Have you ever been enthralled in an adventure film and the hero is desperately searching for the antidote to some poison the villain has infected them with? You breathe a sigh of relief as the hero finds the help and the villain is captured never to do harm again. Can I tell you of a real-life adventure? If you are a believer you live out one daily.
You see as a child of God, the World, the flesh, (that old way of thinking, the unrenewed mind), and the enemy, the defeated devil, seek to constantly inject "poison" into you every day. Be it the "poison" of fear, shame, guilt, condemnation, stress or even the religious tradition of men. The Good News is God has already granted us the antidote for all the schemes of the enemy and whatever this World may try to throw our way. What is this antidote?
Grace! God's Radical Grace is the antidote for all that seeks to derail us and bring us destruction and defeat. God's unearned, unmerited, undeserved favor brings us the constant victory. It reminds us the Work is Finished. Jesus is King! He is victorious and the enemy is defeated.
Grace isn't just about being unable to save ourselves. It isn't just about exchanging our unrighteousness with His perfect righteousness. Though these truths are amazing and essential to know to walk in victory, Grace has done so much more than that.
Grace connotes the idea of stooping down. Like a King stooping down from his horse and lifting up a commoner. In other words, God came down from Heaven, became a man and lifted us up. Think of it. Undeserving, selfish, sinful, wicked humanity who were going about satisfying our every unrenewed desire and God stooped down to rescue us. God looked past our faults, flaws, and failures because He desired a family.
God's amazing over the top Grace, is not just for procuring our eternal salvation. It is also where we find our true identity. It is where we see all He made us in the Finished Work. It gives us a new purpose for living. It's God and His unconditional love and acceptance surrounding all areas of our life.
When we as believers see the "poison" of religious tradition seeking to infect us we now know the antidote is already prepared. When we go to a church gathering, an evangelistic meeting, a crusade meeting or any Christian assembly and they began to spread the poison of tradition you have no need to fear. Know Grace is the antidote.
When you're sitting there and they begin to tell you that you need to do more of this or that in order for God to accept you or love you or favor you just take the antidote of Grace. You know its His undeserved favor that brings acceptance not your performance. Now certainly, I am not suggesting these religious leaders are intentionally seeking to wreak havoc in your life, they are just deceived themselves by the traditions of men, and Grace is the same antidote for them too.
Often, religious tradition means well, but it always leads to more bondage. Bondage to works and performance and futile attempts to earn God's love and acceptance. For instance, as believers in Christ, we know from God's Word to the Church, that He desires we grow and bring forth the fruit of righteousness. Now how is that accomplished?
Religious tradition begins to preach and place demands on God's people. You need to be in church more. You need to study God's Word more. You need to pray more. You need to give more offerings. You need to share your faith more. It's all do, do, do. It's a constant harping on doing these good things. What is the result? Guilt, and shame because we don't consistently, engage in personal devotions, prayer or sharing our faith. Our church attendance can become sporadic.
We then look at our lives and make a connection between not doing these things and receiving God's goodness. The antidote is Grace. We must remember He is good to us because He is good not because we are good.
Instead of constantly harping on doing good things and pointing out the areas where we are missing it, how about we tell people the Good News? Instead of telling folk, read your Bible or pray, how about telling people how much God loves them? What we really need is to remind people how loved they are by God.
Want to see growth in Grace? Tell people how much God loves them. Tell people how pleased He is with them. Tell them how God accepts with them and approves of them. Pray they experience His unconditional love, goodness, and favor.
Tradition says "you're unworthy."
Grace the antidote says "The Cross made you worthy!"
Tradition says "God is punishing you for your sins."
Grace the antidote says "Jesus bore all the punishment for your sins, He isn't charging your sins to your account, now live in the freedom only Grace brings, and sin will not have dominion over you."
Tradition says "God is mad at you, God is so disappointed in you!"
Grace the antidote says "God is satisfied with Jesus once for all sacrifice. Because of Jesus, you're the beloved with whom He is well pleased."
In summation, no matter what words tradition speaks over you, Grace has the antidote to remove those lies. Grace received produces victory in every area of this life. Christianity is Grace from start to finish. It is only in the Finished Work will we find our peace and stability and true identity.