"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
That verse, among a few others, is where it all begins for a new believer, one who has devoted themselves to following Christ, not where it ends. Too many Christians get born again, say they are saved then sit down and do nothing else for God. They think they can go through life sinning again. Go breaking the commandments of Christ, following their own selfish desires and wicked whims of the world coming out unscathed.
“It’s okay,” they think to themselves. “I’m saved! It’s all good for me!” Well I have to tell you that is stinkin’ thinkin’. It’s a pile of malarkey straight from the evil one. This verse says grace is a gift from God. It’s a gift, not something you earned or deserve through your own works. Are you going to throw that gift in His face?
Yes it’s true that God’s grace is long suffering and kind. God is love. God is patient. God will forgive and forget many times over. But know there is a limit even with God. Ever heard of Judgment Day? That day will come for each and every one of us as we stand before God and give an accounting of all the good we’ve done in our life.
Christians Walk Away from God's Grace
You can go too far. If you walk too far away from Him then at some point He just let’s you go off on your own away from His grace, mercy and protection. Good luck to you on that path.
The world is filled with all sorts of evil pleasures that can trip up even the most devout and faithful believers. It’s up to us to leave that behind and return to God. It’s up to God’s grace to let us come back.
It’s so easy to walk away from God. Usually, it’s not a conscious decision. We don’t wake up in the morning and say to God, “I’m walking away now, see you later.” No. We wake, maybe we pray a little, and then we go about our day thinking all is well. You know what? It’s not all well.
Did you notice that I said, “we go about our day”? Did that strike you as odd? Probably not. In our American culture we are an ego centric people. Our lives revolve around us, our needs and our desires. Rarely do we consider others. It’s even rarer to consider God. Oh sure, He’s one the forefront of our minds when WE want or need something; but rarely on our minds when everything is going good or if we just want to serve God out of love and devotion.
The ancient Hebrew culture of the Bible is different. It was God centric. Everything they did revolved around God and His law. See the difference? One way it’s all about us, the other way it’s all about God. When you go about your day doing your will you are serving yourself. When you go about God’s day you are serving God.
Ask yourself a tough question and really reflect on it: How is serving yourself working out for you? Everyone will have a different answer ranging from “really bad”, to “not so good”, to just “okay” to “alright I guess”. For those of you who have taken the time to actually SERVE GOD for one full hour or maybe an entire day or longer, how did that go for you? Think about it deeply. How did you feel in your heart, were you happy or sad? Were you refreshed or burdened?
So where does grace come into all this? Put your self in God’s proverbial shoes for a moment.
Let’s say a degenerate stranger with little to no morals comes to your home, knocks on your door and asks you to take him in. He wants food, shelter, clothes, influence, power and free health care for the rest of his life.
Do you take him into your home and give him what he wants? Probably not, but God does.
Let’s say in your good grace you grant him his wishes. You take him in, provide his wants and needs and take care of him.
Do you expect anything in return? Heck yeah you do! At the very least you expect a thank you. At the most you desire a close relationship with this person. You want to mentor him. Help him to learn, grow and become self sufficient so that he can in turn help others the way you helped him. A “pay it forward” kind of thing; contribution to humanity.
In a perfect world, that’s the way it works out. But we’re not in a perfect world, are we?
You know what usually happens in these circumstances. The moocher plays along for a while, just to make sure he’s in the good graces of his host. He doesn’t change his thinking, just his actions and maybe his appearance for a while. Sooner or later he’s back to his same old routine of being a degenerate. Why? Because he did not change his heart to one of gratitude and servitude, he did not change his thinking and his actions reflect it!
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
To the degenerate moocher, operating in his old man nature, life was still all about him, his will being done and his own selfish comfort being served. It’s not about his gracious host.
In the Hebrew culture of the Bible, they took in slaves. Not the type of owned slaves like we had in the south in USA recent history. These slaves we considered servants, a valued part of the household. These people were destitute on their own and promised to do the will of the host in exchange for their livelihood and survival. It was a good, healthy relationship when done according to the law.
The servant’s mindset was to go about his master’s day and take care of his master’s needs first. Then he’d be free to care for his own needs. Generally the master would supply all those needs so the servant would never have to worry about it. This is the type of relationship God wants to have with us!
Back to the example. Let’s say out of grace and mercy you take in a guy in need. He then mooches off you endlessly. Takes everything you offer him but never shares with anyone else. Never replenishes what he takes. Refuses to get a job or do anything around the house. Makes a mess of things where ever he goes. Never cleans up his messes but rather expects you to clean up his messes for him.
Every time he talks to you it’s all about him. “I want this, I want that, give me this, give me that”. Never offers to do anything for you. And worst of all, rarely if ever does he say thank you for anything you give him or do for him!
How long would you put up with someone like that?
You want to know who I just described? Just about every single Christian who has ever walked the face of the Earth! And though it all, God still keeps them around. God keeps taking in more strangers daily. God takes it a step further by promising everlasting spiritual life for eternity.
Now THAT is true grace!
A large component of grace is being faithful. Psalm 33:4 says, “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Those who are faithful are also known to be trustworthy. God is worthy of our trust. When He says something you can count on Him coming through. In the long run, what good is grace without trust in the fact that grace won’t be revoked?
God’s grace toward us is a reflection of His perfect love. True grace comes from a heart of love and concern for the well being of another. Parents know exactly what I mean here!
When kids are mouthy and back talk, when they don’t appreciate what they have, when they always demand more than they deserve... when they bicker and fight among their siblings and friends, when everything they do and say is all about them all the time…and their parents still love them and take care of them…this is grace.
Grace is love. Grace is compassion. Grace is forgiveness.
Grace is selfless giving without expecting anything in return.
Human grace can run dry. God's grace is eternal.
Since God is perfect, full of grace and has the universe of wealth to give, does that mean we can take advantage of Him? Heaven forbid!
There is another side to grace that is often unlooked. This is the side of the person receiving and benefiting from the grace being given. You have to be a gracious receiver. Say thank you. Accept gifts with a heart of meekness. Smile nice. Appreciate it; even if it’s not exactly what you expected, know that it’s what you need.
Give respect. Honor the one taking care of you. Return the love bestowed upon you. Don’t always be asking for stuff just because you know it will be given to you. Instead, ask what you do for the giver. Be a value to your host. Do things around the house of God. Clean up after yourself. Clean up after others too! Get a job in the family business. DO SOMETHING!
When you are a gracious receiver, how does that make the giver feel? Pretty darn good! When you give to others, and it’s appreciated, do you feel inclined to give even more? Of course you do. How is God any different in this respect? He’s not.
God gives to you first through grace. Then it’s your turn to give back. Then He gives you more. Then you give back more. See how this works? Think about all God has done for you in your life. He’s taken your dirty corrupt soul off the dark evil streets of life into a well lit home. He gave you a bath cleansing you in His holy spirit. He gave you authority and power in His household.
He clothes you, feeds you and He teaches you wisdom of the ages… All paid for by Christ- AT NO COST TO YOU!
God Gave You a Job to DO
He also gave you a job to do. I can’t tell you what that job is. It’s between you and Him. But I do know it’s something uniquely suited to your personal, special and individual God given talents.
Do you know what that job is? If you do, then start doing it. If you’re already doing it, then do more of it. If you don’t know what your job is, search your soul. You’ll find it buried somewhere deep in your heart. God planted it there for you to find. Dig for it. When you find it, and touch upon it, your heart will soar and you’ll know.
If you can’t find it, ask God to show it to you. He will gladly show you and then help you develop that talent so you can do your job. Then go out and do it well. Do it with joy in your heart. Do it for God because He has done so much for you.
Don’t worry about today or what tomorrow might bring. God will supply your needs. Jesus Christ said it best in Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [all the necessities of life] shall be added unto you.” Ask God what He wants you do to today. Not your own will, but His will be done. When you do God’s will, His grace will fulfill all your wants, needs and desires beyond your wildest imagination- plus more!
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