Grace For The Journey
Far too many in the church today believe Jesus saved them to make them “good.” They’re missing altogether the deeper message of our salvation. They have reduced the Bible to a book of rules and shrunk their faith to a “things-to-do” list. For those who may be trapped in this gross misunderstanding of the Christian faith, let me say this:
Jesus did not save you to make you good;
He saved you to make you His!
And out of the Gospel-truth of being His, good behavior and good works naturally flow!
The Bible declares in Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying the ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age. Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, who are zealous for good works.”
Our goodness flows out of our relationship with Jesus Christ. There is nothing within us that causes goodness or contributes in any way to our producing it. Once Jesus saves us, and makes us His, He stays with us through the long haul. Jesus promises in Matthew 28:20, “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). When we understand this Gospel-truth, we no longer have to keep trying to work our way into His continued acceptance. Our acceptance is based not on what we do, but on what Jesus did on our behalf.
“Work harder and do more!” is the slave driver’s pitiless cry to the Christian who has not yet been seized by the truth of the Gospel grace. These miserable saints fail to realize that by working to prove their love for God, or to pay for the love He lavishes on us, they are more tightly focused on themselves than they are on God!
And this is precisely what the devil wants God’s people to be doing.
The dominating forces driving these individuals are guilt and fear. They feel guilty over their past and fearful about their future. They look back and see the countless times they fell short of God’s mark and are consumed by an overwhelming sense of indebtedness. They believe they must repay God in some way for all He has done for them. To be blunt, they feel they need to buy God’s love.
They look ahead, fearful about a future that will be marked by not measuring up (that is, not proving their love for God) and suffering the consequences delivered by the hand of a God who will inevitably come looking for a little payback! In other words, they believe God is going to “exact His pound of flesh from them.” When we mistakenly base our relationship with Jesus on our good works, we live lives of quiet desperation and utter despair. Does any of this resonate with you?
The way out of this mess is by going deeper into the Gospel of grace. All others religions say, “DO!” Only Christianity says, “DONE!” Because of what Jesus has done for you, you don’t have to fixate on what you are doing for Him. It is only when we see our salvation as being more about whose we are rather than what we do that we will begin living a life that is pleasing to God and a joy for us. Good works flow out of an understanding that, even without them, I am still loved and accepted in Christ.
Jesus doesn’t call us to “Do more and try harder.”
Instead He calls us to,
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” …
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
This is God’s Word For Today … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”