If it sounds too good to be true…

…it probably is, right??  A cliche’ we believe to be true as we have read, heard, and perhaps experienced the get-rich-quick schemes, the impossible promises offered constantly through the media, and the ever-so-popular messages of 3 or 5 or 12 Steps To Whatever It Is We Want and the like, messages and schemes that have even found their way to a few pulpits.  It can be hard to tell the truth from the lies when they are so craftily woven together, and thus, it is very easy to become seriously skeptical of anything that isn’t a product of good old hard work and effort.

But what about grace?  It most certainly sounds too good to be true!

Grace is the undeserved favor and mercy and forgiveness of God given freely and lavishly to every believer. Just because He loves us.  We can’t earn it or work hard enough to deserve it or completely understand it.  It is a magnificent, miraculous, amazing gift that is ours to receive if we will.  Our human training has not prepared us for this.  We struggle first of all with agreeing that this grace really exists.  Then we continue to look for ways to earn it – we try to pray more, serve more, give more, work more, obey more…  Then we resist because we’ve never really accepted that we were given a new nature to replace our old sin nature, and this grace sounds like permission to sin…

We say we believe in what Jesus accomplished on the cross:  our salvation, the forgiveness of our sins, our deliverance from the powers of evil and death.  We quote the scriptures that we have been fully reconciled to God, Adam’s failure no longer our legacy, and sing the praises of being an heir of Almighty God, a joint-heir with Jesus Himself.  Yet we struggle.  We are constantly examining ourselves and others, finding fault in our humanity and living as if the failures we see will somehow change our position before God.  We’ve been trained to be sin-conscious rather than grace-conscious.  We have been freed from the power of sin but continue to give sin power over us because it’s what we focus on.  What would our lives be like if we focused on grace?

James writes:

“But He gives us more and more grace – power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency (our unfaithfulness to God) and all others fully.  That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace continually to the lowly – those who are humble enough to receive it.”  4:6

Grace is power.  He gives it.  Our part:  receive.  Just take it.  Whenever you sin, quickly confess and take the grace that assures you God hasn’t moved in His love and favor towards you.  This is how we live in the freedom Jesus died for!  We can trust this grace.  It will never lead us to sin.  In fact, it will do exactly the opposite:

“For the grace of God – His unmerited favor and blessing – has come forward for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind.  It (the grace of God) has trained us to reject all ungodliness and worldly desires, to live discreet, upright, devout lives in this present world.”  Titus 2:11-12

This grace will teach and train us not to sin!!!  All our self-efforts falls dramatically short in this endeavor. Grace does not mean that we become unaware of sin.  The Holy Spirit will always convict and correct, but because of Jesus this is done without condemnation.  Did you get that??  His correction is always done in love with no judgement, no accusations.  We can only grasp this if we began to focus on His amazing grace.

Too good to be true?  In the natural, yes.  But we were made to be aliens inhabiting this natural world.   When we came to Christ we became citizens of the kingdom of God, the supernatural realm where grace rules.  Just say “Yes!”

 

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