In the recent weeks, we've been engaged in a brief study of the vital relationship between Grace and truth. We've seen the significance of defending the truth from error and traditions of men. There is another area of truth we need to establish. We as believers who've been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus must live the truth. What exactly do I mean by living the truth?
Living the truth isn't a state of perfection. It's a state of mind, that we will remain faithful to the truth we know and understand. It's not altering behavior to please people or religious traditions. I'm not advocating we be rude to others or use our liberty and freedom as a stumbling block to others. I am only stating the importance of walking in the truth we know and understand.
Peter and Paul's interaction in Galatians 2 is a perfect illustration of this. Peter was the first to see that God had invited all, Jew and gentile, to receive the free gift of Grace. He had the truth revealed. He knew and understood it. Yet under pressure to please men and to conform to religious traditions, he chose not to live out the truth he'd been revealed. He chose not to eat with the gentile believers.
Paul understood what it meant to live the truth. He didn't allow tradition or the pressure to please people to determine how he should live. He chose to walk out the truth he'd been revealed. He rightly rebuked Peter for embracing tradition. This is a clear illustration of the vital relationship of Grace and Truth. Grace is the Gospel. The truth is God's Word. The two are inseparable.
Three hearers of Grace:
The Clear Good News Gospel of Grace
Having heard the good news we simply place our trust in Christ alone and we are saved for eternity. Religion says no, in order to be saved one must repent and commit to Christ's Lordship and determine to not engage in sin again. What rubbish.
Am I saying that we should sin or not commit to Christ? Certainly not. What I am saying is to be born again all one must do is simply believe. Is there a place for repentance? Sure, but it's the true meaning of the word. When we hear the good news we change our minds about doing things our own way. We change our thinking about Jesus Christ. We realize our need for Him and simply trust in Him.
This Lordship Salvation model is all too often practiced in most churches. This is the starting point of a performance-based relationship with God. God isn't our good Father and Jesus isn't our loving Savior and best friend. God is our taskmaster we must submit to. Under Grace we understand He committed to us, so we commit to Him by not trusting in works or performance or any Law keeping to maintain my salvation and relationship.
We are born again and redeemed unto a loving everlasting relationship. It is a relationship not rooted in rules or regulations. It is a relationship rooted in His Finished Work and never in our performance. Tradition makes it seem as if God gets so displeased with us because we don't live up to our end of the bargain. First the bargain wasn't made with us. God and Jesus cut the New Covenant between themselves. We are beneficiaries of this Covenant. It isn't based on us, or our goodness or faithfulness.
The concept that those in Christ have perfect acceptance can be mind boggling. This means when you have a need, or a burden weighing you down, or experiencing a trial or temptation or just have a broken heart that you don't go through some ritual to come to your Father. It means we always have His attention. We don't do anything but call upon His name. He is always with us and will never leave us.
He will never say to you, "Why can't you be like brother or sister so and so over there?" "They never foul up like you." "You're a failure." "Well, you have a long way to go before I'll be pleased with you." These are the words of performance rooted philosophies. You are accepted in the Beloved and He rejoices over you with joy.
to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6 NKJV
How exciting and liberating the good news is that we are totally forgiven in Christ. The enemy, condemnation, and religion relish in reminding us of our failures and shortcomings and sins. When we know just how forgiven we are those words slide off of us like water off a duck's back.
Christ and His Finished Work and redeeming shed blood purchased our total forgiveness. We are forgiven of all our sins Past and present and Future. That is good news!
who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins. Colossians 1:14 TLB
This is the scandal of Grace. God loves lost, fallen and rebellious humanity. While we were His enemies in our actions, thoughts, and words He sent His own Son to pay the full price for our sins and transgression. The Father so longed for a family He sowed His own Son to reap a Family. This is the greatest love story ever told. Hollywood hasn't got anything on the Gospel.
Once in Grace always in Grace. We have an eternally secure salvation in Him. It strikes me as really odd that God would send us His Son and put on Him all the punishment and wrath for every sin and rebellion that will ever be committed, investing in complete redemption, only to have salvation rooted in the abilities of men to maintain it. Jesus bore that shame of the Cross for the joy set before Him. We were that joy. The joy of restored relationship with God by Grace through faith alone.
God wouldn't stake this restoration on the mere ability of mankind. People forget the Old Covenant was based upon the abilities of men. That could never work. So God cut the New Covenant between Himself. You can't get more eternally secure than God making a Covenant with Himself. This is the Gospel.
The Gospel is the Grace of God. This is reclaiming Grace. We must defend this truth from the schemes of the enemy. We must speak the truth of this Gospel even in the midst of religion and tradition. We must teach the truth in it's purity. We must live out the truth of the Gospel. We are saved, redeemed, accepted, forgiven. We are loved with the everlasting love of our Father that will never be displeased with you. We are forever secure in our Father's hands. We should never tire of hearing this good news Grace Gospel