This morning I read yet another rant against grace, and now I just can’t keep silent any longer.
Grace is the power of God to save. Power. To save. People who want to reduce grace only to a salvation event fail to understand the power behind grace.
On the other hand, people who want to use grace as a license to sin fail to understand the true liberty of grace, and also the necessity of repentance (read Romans chapter 6).
Grace has been granted once and for all to cover our every sin past, present, and future. That should be obvious, since this all happened long before any of us alive today were born (or our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents, etc.).
Grace is also the power to walk in the newness of life, once we’ve repented. Without repentance, we are not allowed access to grace. Grace is granted only on the condition that we have repented. Repentance is literally turning around and going the opposite direction. If my life didn’t produce fruit that shows my repentance (Matthew 3:8), then I also wouldn’t truly have grace. Therefore, grace is not a license to sin.
Grace gives us power to live this new life through the same thing that brought us to the cross: love—our response to Jesus’ love. “We love Him because He first loved us,” (1 John 4:19, NKJV). Love and grace are inseparable. Grace was granted to us because of Jesus’ love for us. If He hadn’t died for us, then we couldn’t say that He ever loved us, and grace would be an unknown and unknowable concept. So since love and grace are inseparable, if we love Him, we also have the power (through grace) to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
The problem is us, not grace. Our love is imperfect. We tend to think of love as an emotion. Love is a decision—a sacrificial decision. Love made Jesus lay down His life for us (John 15:13). If we waver and struggle with sin, it’s because we love the world more than we love Jesus. And in that case, we need to go back to step one: repentance. If we don’t do repentance right, then our whole Christian walk is worthless—worse than worthless because it casts a negative light on the Gospel.
But to go too far the other way risks falling back into legalism. Legalism is a rejection of grace. It says to Jesus, “No thanks, I can do it for myself.” For more about how I feel about legalism, look at my recent post: Stop Complicating the Simple Things.
Also check out an article that I found in my inbox today from Charisma News: What’s Wrong with Grace? Grace gets under the legalists’ skin, but it’s also abused by some.
Thank God for grace—it is Amazing! God is good!