Truth must be revealed and believed to be effectual. To experience God’s grace, we must first understand its revelation and believe it; and this is as enabled by the Holy Spirit who guides us into all the truth (John 16:13 NIV). When Jesus went back to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to exercise a worldwide ministry. Today the Holy Spirit illuminates the minds of the people, makes us yearn for God, and takes spiritual truth and makes it understandable to us. Here is the truth:
Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him. – Romans 4:7-8 NIV
I have been on a wonderful 30 day journey of rediscovering my identity in Christ and learned that knowing who I am in Christ is liberty. This knowing is freedom from sin, condemnation, fear, worry, guilt, depression, addictions and/or among others. I was excited as Romans 8:1-4 NLT came alive once more:
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The Law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Experiencing God’s grace, for me, is an ongoing journey of freedom in Christ. This is a much needed back to basics adventure for the ‘older’ Christian and an introduction to the significance of the cross for the newer believer. Grace, which is God’s unmerited favor, starts at the cross of Jesus Christ. Either cannot exist apart from the other. This exercise was a great reminder of how every Christian desperately needs God’s grace to fill their lives. How without it, we would be in bondage.
It is this grace that converted a terrorist like Saul into a saint called Paul (Acts 9:1-9, Acts 22:6-14 NLT). Despite his impressive résumé, Paul couldn’t recognize Christ (Acts 22:3 NLT) and remained one of the worst sinners who needed God’s grace (1 Timothy 1:15-16 NLT). Then he was chosen (regardless of his flaws). When the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus, it was grace and this same grace is what made him become not less than the “super-apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:5 NLT). Though he ascended to an outstanding position among the apostles, Paul understood that it was not about what he could or couldn’t do; and it wasn’t about his achievements either. In any case he had some weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT) making him dependent on Christ. Paul had great understanding of God’s grace that even if the accomplishments – those things that would count in the eyes of men were to be considered, he considered them garbage, that he may gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-11 NIV).
When we get saved and come to know Christ, it is by God’s grace through faith; and this is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8 NIV). Only through Jesus Christ we are offered grace, a free gift. It is not because of our strength, capacities or gains. The Bible says, “It is not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:9 NIV). We have done nothing to deserve it and scripture makes it clear that everything about our relationship with God depends upon us trusting Him in faith, by resting in His grace. For this to be effective we must allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and on us through us applying the grace of God to our personal lives. Stepping outside these confines means that we are treading on the dangerous fatal path of the Law.
The Law only shows us how weak we are but doesn’t empower us to overcome those weaknesses. It demands righteousness but doesn’t show us how to achieve it. God’s grace, on the other hand, is made manifest through Jesus finished work on the cross gives us His righteousness as a gift. In Christ we are equipped with everything we need to do His will (Hebrews 13:21 NIV).
As I observed the life of my favorite apostle (Paul) afresh, I couldn’t help but acknowledge that grace is what equips ministers of the gospel to minister to the foreigner, stranger and all the unfamiliar persons. Is it any wonder that Jesus was a friend of sinners? (Matthew 11:19 NIV, Luke 7:34 NIV) It is grace that brought to a standstill the stone throwing gathering of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11 NIV). Grace embraces people that society is unenthusiastic to relate with – like addicts and criminals. It is grace that brings them to the road of recovery and ultimate restoration. While we may not all be ministers per se, we must understand that we are utensils (2 Timothy 2:21 NLT) and channels of this grace (Genesis 12:2 NIV). Grace operates where the Holy Spirit is welcome.
For anyone that is pre-saved, it is my delight to let you know that cleaning up our behavior is not a pre-requirement for salvation. Grace takes us as we are and what God has done for us in Jesus saves us and changes our hearts – not what we have done for God (Titus 3:5 NIV). By the way, what could we possibly do for God anyway? Apart from His grace, our righteous acts are like filthy rags before Him (Isaiah 64:6 NIV).
God’s grace first saves and then trains His people for godliness and good deeds (Titus 2:11-12 NIV). Without this understanding, trying to live the Christian life it is an immense struggle, that is why many feel beaten down by the enemy. Come to me ye that are heavily laden… this is grace calling, that we may find rest (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV), this is freedom in Christ.
A priceless lesson learned is that grace is no excuse for pride and definitely no ticket to continue in sin. Just like the prodigal son came back to his senses and returned to the father, we all must. Returning to the Father removes one from slavery and enables us experience God’s grace daily.
Copyright © 2014 Dee Kyalo-Mwanzia
Dee Kyalo is the author of Crushing Invisible Barriers and Looking Up . Check out the cool reviews and ‘like’ us on Facebook! Both books are available here now.