“For I have a strong desire to see you, and to give you some grace of the spirit, so that you may be made strong.”— Romans 1:11 BBEGrace doesn’t make us soft. It doesn’t make us weak. It makes us strong. It strengthens, builds up, and establishes.
The subject of God’s grace has a long and jaded history in God’s church. During the middle ages, the church of the “dark ages” made God’s grace very expensive. Penance and price were required to obtain absolution, and the assuaging of the wrath of an offended God. Then came the reformation and, although it was a step in the right direction, it wasn’t quite far enough. The reformation theorized that, in order to obtain God’s grace, we only need to repent, confess, and believe. This only proved to cheapen God’s grace. Sure it was less expensive, but it still required something from us first and thus it was stripped, robbed of its power.
When we see a concerning condition in the church, in other peoples lives, or even ourselves, we are often tempted to resort to a “get it right” approach. A Pep talk ensues which seeks to motivate us to reach the standard that we are ever lifting higher. But Paul’s thought here is quite different. He desired to share grace in order to strengthen and build up the church.
What few have realized is that the answer to expensive grace and to failing morality is not to make grace less expensive. In other words, the solution is to reveal God’s grace as neither expensive nor cheap . . . it’s FREE!
“In the matchless gift of His son, God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air which circulates around the globe. All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere will live, and grow up to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.” (E. G. White, God’s Amazing Grace p. 238)
Before you did anything, and even if you never do anything, God has already poured out heaven for you. He has encircled you, every moment of your life, with an atmosphere of Grace that is as real as the air you are breathing. Watch closely how this affects our hearts as compared to our previous two prospects.
When God’s grace is dependent on something we do first, all we are left with is the satisfaction that we’ve met all of the requirements and that our carcass will get to live for eternity. We are left with an ever present, low rumbling of uncertainty in our core that suggests we still may not have truly done enough.
On the contrary, when we realize what God’s grace really is, that we have done nothing to be made worthy of it, and grasp that it has always been surrounding us “freely,” something happens in the human heart. Love awakens love. We cease to be concerned with if we “make it.” We cease to matter. Our only concern becomes wanting to know how to genuinely say “thank you” to this God whose love we have underestimated. There is assurance, but even greater still, there is a change in our center. We begin to enter into the philanthropic nature of God rather than our egocentric concern of our own affairs. We begin to be obsessed with only one desire, one focus: What can I do to show Him how much I appreciate Him? What can I do to love Him the way He loves me? Our focus shifts from trying to do enough to be saved, to realizing that what we do never seems to be enough to truly say “thank you.” And that, my friend, is conversion. “He died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)
God’s grace truly is amazing, if you can see it.
“For the grace of God has come, giving salvation to all men.” Titus 2:11 BBE
“God has wrought out salvation for every man, and has given it to him; but the majority spurn it, and throw it away. The Judgment will reveal the fact that full and complete salvation was given to every man, and that the lost have deliberately thrown away their birthright possession.” (E.J. Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p. 23)
The condition of the church today is not a reflection of the loose culture in which we live, but the result of a century of gazes fixed on the law rather than the life changing, matchless grace of our altruistic, benevolent God.
I wish you God’s best this week!