Thank you for joining me on the second installment of the series The Cat out of the Bag. Each week we will walk through the meaning of words that we have come to know and how the definitions may have evolved over the course of the years. These have been due to influences through certain mentors or leaders or age old representatives for the different churches across the world.
The purpose of these articles is to let the cat out of the bag on these definitions. You can catch up on the intro to the series here. If you would like to read the first article on the word in, please click here. So, now we’re ready to get going for this week.
God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Getting what you don’t deserve.
Living under grace.
Pulling the grace card.
I’m sure you’ve heard one or all of these sayings before. We have been given some views on grace that could influence our views towards good intentions, but off the track we may need to be on. Grace is this week’s cat we are going to attempt to let out of the bag. Grace is an easy one, right? Not so fast. Reach your hand in, and let’s grab on to grace.
What grace isn’t…
Grace isn’t law.
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:14 NASB)
Many of us have seen grace as a concept that is connected with some sort of rhythm…do this, this, and this, get that. To the measure of how you do those things, is the measure of the amount of grace you receive.
We get caught in a rat race of doing. All of us are guilty of this. If I could only do this, say that, read this, give that…we would finally reach a certain level of something.
Eventually we fail and we receive guilt for our self-imposed, or even, cultural shortcomings. We thought we were on the way to a good life (in the culture we place ourselves or have grown up in), yet, that other thing showed up. Now we are on a downward spiral. Somehow we must link back into the path of good.
My brothers and sisters, let us remember Romans 6:14. The lie that we need to do something to attain grace is law. The reality is, grace is given. There is nothing we can do. The Law has been fulfilled in Christ. We are under grace!
Be free to discover grace…to its fullest.
Grace isn’t ongoing.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. (Galatians 2:20, 21 NASB)
There is a view of grace that it is something you can tap into when you need it. That view is incomplete. As Paul stated to the Church at Galatia as an example for all of us, at the crucifixion of Christ, Christ possessed us in Himself. Therefore, the power of sin over us and the Law by which we know sin (Romans 3:20), was murdered on the cross with Christ.
That happened once. And for all.
There is no need to tap into grace again. Like Paul also says to the Church at Corinth, Christ’s grace is sufficient for us. We are free from desire, or want, of more grace because we have all the grace we need. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Being thankful for the grace we have is another question. Perhaps when we try to tap into more grace we aren’t focused on Christ, but we are focused on the issue. We forget that Christ has given us Himself, Who is grace, Who is enough for the intended purpose He has for us.
May we be thankful for the grace we possess in Christ and remember His purposes for us.
Grace isn’t exclusive.
For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. (Romans 4:14-17 NASB)
Praise the Lord, grace isn’t only for one nation! There is no violation of law when we accept the grace God has given us. When we accept this grace, once, we are ushered into His Family.
What is grace?
Faith was given to us by God. He resurrected us from the dead. In us, He called into being that which did not exist.
This is guaranteed by God.
Guaranteed to ALL the descendants of His lineage. This lineage is not Jew or Greek. This lineage is not circumcised or uncircumcised, slave or freeman. This lineage is of Christ Who is all, and in all (Colossians 3:11).
This third race is of grace. Given. Once. Accessible. To all.
Romans 3 gives us insight into the example of Christ as grace:
But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (Romans 3:21-24 NASB)
This passage is typically, partially used for the Romans Road of Salvation. However, looking around the 23rd verse we discover more. Christ has come and provided a way for redemption. How? By grace.
This grace is a gift. To whom? Whoever has sinned. Whoever.
What does this grace do? Effectively and immediately brings us into Christ and redeems us from our own purposes or the purposes someone else has for us. This grace, from the moment of belief, gives us identity and purpose in Christ…all-sufficient grace.
What do we do with this grace?
But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God… And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:24, 32 NASB)
You have a purpose, a ministry, a calling (whatever you want to call it). You will receive that from the Lord Jesus for the purpose of testifying Christ to the world. This comes from the Lord’s voice.
There is a voice in the Body of Christ. Be in Him and He will speak to you…individually, but more importantly, corporately. These words will build you up in your purpose.
To be built up into your purpose by the voice of Christ is grace. This voice is a voice of peace. It is a fulfilling voice. It is a joyful voice. His voice encourages. His voice is familiar. His voice is calm, but powerful. His voice sufficiently provides grace to all.
When we corporately receive His voice, we are accessing His fullness. When we individually choose to bring our portion of Christ to a community of believers, we are expressing the grace given to us that will encourage and edify others who have received His grace.
I will close with a final thought that sums up grace, provided by a worker, Milt Rodriguez. This revelation exposed my small view of Christ. He defined grace as “the fullness of God accessible to man.”
As we view grace through fresh eyes, may we deliver the voice of Christ that reveals the glories of God and reminds us that we have all the grace we need. In Christ.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 NASB)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1, 2 NASB)
What aspect of grace has encouraged you? How have you received His fullness?