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A Few Thoughts on Grace…

Thank God forever that we are not under law, but under grace. Christianity is not a new “religion” in which we must conform to a sterile moral code to be righteous. Those who put authentic faith in Jesus Christ are born again, transformed by God’s presence working in us “both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13).

As some have put it, we don’t have to “keep a bunch of religious rules” to live righteously. Rather, we are granted supernatural Kingdom virtues inside of us like grace, love, and the Spirit of God Himself (See 1 Cor 1:4; Rom 5:5; 8:15).

So in light of these wonderful realities, I was just thinking…

If God’s grace “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12)…

And if love “acts with patience, kindness, without jealousy” and “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor 13:4-6)…

And if the Spirit is called “Holy” and bears fruit like “…patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23)…

And if the writers of the New Testament often encourage and command Jesus-followers to crucify sinful desires and cultivate godly qualities on purpose “with all diligence” (Gal 5:24-25; Rom 6:11-23; Col 3:1-17; Eph 4:17-5:21; 2 Pet 1:3-15; etc.)…

Then it seems to me that new covenant believers who enjoy grace versus legalism, internal transformation versus external observance, and new creation versus dead religion should be far more earnest to develop spiritual maturity and a holy lifestyle than any legalist who gives himself to “follow a bunch of religious rules.”

Jesus did say, after all, that our righteousness should exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees (or we will not even enter the Kingdom; Matt 5:20). And Paul did say that “we are under obligation” – not to live according to the flesh, indeed, but to put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit (Rom 8:12-13).

Perhaps we should consider, then, that our new covenant in Jesus Christ is not only “new,” but is also – are you ready for it? – a “covenant.” Perhaps further, now that we are liberated from works righteousness, now that we live under the influence of a kind, patient Father who loves us deeply and enables us freely, we have more responsibility to cultivate practical righteousness through the Spirit.

Not less.

But I’m just thinking out loud.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • David Murry May 4, 2016, 11:33 pm

    Wonderful and yet simple and yet profound truths for this hour, brother.

    Imagine if the organic body grasped a hold of what we are as His Righteousness… then the hurting might breath a freedom that does not lead to either lawlessness nor a spirit of Pharisee- but rather a Love that transforms us into His holiness, releases His power to a dying world and a fresh hope to an ailing bride here in America.

    That time is coming though…

    Thank you for sharing what is on your heart brother.

    Humbly,
    David

  • Allen Evans May 5, 2016, 12:11 pm

    Good word Bob, there are so many teachings ou there today which either distorts what grace is at one end of the spectrum and the keeping of religious rules at the other end. Excellent explanation of who we are to be as believers. We have a covenant with God to be Christ like.

    Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from ME, you who practice lawlessness.’