Grace and Holiness
Christians walk in a place of grace. I don’t earn God’s love, favor or attention by the things that I do. He gives his love freely because he genuinely, deeply and eternally loves us. No, I don’t earn God’s love or affection. I can’t buy my entrance into heaven by what I do. Yet I demonstrate how much his love has transformed me by the things that I pursue. I don’t earn God’s love. I show God how much I am, or am not, in love with him.
Jesus is all about love, desire and affection. He said when we look lustfully at a someone, we may have well as slept together. He said when you hate someone, you are no different from a murderer. He warned his followers to forgive others; otherwise they wouldn’t experience his Father’s forgiveness. At the same time, He didn’t do away with the law. Instead Jesus expanded it, exploded it by living the intents of the law, and showing us that through his grace, we can live holy, upright and blameless lives that are different than the world around us, and thereby point to a different kingdom, and different God.
When I show love to another, at the core is denying myself and doing what that person perceives as loving. Denying myself must be at the center of showing love to my God, Father, the one who gave his life for me. What I love is the central idea of holiness, and personal holiness isn’t an Old Testament idea, set aside by the cross and Jesus blood of the New Testament.
There’s a pervasive, perverse interpretation of grace sweeping its way into the Christian church and culture that’s not the message Jesus taught or lived. Throughout the New Testament, we are warned to watch out for these corrupted teachers. Jude wrote of this lie, which was apparently as popular in the first century church as it is today.It says everything is up to God, so we don’t have to worry about, or be mindful of our behavior. One popular author goes to great lengths, and has to rewrite much of gospels and ignore the book of Revelation to support his Grace Message. Another leader of a para-church ministry preaches that if you sin lustfully, don’t worry about it. Just invite Christ into the situation, because you’re saved by grace.
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4 NLT)
Saved by grace – Absolutely. Do I, or can I do anything to earn my entrance into heaven – Nope, zip, zero, nadda. At the same time, I am saved, redeemed, and set free from sin for a purpose, and saved toward the expectation of a changed life.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2.11-14 ESV)
What have you heard of the recent “Grace Message” preaching? Does this message satisfy your soul, or leave you hungry, still wanting more of God? Are you set free in Christ to do what you want? Or are you called to become like Him in thought, word, deed and character?