Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Grace Q & A: Does God ever require anything of us?
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NKJV
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 NASB
In the recent weeks, we've been in an extended study of the great Grace of God. We've been getting back to the basics of the Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ. We've just been doing a simple Grace question and answer format. If you have questions, by all means, leave them in the comment section below.
So far we've seen that we are not under condemnation under Grace. We've asked the question is God always pleased with us? Today, I sense the guidance to address another issue. Does God ever require anything of us? If He does how does that reconcile with Grace?
Does God ever require anything of His redeemed? His children? This is a question that requires the delicate balance of the Word of God. Because legalistic religious tradition and the unlearned foolish would misapply and mislead. Religion would have one to believe God demands and requires works and achievement and performance to secure God's love and favor and goodness. The foolish would float around thinking there is no standard of conduct, no perimeters within to operate, a do what thou wilt philosophy.
We must use the Scripture, rightly divided because there are times and situations where God does require something from us. Under the Old Covenant God required the Children of Israel to follow the demands of the Law. In His mercy, He instituted the sacrifices, which do give us a foreshadowing of the once for all sacrifice of Christ, for when they missed it.
In the New Covenant, we also see passages that seem God is putting forth requirements for believers. Rightly divided we see God requires things of Christians who are called into ministry and leadership roles. The key here is understanding these are Christians who are freely entering the service of the Lord.
Serving in ministerial leadership has some requirements because we are representing Christ to a fallen and fractured World who need to see real people. People who can help lead them to the Savior. Leaders who won't take advantage of them. Who aren't out to hurt them or mislead them.
Now the religious among us who fight Grace and wish to institute a performance centered gospel would readily say if there are requirements of a believer then that isn't Grace. They would proclaim I thought you hyper-Gracers say that God did it all? Why do you have to "do" anything?
Their motive is to get people back under works. What they fail to understand is what the Hyper-Grace Gospel is all about. Grace isn't a do-nothing message. It is a do-nothing in order to receive His love, goodness and favor and blessings. If you're engaging in spiritual disciplines or works in order for God to do something for you, then you are operating under Old Covenant principles.
Now, let's bring all this together. Even if there is a demand or requirement under Grace we must understand God has already given us the supply. This is the aspect of Grace that some forget.
The Law demands but it can't supply. Religion can see portions of the New Covenant that address behavior or spiritual disciplines like prayer and turn them into requirements that must be met in our own effort and strength. Any aspect of the Christian life can find its supply in Grace.
Whatever the demand Grace is the supply. The Law demands righteousness. Grace supplies that righteousness in the person of Christ.
Religious tradition makes ardent, strenuous demands of people. Grace supplies the believer with the truth of who they are in Christ. Grace reveals their true identity and acceptance with their loving Father God.
The flesh makes a demand that we fulfill its lusts and unrenewed desires. Grace supplies us with the empowerment over that addiction and the freedom and deliverance from darkness and destructive habits. Grace shows us we don't have to surrender to that addiction or habit.
What has God asked of us as New Covenant believers?
Jesus answered and said to them, John 6:29 NASB
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. 1 John 3:23 NKJV
What has God asked of us? Simply to believe and walk in His love. When we believe in Him and love others we will walk in wholeness and uprightness. The standard isn't rules or regulations from men, it's adhering to what God said in His Word. Well brother, if He is asking this of us then we are earning something, right? No, God also has given us faith and put His love in our hearts when we received Him.
He commands us to walk in love but supplied that ability to do so. Romans 5. He commands us to believe but He gave us His Faith, Ephesians 2 and Romans 10. Wherever we see demand know Grace brings a full supply.
In summation, we can't say it enough. Wherever there is a demand God has already supplied it. God tells us to forgive, but He has already forgiven us, so we can forgive others. He gave us His righteousness and made us holy once for all time in the Finished Work. So we can walk uprightly because He already made us holy. Grace did it all and any requirement finds its full supply in Grace.
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net