For the law was given through Moses, [but] grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
If someone told you that they could give you the key to living a victorious Christian life, would you want to know what that key was? Just about a year and a half ago someone shared this key with me and I can honestly say it has completely changed my life. I can look back over my life and count a total of three spiritual milestones. The first was when I accepted Jesus as my Savior. The second was when I asked God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. And the third was when I began to understand Grace.
Now I had heard this word grace all of my life, but I honestly didn’t understand what it meant. I had grown up singing about “Amazing Grace” and as a result only thought of grace as God’s kindness to forgive me of my sins and allow me to go to Heaven. What I didn’t know all those years, was that the grace of God was not only present to save me, but also rests upon my life to make me be victorious.
You see, I could grasp the concept that I didn’t deserve to have my sins forgiven, but I didn’t understand that the same grace is there for me every single day of my life. I felt that once I had been forgiven and asked God to save me, now it was up to me to do the rest. And as a result I had no rest at all. I lived under the constant shadow of wondering if I was pleasing God and always feeling like I needed to do more. As much as I hated to admit it, I had a “works mentality.” Not that works was required to get me saved, but that works was required for me to stay in the blessing and favor of God.
It was that constant “do good get good, do bad get bad” mentality that kept me from living the victorious Christian life that Jesus died to give me. Discovering that grace is defined as “Gods undeserved, unmerited, favor and blessing,” was as revolutionary to my Christian life as discovering that “saved” is Sozo, which means to be saved, healed, delivered, preserved, protected, to prosper and to be made whole.
When I finally saw this for the first time, this revelation helped me close the book on “works.” When Jesus read from Isiah 61, to announce that He was ushering in the “Acceptable year of the Lord,” or the “Age of the free favors of God profusely abounding,” He then closed the book.
I want to encourage you today to “close the book” on thinking you have to work to please God, or work to earn His favor and blessing. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Look at this same verse in the Amplified Bible, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]“
The Apostle Paul preached this “Pure Grace” so strong that people often accused him of giving people a license to sin. Why aren’t we getting accused of the same thing? Could it be because we ourselves have been living in a mixture between Law and Grace? Getting a real heartfelt revelation of the Grace of God will not make you want to go sin, it actually empowers you not to sin. It takes away the appetite for sin and you find yourself more and more hungry for Him everyday.
Let me leave you with the opening line to most of the New Testament books of the Bible. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Today’s Thought: When we “close the book on works” then we can embrace the power of His Grace, which does not give us a license to sin, but the power not to.