Journey to Understand Grace Part 5: The Beauty of His Grace

Here has been the journey thus far:
1. Jesus hates sin.
2.Christians still sin.
3.God is Holy and before the cross sin caused a separation between us and God.
4. Because of point 2 we often try to resolve what we see as a problem caused by the truths of 1 &3 by living according to our own righteousness.  The result is frustration and condemnation.

Which brings us to today.  The beauty of God's grace!! So remember the sermon that sparked this journey?  The definition of grace discussed in that sermon (Applied Grace by Sam Dharam on 11/1//09) was this:  the enabling power of God.  

Think of that in light of the journey we have been on.  We know that sin is dangerous and deadly.  We know that by our own strength and power we cannot overcome sin.  We know that God is a Holy God.  Often times people conclude that God's grace is the answer.  However, their definition of that grace is simply a "get out of jail free" card, so whenever you do something wrong you don't have to feel bad about it that in  fact you can just keep doing it over and over again.  This understanding of grace just covers the problem of sin but it doesn't provide a solution to sin.  I strongly believe that grace is bigger than that and rather than erasing the conflict between God's Holiness and His hatred of sin, it allows the beauty of all of His character to light and the result is freedom for His children. Grace provides us access to the throne room of God, where God sits in Holiness and where Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Father.  Jesus has defeated the curse of the law of sin and death.  He has set you free and His grace ENABLES you by the power of God to be FREE.  It is a beautiful thing.

We talked last time of how we still try to walk according to our righteousness.  If we walk out our faith by trying to walk on a tightrope of perfection, we end up failing (daily) and being miserable!  However if you pay attention to the verses I've shared and will continue to share with you, you will see that because of God's grace we don't do it according to OUR righteousness, rather we are invited to live out our lives THROUGH Him.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

Again, if we could succeed through our own righteousness then Jesus didn't need to die.  Don't set aside God's grace, it is the key to living in His righteousness.

Romans 5:20
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Because of God's grace we get to live through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  If you've been following my blog for a while you know that I am a strong advocate of putting your armor on daily.  Why?  One reason is because it is a great reminder of the truth of God's word, including the part: putting on the breastplate of righteousness.  Whose righteousness?  Not ours, His. 

Last time we started looking at Romans 8.  Here are some more beautiful verses that we all know but I think in this journey of grace they shine even brighter:
 8:9,10, 13-17
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit,
if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ,
he does not belong to Christ.
But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin,
yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,
 but you received the Spirit of sonship.
And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

8:26, 27
...the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

What, then, shall we say in response to this?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—
how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
It is God who justifies.
Who is he that condemns?
Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I hope you will take time to read all those Scriptures and meditate on them.  Do you see the beauty of His grace?  Sin was a barrier and before the cross it kept us from being able to even survive in the presence of God.  However, now because of the death of Jesus Christ, sin no longer keeps us from the presence of God.  Instead, we have full access to the THRONE of GRACE and we can approach with confidence.  Better yet, at His throne we are given His righteousness through His grace, which is God's enabling power to OVERCOME sin.  He still is a Holy God and when we come into His presence, He is still an all consuming fire, now however that fire consumes only sin and it no longer consumes us.  It is by being in His presence and living through the grace of Jesus Christ that we walk in freedom.  We don't need to be slaves to sin anymore.  We don't have to live out of our own righteousness.  We can live through Him.  And did you see in Romans 8, you have incredible support.  You have the Holy Spirit interceding to God on our behalf and you have Jesus Christ interceding.  The beauty of grace is that because of the cross sin is no longer an issue for God.  He has cast our sin as far as the east is from the west.  Sin no longer has the power to prevent us from access to God.  Because of Jesus we have full confidence that God is for us

Hebrews 12:18-28
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire;
to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words
that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them,
because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned."  The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,
to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.
You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,
to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape
when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we,
if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth,
but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."
The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things
—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."

This is how I've been applying this knowledge of grace. 
1.  I still put on my armor daily.  It reminds me that I am saved by grace and I can only walk in this life through His righteousness. 
2.  When I sin, which I do, I bring my heart in confident expectation to the throne of grace.  I no longer cower away from God in shame and guilt, or try to fix  my darkness by being "a better person."  Rather, I say, "Lord, here is my heart, here is my sin.  Please show me how to overcome this by your grace."  I realize that He wants to set me free and that any exposure He brings to my sin is an invitation from the Father to be free.  What a beautiful place to be, in the presence of God, the all consuming fire, who is able to consume the remains of our sin and set us free.

So thank you for reading my journey to understand grace.  As I said, it is a journey and by no means am I perfect at it.  But I'm living by God's grace, His enabling power, and I'm walking with much more confidence knowing that I have a loving Father, Son and Holy Spirit cheering me on and inviting me to rest in their arms when I fail.

Living Through Christ,

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