In the past couple years the Lord has shown me such grace and kindness when all I could seem to do was fail Him time and time again. Not to say my actions weren’t answered with discipline in one form or another, but even through that discipline His love was evident.
Paul wrote most of the New Testament and you’ll be hard pressed to find one of his letters that doesn’t have the word “grace” in it. In Ephesians 1:7 he emphasizes, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to His grace.” This means that Jesus made it possible for all of our sin to be gone and forgotten. All of it. Because of this, those of us who have truly accepted the Lord have a great hope that we will someday be at His side forever. How much more gracious and merciful can someone get?
So now that we have this amazing and mind blowing gift, does our life need to reflect that? I cannot say enough that yes it really does! In the time when I felt I was drifting further and further away from the Lord, and could hardly feel His presence, I knew I was not living a life that was pleasing to God. And I knew I needed to drop my burdens and my sin and lay it all on the altar to burn up. That sounds intense, but it is so necessary. Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” Paul knew it was essential for the church to strive every day to live a holy and blameless life, and to follow Jesus’ example (Colossians 1:22-23). And we are to do this with reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28).
Some might ask why it is so important to change our lives so drastically. After all, grace is a gift. Paul answers this perfectly when he wrote to the Thessalonians: “that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It all comes back to glorifying the Lord. He is the one who saved from hell those who would choose to follow Him.
Now, I have seen so many people read about God’s grace, accept it gladly, and then fail to change certain things in their life. Or they may live a godly life for a while, and then slip back into a life of continuous and unrepentant sin. Either way, Galatians 5:4 clearly says, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” And Paul was writing this to the church, not strangers who had never heard the gospel before. He was telling his family in Christ that they were moving backward, and moving away from the saving grace of God.
But how is that possible then if God’s grace covers everything we do and if we can never be separated from Him? His grace does cover all our sins as well as when we stumble even after we are saved, and there IS nothing that can separate us from Him. However, we are oh so good at separating ourselves from His presence as a result of our choosing to sin. And if and when we do find our way back to Him we must remain steadfast, relying on Jesus for literally everything, otherwise we find ourselves back to where we started. And I can tell you from experience that that is a crippling place to be.
I cringe to think of what my life would be like without His grace.