Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Grace, Foolishness, or Legalism: Becoming Established in Grace

 For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) Romans 5:17 AMPC

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ...2 Corinthians 8:9a MEV 

 We have been in an ongoing study examining the practical aspects of the Christian life in light of Grace and the New Covenant. This explorative study comes in the form of a question. Are we living under true Grace or are we embracing foolish pseudo-Grace? Or are we living with a mixture of Grace and Law, or some other form of legalism?     

 Our Father's desire is for us to live victoriously in Christ. To live the abundant life Jesus' triumphant resurrection and Finished Work procured and purchased for us. But this overcoming life is only realized when we fully receive abundant Grace and of the gift of Righteousness. 

 This is why we must become established in the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is also why the enemy is so set against the Church discovering who we are, what we have, and what we can do through Christ. The enemy sows seeds of foolishness and raises up religious traditions to pervert the Grace of God. This is why we must contend for the Faith and not allow the enemy any footing. 

 In concluding this study, it seems good to look at the other practical everyday aspects of the Faith. Things like giving, soul-winning, and daily Bible reading. Again we want to examine them in light of Grace so we can become more and more established in Grace. 

Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace... Hebrews 13:9a

What about a prayer life under Grace? What about a daily devotional time set apart with God? Is this somehow legalistic or a performance-driven activity that we need to be free from?

 The foolish pseudo-grace thinking may claim it is. This is of course would be erroneous thinking. What is legalistic or performance-driven to spend time in fellowship with the One who loves us with everlasting love? That may be the root of the opposition, if devotional time or prayer time hasn't been joy-filled or fulfilling one could understand why someone wouldn't be interested in continuing it. 

 Time spent in prayer, reading and studying the Bible, God's Word, and meditating on His promise and provision, and goodness is not legalistic. It is connecting with our Savior intimately. It's not a work or a chore or a duty to fulfill. It's actually a receiving time. It's a time where God pours even more of His Love and mercy and Grace out upon all areas of lives. It's a time that heals our wounded hearts and brings stability to our emotions and calms our fears and anxiety. It's Facetime with our Father and He's always glad we came.

 Legalism tries to make daily devotionals a duty to perform. They say God is upset if we miss our time with God. That if we don't have time for Him, He won't make time for us nor hear us when we call upon Him. This is wrong thinking because it turns intimacy into an obligation and forced fellowship. 

 Spending time with our Father is part of life under Grace. Don't allow the foolish to abolish this out of your life. Don't allow the legalist to pervert it and turn it into some chore. 

 What about giving? Should those under Grace continue giving to the local church and missions? Of course. God so loved the world He gave...love gives. We are loved unconditionally by God. That Love received, compels us to be a blessing so others can also hear the Good News. This isn't legalism or trying to earn anything from God. This is a gracious and loving response to a loving God who wants to win the lost and use us as a channel of blessings.  

 Speaking of the lost, under Grace should we still try to win the lost to Christ? Of course. Knowing how Good our Father is, is a great motivator in witnessing to the lost. Contrary to the foolish, not all humanity is saved and made Righteous. The lost are still lost and need to receive this wonderful gift of Grace. 

 Winning the lost to Christ doesn't mean God loves you more. It's just taking part in Christ's ministry to a lost world. It's sharing His Grace with all. What about our manner of life under Grace? 

 Though legalism has taken this out of balance and turned holy living into a harsh message doesn't mean there isn't a true Grace-filled life that honors Christ. Foolishness says our behavior doesn't matter. Legalism says our behavior is our savior. Both are equally wrong. Our thinking, our speaking, and our actions will bring honor to Christ when we become more and more established in our true identity as the Righteousness of God in Christ.

 Grace received produces an empowerment. Grace gives us new desires. Paul gives us some insight in his Epistles. Watching what we "feed" upon is a key to cultivating the Godly desires Grace has deposited within. 

 It's just like junk food. Under Grace and the following the Spirit, we can limit how much of this world we allow in our thinking. Think of it, if we stuffed ourselves on stuff crust pizza all the time we wouldn't be as healthy as we could be. It's the power of right believing that produces a life that honors God.

 In summation, renewing the mind, daily devotionals, prayer time, witnessing to the lost, giving, and belonging to a local church or fellowship, (though I didn't touch on it here I have in previous articles), are not legalistic. It is foolishness to omit these from our life simply because we have now seen the truth of Grace. Grace found us, saved us, made us Righteous, and approved of God. 

 Let's live our lives in triumphant victory. Victory over all the schemes of the enemy. Victory over fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Victory over condemnation and a sense of unworthiness. Let's boldly reach out and receive all God has procured for us in Christ. Salvation, soundness, wholeness, preservation, and prosperity are ours because of His Grace. Embrace true Grace and walk in victory. 



Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

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