The Case for Grace
Confluence January 16, 2018
Grace is a very good deal! I [Tim Chambers] think our amazement at the kindness of God and our wonder at what Jesus has done for us will still be growing in a thousand years. Allow me to give some reasons why living in the grace of God is better than any other life.
1. You could never be right with God through your own effort because he is perfect and you have failed miserably. You can’t even live up to your own expectations. However, you can be right with God forever by believing that Jesus lived and died to pay your debt, to cleanse you, and to restore you to your Father. You are justified by grace through faith in Jesus. You cannot be justified any other way.
2. By grace we who were the appropriate objects of God’s wrath are now in his favor. He is delighted with his Son, in whom we are now hidden. By grace we are born into God’s family. We are adopted as brothers and sisters of Jesus. God loves his kids and gives them presents.
3. Grace transforms us now. Through the grace that is in Jesus, we receive new hearts, new desires, a new identity, and a new family. We also receive a new Spirit.
4. The Holy Spirit deserves his own point. He is a gift we could never have earned, a gift that keeps on giving. He lives in our bodies and in the community. He refreshes us like water and empowers us like wind. The Holy Spirit makes us holy people.
5. Grace is truth and power for living. Since the first century there have been Christians who, once justified by grace, have tried to please God by rule keeping. This never works. Rules are good for showing you your faults, but they are worthless when it comes to restraining ungodly desires. Grace gives us reasons and strength to say no to sin. Grace replaces lists of laws with the rule of Christ and the law of love. Instead of following the perfect set of rules, we are now following the perfect person.
6. Grace syncs with faith. Living in grace means trusting someone other than oneself – not just for heaven at the end, but also for daily provision. Whatever wisdom or strength you need will be freely supplied. What a relief!
We’re halfway through the list. Let’s pause… So a man living under law and a man living by grace walked into a bar. No, wait. Maybe one of them didn’t. Now, back to our topic..
7. Grace secures your identity in the finished work of Jesus. Your failures and fluctuations no longer threaten your essential personhood. Grace means human failure is never the end of the story.
8. Because my eternal destiny is secure, I can live for God with reckless abandon.
9. Performance-based religion makes you proud or insecure. Living in grace makes you joyfully grateful.
10. Living in the generosity of God’s grace makes you generous.
11. Grace produces love. People who are obsessed with their own performance might respect and fear God, but they can never love him like those who live in awareness of his lavish kindness.
12. Communities infused with grace are sweet. People don’t evaluate one another on human terms, but by the price Jesus paid. People are empowered to help and to challenge one another. They are slow to take up personal offenses, easy to correct, quick to forgive. They don’t believe in human potential, but in the potential of God working through human frailty. They know that he loves to do this, which makes everyone a candidate for greatness.
Never get pulled off the foundation of grace. Joyfully explore its potential. Live up to its demands. Celebrate and revel in it! Write songs about it! Sing loud! Why not?