Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Undeserving

GRACE: God's unmerited favor.
In other words, getting something that I do not deserve.


“If your preaching of the gospel of God's free grace in Jesus Christ does not provoke the charge from some of antinomianism, you're not preaching the gospel of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ.”
-David Martyn Lloyd-Jones


Eric and I started out our journey as Christians in a high-grace, high-freedom atmosphere where the gospel and grace was taught almost every week. 
We knew nothing else. 
And it never got old.

The only danger I see in that might have been that maybe we were sometimes too casual or lethargic in following Christ.

I prefer those risks than the alternative of the bondage of thinking that our relationship with God is somehow performance based. That He won't love us unless we improve. That we need to do more, be better, or try harder for God to accept us.

I would rather err on the side of GRACE than judgement, legalism or moralism.

Because that amazing grace is the root of the gospel I accepted.

I believe that to say anything else is to say that Christ is not enough.
And I cannot abide anything stifling the gospel of God's free grace.

What does it mean that I've been saved
by grace alone?

It means I am forever safe and sound in Jesus.
And that there is absolutely nothing I can EVER do to deserve it.
Ever.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 


But what about Philippians 2:12-13?
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

I always used to stop at the "fear and trembling" part, but today it was everything after the comma that jumped out at me, so I'm going to repeat this:

"for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."


IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN ME! 

It is by His Grace that I do anything good!

That really takes the pressure off, huh?

But what about James 2:26?

Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.



BUT SALVATION IS NOT DEPENDENT ON WORKS.


The Gospel says, "because of what God has already done for me in Christ, I am accepted. Therefore, I will inevitably improve because I am a new creation."


"The irony of gospel growth: We actually perform better in life as we grow in our understanding that our relationship with God is not based on our performance."
-Tullian Tchividjian's sermon series Jesus + Nothing = Everything has been "like cold water to a thirsty soul" for me. If you only have a few minutes, I'd start with Part 2.)

"Real gospel fruit happens, not as we work harder, but only as we continually rediscover the gospel.
Rediscovering the gospel IS the hard work that we are called to.

"It takes work to think deeply about what God in Christ has already accomplished for us and then to live under the umbrella of that gift and that grace.

"It takes work not to drift into 'performance mode' when it comes to our relationship with God.


"How does the gospel connect with every day life?
THAT is the hard work that we are called to."
-Tullian Tchividjian