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What Is Grace?
by Annagail Lynes
8/11/2007 / Christian Living
What is thought of when we say the word Grace? Maybe the song "Amazing Grace." Perhaps we think that grace was only sufficient enough to get us saved.
But grace is more than a song. It's more than an agent by which we are saved. Although it definitely is.
The wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23). We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). And God's penalty for sin is death. He knew if He were going to save us all that a sacrifice had to be made, but it couldn't be just any sacrifice. I couldn't die on a cross to save the whole worldpast, present and future. No, it had to be a sinless, blameless sacrifice. It had to be Jesus. He died in our stead, for our sinspast, present and future. But God didn't leave Him dead. No, He raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). Jesus ascended into Heaven and is at the right-hand of the Father, making intercession for us (Romans 8:34). Now that's grace.
Grace is God doing through us what we cannot do through ourselves. It is His unmerited favor. He doesn't treat us as we deserve (Psalms 103:10). When we accept what His Son did for us, He no longer sees us in all our muck and sins. He sees Jesus' blood covering us. That shed blood puts us in right standing with God (II Corinthians 5:21). Because of the blood, we can go boldly before the throne of grace to find mercy and grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
We have mercy and grace because of Jesus' shed blood. We have God's unmerited favor.
Some believe we are saved not by grace but by keeping the law. Paul points out that if we could have been able to get into Heaven through obeying the law, then there would have been no need for Jesus (the better covenant) to come (Galatians 2:21). No, keeping the law does not save us nor can it admit us to Heaven. Only Jesus can save us.
So is the law abolished? No, Jesus came to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Although we are saved by grace, we should follow the guidelines of the Commandments God has set forth. Not because we have to but because they will keep us from trouble. If more people would obey them, there would be less killings, robberies, adultery and violence in this world. If every one would just follow the ones set forth by Jesus in the New Testament that say we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls and with all our minds and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39), the world would have less crime and a lot more nice people.
Most preachers teach a sin-consciousness doctrine. I do not believe this is doing anyone any good. All it is doing is causing everyone to be fearful of making a mistake, of sinning, or getting out of God's will.
Instead I subscribe to the righteous-consciousness doctrine. Because of Jesus' shed blood, we are righteous (II Corinthians 5:21). We are in right standing with God. Our sins are covered by His blood. We don't need to do penitence or do works to earn God's forgiveness. We have it by accepting Jesus. I believe that when we are aware of this and truly believe in what God did for us, we will not want to sin.
Many people know they are righteous, but they don't believe. Partly because well-meaning pastors and teachers have for so long interchanged the words for righteousness and holiness.
Righteousness, being in right-standing with God, has nothing to do with us. It is all about Jesus and His shed blood.
Holiness is how we act, our behavior. Holiness is only attained by God's Spirit working through us. We can only change by the Spirit of God. We cannot change on our own. We need to make a decision to yield to the Holy Spirit and let Him work though us.
Wasn't that one of our definitions of grace? God working through us to do through us what we cannot do on our own?
We are righteous as long as we have accepted Jesus in our hearts (Romans 10:9-10).. Our sins are blotted out (Isaiah 43:25). God has removed them as far as the east as from the west (Psalms 103:12). We are in right standing with Him. Hallelujah!
Now, as I mentioned, grace is not just about salvation. In fact salvation is not just about the cleansing of sins. Jesus didn't only take our sins on the Cross, but our sicknesses, our poverty, our generational curses and all the curses listed in Deuteronomy 28 as well (Galatians 3:13). He didn't just forgive our sins. He died so we might be whole.
Grace is all of that. It involves all the aspects of salvation as well as giving us the ability to do things we normally would not be able to do.
For example, Oral Roberts used to erect tents and have tent meetings in various cities. He would preach mighty messages and lay hands on the sick and see them healed. Yet Oral Roberts had been a sickly, stuttering young man. What caused him to be able to preach and pray that well? God working through him to do through him what he could not do.
What took Moses from being a slow-of-speech, fearful murderer to the mighty leader of the Israelites while they were in the wilderness? The grace of God. What took a sneak and a swindler like Jacob and made him into a favored man of God? The grace of God. What took a man who murdered Christians as Paul did and made him a mighty voice for God in the New Testament? Again, the grace of God.
What God did for them, He can do for us. He can take us from being fearful and anxiety-ridden, like me, or a stutter like Oral Roberts, or a murderer like Moses, and He can work through us to spread the Gospel, to see people healed, saved and delivered. It is possible if we allow God to work through us.
It is not about who we are right now. It is about who God created us to be. He created us to be winners, champions in life. He created us to be the head and not the tail, above and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13). He created us to be victors and not victims.
If we allow God to work through us, God can take our ordinary lives and do extraordinary things with them (Ephesians 3:20).
Annagail Lynes is a pharmacy technician, certified life coach and ordained minister. She is helping people move forward after trauma by helping them discover their purpose. Follow her blog at 316counseling.com
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