So lately I’ve been learning a lot about things I didn’t know were in the Bible. Or things I knew about but have seen them in a completely different way. For instance, I never got the fact that in Matthew 6:19 where we are told not to store up treasures on earth, I didn’t get that it was a command. DO NOT store up treasures on earth. I simply took it as a slight suggestion – kinda like the pirate code. And I thought it’s purpose was because things don’t last long here and can get stolen. Kind of like a truth about stuff, not really about heavenly things at all.
So it comes as no surprise that I recently learned that we mostly get it only partially right when we talk about grace. Yes, grace is a free gift of God and totally undeserved by us. Yes, Grace is lavished on us to save us from our sins. No we can’t earn it. However, did you know this is not how grace was first introduced in the Bible? It’s not the first thing God wanted us to know about His amazing Grace!
First let me backtrack a little bit for our foundation.
“14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14 NIV
“27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:27 NASB
“Interestingly, this is the single description of those He’s returning for. Think of it – scripture doesn’t identify His bride as being powerful, relevant, organized, leadership-driven, well-connected, worshipful or joyful. All those are great traits, but the predominant characteristic He wants in His bride is that she be “holy and without blemish”. – John Bevere in his book Good or God
Holy means set apart for God’s use. It also means pure, sinless and upright. There are times in the Bible where it actually uses the word sinless in the fact that we are to be sinless. But how in the world are we to live up to such a lofty goal?
And as for us, we make excuses. “Oh God knows Jimmy had football practice so we couldn’t go to church.” Well God understands we’re only human.” “Oh, it’s just a white lie.” Seriously, are there any ‘white’ lies? I din’t know lies had a color. Kind of like witchcraft…
This leads us straight back to grace.
Did you know that grace empowers us to live sinless and holy? Check this out!
“9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
LOOK! Right there he called grace His power. And it’s in God’s power that our target life is a sinless one. Yes, we screw up, but that’s where the other portion of grace comes in; the unmerited favor.
“2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
Again, it’s calling grace ‘His divine power’. And when we accept Jesus and believe in Him, we are empowered with His power and might.
And there is evidence of grace. In Acts 11:23 Barnabas came to the church in Antioch. When he got there he “saw the evidence of the grace of God.” People’s behavior was an outward sign of the power of God in their lives. You just can’t get this with make up or clothes or at the plastic surgeon like we do in our culture today.
James says to “Show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith with works.” (James 2:18) Because there is an outward evidence of grace in a believer’s life. And we have access to this grace because in Romans 5:2 it says that because we have believed we have access to this grace – get this – in which we stand. If we didn’t have grace, God’s empowerment, we would not be able to stand!
So today, when you’re struggling with your thought-life, when you are ready to give in and do THAT thing again, remember. We have access to God’s grace – His power. And that is through prayer. Just stop yourself and ask for God’s help in that situation. And He will give you grace.