should always be a last resort in a troubled marriage.
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