Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Wonderful Grace of God

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.  –Galatians 2:21 (KJV)

The grace of God is what distinguishes followers of Jesus from those who either have rejected Christ or are trying to save themselves.  The typical way people attempt to earn salvation is through trying to be good.  Broad generalizations regarding personal conduct are uttered in statements such as, “I am not such a bad person.” People may also say, “I am a good person; I do not steal, lie, I have never killed anyone, and I do not cheat on my taxes.” All of this is admirable, yet practicing such high moral principles will not bring about the grace of God.  Only Jesus Christ can accomplish this for us. 

The key is recognizing that in Jesus Christ we are set free from the burden of trying to save ourselves.  The Word of God teaches that none of us, no not one, is worthy of salvation.  However, God chose to redeem us through Christ, and this redemption is a gift to all who believe on the Lord.  Keeping God’s laws and commandments to the letter in an attempt to earn salvation is not only burdensome, but also impossible.  The Pharisees of Jesus’  day made a valiant effort, yet they ended up developing a religious system that was devoid of the love, peace, and joy of the Lord in their lives.  They ended up looking down their noses at all who failed to live up to the holy standards they had created through a strict interpretation of God’s Word.  

The grace of God, which faith in Jesus Christ brings, is all about joy and peace.  We are free in Christ – not free to be rebellious or to do anything we want, but rather we are free to love, forgive others, have compassion, and to serve God as He has called us to do.  We are also free from the ultimate obligation of trying to save ourselves through good works, something we will never be able to accomplish.  What a blessing to know that God loves us so much that He took the initiative and made a way for us in Jesus Christ.  Like Paul the Apostle pointed out to the Galatians, we frustrate the grace of God when we try to walk forward in a mindset of earning our salvation.  Such an attitude will hinder forward spiritual growth and progress.  However, the grace of God in Christ liberates and empowers us to walk forward in vibrant, living faith.

Which will you choose; will it be law or grace?  The law, which is trying to save ourselves, shackles us.  The grace of God in Christ liberates us.  Choose grace!