Our theme for April at our church is the Freedom of Grace. During the month, and especially over the Easter weekend, we will take time to reflect on the amazing grace that God has and continues to show to this world. We will also read through the letter to the Galatians written by the Apostle Paul, the apostle of grace.
Paul tells us that we are saved by grace through faith, not by our own works but once we are saved the natural overflow of God’s life in us should be good works done for the glory of God and the benefit of others (Ephesians 2:8-10). The Old Covenant was ‘DO and LIVE’ – if you can just do everything right you will know true life. The New Covenant is ‘LIVE and DO’ - because of what Christ has already done for you, do what is right, not ‘in order to’ be forgiven and accepted, but ‘because you already are’ forgiven and accepted. This truly is good news!
When we try to keep the law we soon realise that we will never earn God’s approval. It is impossible. So we need to stop trying and see our old self as dead – crucified with Christ. We should live now by trusting in the Son of God and allowing him to live his life through us. If we try to be saved by keeping the law we are treating the ‘grace of God’ as meaningless. As it stands, grace is how we are saved and accepted by God. That’s why Christ died.
We need to move out of ‘performance orientation’. We will never reach a place where we live such a perfect life that God accepts us because we’ve been totally good. We are sinners and we sin because of our old nature. God loves and accepts us as a free act of his grace. We need to place our faith in Christ and stop trying to measure up through our self-effort and good behaviour. We can receive his forgiveness and righteousness today then begin to let Christ live his life through us.
Here are some excellent books on the topic of grace:
"May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.” [Gal 1:3-5. NLT]