Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Taking the Amazing out of Grace: Religious traditions of man

So you, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1 MEV 

 Grace, the Grace of Almighty God by nature is amazing. It is over the top, too good to be true but true Good News. Grace did for us what no personal achievement, action, or accomplishment could ever do. If it's Grace plus our work, then it ceases to be Grace, but a wage earned. 

 Grace is undeserved, unearned, and unmerited favor. It's God Himself stooping down to lost humanity and becoming one of us and taking our place on the Cross of judgment. Jesus is Grace. Grace is amazing.

 As wonderful as Grace is, did you know it's possible to take the amazing out of Grace? You may be thinking I am out of my mind to dare suggest something like this. Let me show you how it's possible.

 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

Here we see Jesus speaking clearly of God's Word. How can mere man make the Word of God of no effect? When we understand what Jesus is saying in context it becomes clearer. God's Word is established forever. However, it can become ineffectual in the personal lives of men when we exalt tradition over truth when we accept man's ways and reject God's ways.

 The same way man can make of no effect His Word, we can make His Grace of no effect in our life by adopting and embracing the traditions of men, and false teachings of deceived and misguided "ministers". We are in essence taking the amazing out of Grace. How do we know we are taking the amazing out of Grace?

 We are taking the amazing out of Grace when we exalt the Law over Grace. Jesus preached the sermon on the mount to bring clarity back to the Law. Matthew's Gospel records it beginning in Matthew 5

 The Pharisees and Sadducees had preached the Mosaic Law only as an outward display of righteousness. Jesus masterfully brought the Law back to its intended glory and purpose. He brought it back as an inward matter of the heart, not merely an outward display.

 Tradition declares that Grace brought a higher standard. That Jesus was ministering Grace as He taught the Sermon on the Mount. No, Jesus was revealing the full force and weight of the Law. Why? To reveal to all that we all need a Savior. 

 When we dilute Grace into something we do or something we need to achieve we've just cheapened Grace. When we create a view that Grace is a list of rules, regulations, and rituals to follow to the letter, we have taken the amazing out of Grace and reverted back to works.

 We take the amazing out of Grace when we mix Law and Grace. When we preach that we are made Righteous by Faith the moment we are saved but if we sin afterward we have lost that Righteousness and must do something to achieve that Righteousness again we have made Grace ineffective. Never forget, we are made Righteous once for all time apart from performance or our behavior the moment we believed, that's Grace!

 We take the amazing out of Grace when we preach insecurity and partial forgiveness. Messages saying we are only forgiven up to the point of salvation but for any sins committed afterward we must apologize and confess in order to be forgiven means we are taking the amazing out of Grace. Remember we are forgiven once for all time the moment we believed, that's Grace!

 Any message that suggests we can undo the Finished Work of Christ by our actions, our sins or unfaithfulness, or unbelief is taking the amazing out of Grace. There were no achievements or amount of good works that would merit our salvation, therefore there is no amount of bad works or unfaithfulness that could undo what only Christ could do. Once we believed, we were made forever secure in the Father's hands, that's Grace!

 In summation, let's allow His Grace to have the final say. We could never earn or achieve His Goodness or favor. Let's exalt His Grace and not our works. Let's look to Jesus and not ourselves. In Heaven, the worship song will not be worthy is the Lamb...and me. It's Grace alone from beginning to end. 

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

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