Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Let Us Have Grace"

    "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14).
    Problems with sin have their root in problems with grace.  The Apostle Paul declares that God's undeserved favor granted to us through Christ frees us from the dominion of sin - "But God be thanked that ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18).  Believers nevertheless still find themselves greatly challenged by temptation, and we still sin (I John 1:8).  Our imperfect understanding, experience and accessing of grace makes us susceptible to the prodding of the world, the devil and the flesh despite the truth that the mastery of sin in us has been replaced by the mastery of righteousness.
    It is vital that we understand this root issue concerning the ongoing challenge of temptation we face in so many forms.  Too often we blame fruit rather than the root.  "I'm not disciplined enough... I'm not dedicated enough... I'm not determined enough... I'm not serious enough... I'm not prayerful enough."  All of these and other spiritual liabilities may be true, but we fail to diagnose the true cause of unbelief and disobedience if we do not recognize such weaknesses as symptoms rather than the disease.  Again, by Biblical definition, problems with sin stem from problems with grace.  As the writer of Hebrews commanded, "Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28).  Thus, in those matters in which we are not serving "acceptably, with reverence and godly fear," we are in some manner failing to "have grace."
    "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).  The grace of the Lord Jesus that birthed us is the grace that sustains, nurtures and empowers us.  Our spiritual enemies are well aware of this, and thus ever seek to discourage, deceive, and distract us from the only way we can successfully relate to God.  All true godliness in our lives begins and continues with His freely given favor, and subsequent working in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).  We must increasingly understand and embrace such blessed truth if we are to experience the power thereof.  Our faithfulness to God is the fruit of the faithfulness of God.  To the degree we are growing in such awareness of so great a salvation and so great a Savior will be the degree to which we advance in matters of faith and obedience. Yes, let us have grace...
"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
(I Corinthians 15:10)

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