Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I don’t understand why we have this idea that grace is nothing more than a simple giant eraser that merely wipes away all of our mistakes, short-comings, and sin.  It’s convenient.  But, in my view, misinterpreted. 
Does grace clean us up?  Absolutely.  Check out Ezekiel 16 for a great depiction of that. 
Is grace a point of conversion, marking the transition of a person from darkness to light?  Yep.  Acts 15:11.
But what about the vast number of scriptures that demonstrate this principle:
Grace is the strength of God given to us in order to live holy.
I’ve done a little search, and by no means do I intend to make myself out to be a celebrated expert on this topic.  But I’ve found passage after passage that clearly points to the fact that we are given grace so that we can live holy, pursuing God in relationship.  Our actions will then reflect that grace within us. 
Here are some great examples:
Luke 2:40
The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.  
(this is obviously talking about Jesus – who never needed the grace of God to remove or erase His sin or failure.  Being human, how did He do it?  The grace of God was upon Him)
Acts 4:33
And  with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 
(The application of grace in this context obviously points to the fact that the abundant grace that was upon them is what empowered them to give testimony of Jesus with great power.)
Acts 6:8
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great  wonders and signs among the people. 
(This is pretty self explanatory – it was grace and power that allowed Stephen to perform great things.  In context and solitarily, ‘grace’ cannot be referred to in this passage as the single application of the removal of sin.  It empowered Stephen.  A great example of the fact that grace NOT ONLY cleanses from sin, but empowers us to live holy – pursuing God and His plan for our lives).
Acts 13:43
Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing  proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God. 
(The ‘continuing’ in the grace of God doesn’t imply that they are expected to continue in sin, applying grace for erasure.  On the contrary.  Scripture is clear that once we are cleansed from sin, we are expected to never go back to it.  Why go back to death when we have been made alive in Christ.  It is grace that empowers us to continue in the grace of God)
Moving on to the Epistles –
Romans 1:5
through whom we have received grace and  apostleship to bring about the  obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake,
(“grace and apostleship” – if you know what an apostle is, you know that apostleship doesn’t come from the ability to continually erase sin.  Who were the Apostles?  What did their lives look like?  How many died for their faith in Christ?  Were they glorified men who enjoyed the finest things in life or did they sacrifice everything for the sake of the gospel?  We know the answer to that.  Obviously, according to this passage, the reception of grace is what empowered them to bring out the obedience of faith!  GORGEOUS!)
Romans 6:15
What then?  Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
(No commentary needed here.  Plain as can be.)
Romans 12:6
Since we have gifts that  differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
(So – track with me – each person is unique.  God created all of us to serve a specific purpose in His Kingdom.  Remember the scripture about the body of Christ?  Not everyone can be a hand.  Not everyone can be an eye.  We all have our own purpose.  And the gifts we are empowered with differ according to the grace given us.  If grace was merely an application of the removal of sin, how would it differ between all of us?  How would you apply this passage?  How would each of us exercise it differently from another?  After all, isn’t all sin, sin?  Think about it – we are given grace (according to the above) which empowers us (with the gifts/tools we need) in order to accomplish God’s purpose in our lives. )
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 
(Clearly the grace of God that was with Paul empowered Him to labor more… )
2 Corinthians 1:12
For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.
(I love this!!!  It was through the grace of God that they conducted themselves in the world.  POWERFUL!  Grace empowered them to live as witnesses of Jesus in the midst of an unbelieving world.  Do we not live in an unbelieving world?)
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
(And again – no commentary necessary here.  We obviously are expected to live defined by every good deed.  We’re given abundant grace for THAT purpose.)
Alright, this post is getting very long, so I’m not going to belabor this point.  It is enough to say – God expects us to live holy.  An act of grace removes sin from our lives, purging the foul grime out of our soul.  But it is not a one-time-deal.  We know that.  The confusion comes into play when we apply what it means to live by grace.  Does it mean continual removal of sin?  Sure – we all sin.  We all have fallen.  Nobody is perfect.  BUT as Children of God are we expected to live our lives defined by habitual sin, and habitual acts of repentance and erasure?  By no means! 

If the grace of God is within you, know this: you are empowered to live holy.  So do it.  Imitate Christ.  Live Christ-like.  God has given you the awesome tool that enables you to do great things for Him.  Grace will set you on a high place, and grace will keep you there.  You don’t have to fall.  You don’t have to sin.  We all should be striving toward holiness, and it’s grace that empowers us to get closer and closer every day. 
Further than that – grace within you can accomplish great things!  And giving yourself to sin – using grace only to wipe it away is one of the most heart-breaking things I can think of. 
Pursue God.  Live holy.  God will empower you to do it, but you have to do your part.  In Jesus words – Go and sin no more. 

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