Over the past few months God has been speaking to me a lot about His grace. What I'm realising is that although I've been a Christian for around 16 years my understanding of the grace of God is minimal. God's grace is vast and not something that can be understood in our minds. Instead we need a revelation from God that goes directly into our hearts. That's what I'm praying for in this season, a fresh revelation of the indescribable riches of God's grace. Here's some of the stuff that God has been showing me already:
1) In the vast majority of letters the apostle Paul writes to the early churches he starts them off with the greeting, 'Grace and Peace to you,' and regularly ends them in the same way (why not have a look) I wonder if Paul knew that our main temptation as churches would be to fall into works and stress/ anxiety? Paul had such a revelation of the grace of God and knew how important it was for living the Christian life. His desire for the churches He Fathered - more grace and more peace! (I love that Paul puts the words in this order. Once you get a revelation of the grace of God it's inevitable that peace will follow)
2) We are totally forgiven, washed clean, holy and blameless, spotless, without blemish and free from accusation! WOW! It's all because of God's grace. God's forgiveness is immediate whether it's our first time of sinning or our 100th time and He removes our sin as far as the East is from the West! It's remembered no more! It's so easy to fall into believing the lie that we're saved by grace but stay saved by works. That when we've been a Christian for a while, and particularly if we're in leadership, we should know better when it comes to sin; that it's not ok to mess up or be weak and if we do mess up we need to somehow sort it out ourselves. Wrong! We're saved by grace and we stay saved by grace. When was the last time you stopped to receive grace from God?
3) We have a brand new identity in Christ. Our identity as beloved sons and daughters, co-heirs with Christ, Ambassadors, royalty, seated in heavenly places, free from accusation is all true because of the grace of God. We didn't do anything to earn our identity, it's all because of what Jesus achieved for us on the cross. And because we didn't do anything to earn it, we can't do anything to change it. Are you believing any lies about yourself at the moment? Speak them out to expose them and then declare the truth. God's grace means that what the Bible says about us is true, it's as simple as that!
4) There are good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. Why would God prepare good works for us to do? Because of His grace. How can we do these good works prepared for us? His grace. How releasing is that. Ephesians 2 tells us that we aren't saved by works so that no-one can boast but then a few verses later we're told that there are works for us to do. There are works for us to do, but these works don't save us! We're saved by grace, we stay saved by grace and we do the works prepared in advance for us to do by grace. Are you getting this?
5) God's grace is incredibly powerful! Grace empowers us to be all we're called to be and to do all we're called to do. Grace covers our sin (Thank you Jesus) but it also empowers us to say no to sin. I wonder if some of the reason so many people give in to sin is because they're looking to themselves to resist temptation rather than drawing on the empowering grace of God? Grace enables us to say no to sin and yes to godliness. Grace also empowers us to do all God calls us to do. God loves to call us to stuff that is way beyond our natural capabilities, that's how it's meant to be. Why? because it means we have to call on His resources and depend on His grace, and when we succeed He is made famous. I love that. What are you saying yes to that is way beyond your natural capabilities?
There's a great line in a song I love to sing that goes like this, 'If grace is an ocean we're all sinking.' My contention is that many of us are actually only standing in a puddle when it comes to accessing God's grace because of our limited revelation. God's grace is so vast we're meant to sink in it. Are you sinking?