Monday, March 18, 2013

"Grace Defined"

Grace bright lights
Lately it seems that the term “grace” is being used by religious folks to refer to everything but the kitchen sink.
One of the ways it is being defined by some Christians is that grace is the opposite of the Law.  However, contrary to popular opinion, grace is not the opposite of the Law or commandments of God.  The opposite of the law isindecency or lawlessness.  But Grace is favor over the Law.  It is the favor that comes from being God’s child, and not from justifying our actions or behavior legally or otherwise.  If you sin against God and repent –demonstrating your desire for forgiveness and mercy – earnestly desiring to be in a right relationship with the Father – His favor or His grace accepts your apology even when the Law demands your punishment.
Grace logoAnother way of understanding this is to say that we are always “under the law” of God but we are not always subject to the demands and penalties of the Law although we may be found guilty of a violation of the law.  I know that this seems to contradict the Word found in Romans 6:14 that says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”  But if you were to look at this scripture in the light of Jesus’ teachings you would realize that Romans 6:14 doesn’t mean that God has done away with His Eternal Ten Commandments.  To the contrary, we all are subject to the eternal commandment of God and instructed by Jesus to keep all of God’s commandments. (Matthew 7:21-23, John 14:15, John 14:21, 1 John 2:4). Therefore, God’s Eternal Law abounds over us but where the law abounds grace much more abounds – admonishing us to obey God’s Commandments voluntarily and go and sin no more. (Romans 5:15, 20)if-you-love-me
For instance, if you were caught speeding – doing 55 miles per hours in a 35 miles per hour speed zone – you were guilty of a traffic violation but you repented and acknowledged responsibility for your offense – then the Law Enforcement Officer, instead of penalizing you as you deserve, issued you a warning ticket – he showed you mercy.  This act of kindness doesn’t justify your violation nor does it relax the law or license you to continue to speed.  It simply extended mercy toward you, allowing you another opportunity to comply with the law and obey the speed limit from here on out (John 8:10-11).  But if you practice speeding and continue to disregard the law, mercy will cease and punishment will be enforced.  However, grace accepts the penalty (punishment) for our transgressions and relieves us from the consequences of our lawlessness.  But this grace is not for everyone.
Now God may have mercy on whomever He will but His grace is reserved for His children.
Many are under the impression that “Grace” is somehow extended to everyone regardless of their willful disobedience to God’s commandments.  Thus they believe that in order to be saved by grace all that they have to do is recite a prayer or repeat a confession of faith.  Others think that gracesomehow excuses them from any obligation to observe and keep the Eternal Moral Commandments of God.  They believe that God will pardoned their willful disobedience and lawlessness on the merits of grace. However, they are dangerously mistaken.
Only those who obey God’s commandment to repent (die to sin) and are baptized into the death of Jesus Christ may consider themselves children of God and eligible to receive His grace.
A good way to understand how Grace relates to one’s relationship with God is to think of God as a good parent and ourselves as children (Matthew 18:2-4).  Children have favor in the eyes of their parents.  If they obey their parents, they are rewarded.  If while obeying their parents they get into any trouble or break anything, the parents assume responsibility and pays any cost on behalf of their child.  The child doesn’t earn this grace, it is freely given by virtue of the child’s relationship to the parent. However, a child of disobedience (a practitioner of sin) has no expectation of grace or favor from God.  God is not his parent.  His parent is Satan (John 8:44).
Grace GodsGraceLet me summarize. Mercy is the acts of being excused from the full weight of the consequences of our offence  although we are guilty of breaking the law.  It is withheld punishment or postponed condemnation for God is NOT willing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  Whereas Grace is the act of receiving what we could not earn or deserve on our own.  It is unmerited favor and forgiveness.  Grace is reserved for those who have Repented,Kept God’s Commandments and Obeyed His will (Romans 6:1-4).
“Mercy doesn’t save us.  It gives us time to repent.  God’s Grace Saves!“ (Ref. Matthew 7:21-23, Ephesians 2:8)Ephesians 2_8 grace
All Praise Honor and Glory belongs to God the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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