Sometimes we (or I) need a refresher on the basics…
At our men’s group last Saturday morning, a brother shared the following passage from the Word of God:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Tit 2:11-14, emphasis added)
Notice that it is the grace of God that saves and teaches us. We are to be looking for Christ, who has redeemed and purified us. As we look for and obey Christ Jesus, we appear unusual to this world and are eager to do good works. Grace comes before and leads to the works, not the other way around. Sometimes we get it backwards and try to offer our works to God to make ourselves holy or merit His grace.
The Scripture also reminds us that:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10, emphasis added)
So, what if after being saved we continue to sin? Do we return to works to try to purify ourselves? No, for works will not cover for or keep us from sinning, but Christ’s love will:
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (2Co 5:14, emphasis added)
Have you ever been motivated from your heart to please a harsh taskmaster? Rather, are you motivated to please someone who shows you love and mercy, such as Jesus Christ has shown us? Are we motivated by duty (law) or love (grace)?
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:24-26)
It is Christ’s love and sacrifice that moves my heart to follow and obey Him. I want to honor Him while I am on this earth. When I focus on my shortcomings and try to overcome them in my own strength, then I stumble. But, when I go to the cross and see the amazing grace and love poured out for me, a sinner, than I am motivated and empowered to turn about-face and live rightly. The cross shows me that I am a dead man, slain with Christ, and I now live because Christ lives in me.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Gal 2:20-21)
Do you notice the phase “grace of God” again? Using the free downloadable e-Sword software, I searched for the phrase “Grace of God” in the New Testament. You can access the resulting verse list here.
My hope and prayer is that you and I see God’s grace expressed in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and that we would be a people motivated by grace to please God.
Living in grace,