Grace?

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Grace?

Hebrews 4:12 – “For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than a DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD, it cuts between soul and spirit…”

Recently there has been a truth stirring in me. And as God has been inspiring me with this truth there has also been some frustration rising in me as well. Many doctrines or Biblical truths in the Word of God carry a double-edged meaning. In other words, they have more than one interpretation or more than one application to life. This truth that I’ve been drawn to recently, is God’s grace. This is one of those truths with a double-sided meaning. And as humans, we tend to gravitate to the side that makes us more comfortable. But in order to get a complete picture of God and what He wants to do, we must see both sides of a truth.

You’ve heard the saying, “there are two sides of every story.” There are two sides of GRACE – although our church culture today and several big-name TV pastors only emphasize one side. Any time there is one side of a truth over emphasized we get out of balance. Just like a car with one tire out of balance, it makes the ride very rough and can cause injury. Webster’s dictionary says that being out-of-balance makes something less powerful. And this out-of-balanced teaching that has become popular today has done exactly that in the body of Christ. It has made the church less powerful. This form of grace that is being propagated from many denominational pulpits and now from some of the biggest non-denominational TV pastors is a hyper-grace that is out-of-balance. The idea that we can live anyway we want and God’s grace covers it, is a lie from the pit of hell! But most believers believe it. That’s called living with less power than God intended. The truth has not changed, “the consequences of sin is death (Romans 6:23).” The same consequence that Adam experienced in the garden. When we WILLINGLY live contrary to holiness, (there I said it) – when we willingly live contrary to HOLINESS we will suffer the loss of relationship with the HOLY GOD. God says in Hebrews 12:14 – “For those who are not HOLY, WILL NOT see the Lord.” I know a believer who was a faithful church member and walking with the Lord for over thirty years, she told me that her living in adultery was okay because the grace of God covers her. This hyper-grace really is nothing new. Because of the flesh, it’s been around since the beginning of the church. The first Apostles had to deal with it. The Bible is very clear, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and look for teachers who will teach what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). This is what is happening today. It attracts a big following. Because this issue existed in the early church the Apostle Paul tells us, that if anyone teaches contrary to what they, the apostles have taught, have nothing to do with them (Galatians 1:9). That is a serious warning from the Apostle who wrote two-thirds of the new testament. This is out-of-balanced teaching that says, “because of the grace of God all my sins are covered so it doesn’t matter what I do or how I live.” It’s on Christian TV. I just heard it last weekend. The Apostles of the Bible did not believe that lie nor did they teach it. Consider this, Galatians 5:19-21 was written to the church – to people who called themselves believers. “The acts of the flesh are obvious; sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures; idolatry, sorcery, hostility, discord (people who cause division in church) jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties. I warn you, AS I DID BEFORE, those who live like this WILL NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.” Again, Paul is writing to church people and it’s obvious that he did not believe in hyper-grace. Neither did the founding Apostles believe in Calvinism, who is the author of this modern hyper-grace teaching. Since when are we supposed to give more consideration to a man’s teaching over God’s Word?

Serving God is submitting 100% of our will to His!

It is true that the word grace does carry a double-sided meaning, but we can’t over emphasize one side. The double-sided definition for grace (charis) is graciousness. Praise God that He is gracious – which means that He doesn’t judge us with some form of punishment. The grace of God gives us what we don’t deserve, Salvation, Faith, Favor, Love and Mercy. Because grace is the character of God so when we sin God extends grace instead of judgement believing that His love and grace will bring us to repentance. Praise God for the graciousness of God. But always remember that living a life contrary to the will of God carries its own consequences (Romans 6:23). God doesn’t have to bring punishment. But the other side of grace, the definition of charis, which gets overlooked and rarely taught is EMPOWERMENT. EMPOWERMENT to not fulfill the weakness of the flesh but to live according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). I believe that if there is going to be an emphasis, let’s put the emphasis on this side of grace, the EMPOWERMENT side. A recent survey found that 98% of “born-again” believers understand the graciousness side of grace but had no understanding of the empowering side of grace. We need a revival of GRACE! The true grace of God. The grace of God that is merciful and gracious when we miss it but also the grace of God that EMPOWERS us to live overcoming lives. In other words, the grace of God is not an excuse for me to sin but rather the EMPOWERMENT to overcome sin. REVIVAL is not an event, it is a lifestyle! We need a revival of the grace of God.

Because we are the recipients of grace, so the greatest expression of grace is in how we treat each other!

As children of God, our main purpose is to experience relationship with The Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. We are to carry them into every part of our lives. What a privilege. When you truly understand that, you know that every part of our lives is to become a reflection of Him. In knowing that, Jesus makes it clear that He did not believe in this form of hyper-grace being taught today. In John 14:21 Jesus tells us, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and REVEAL MYSELF to them.” Love without accountability produces dysfunctional relationships. And God refuses to condone dysfunction. When I married Sue, I told her “I promise to be faithful to you and to not entertain any others because I love you.” If I was not to keep my word, that would be unfaithful and unloving. Remember our purpose is to live in His presence and reveal Him unto others, by how we live. Jesus makes it clear that He will only reveal Himself to those who obey His commands. Because He says that those who obey His commands are the ones who love Him. Have you ever been in a worship service where there was no anointing, no obvious presence of God? David tells us why in Psalm 24:3,4 “Who can ascend the mountain (presence) of the Lord? Who may stand in His (presence) HOLY PLACE?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.” Jesus makes it clear that the people who obey His commands are the people that He will make Himself apparent to and reveal Himself to. Only those who hear and keep Jesus’ commands will experience His manifest presence. Whether you realize it or not that is why we are here, to live in His presence. Let’s become people that are so full of the grace of God that we despise sin and the thought of violating our relationship with our Lord. The other side of grace says, “My grace is all you need, for my power (grace) works best in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). God’s grace empowers us to stand up against temptation and to overcome the weakness of the flesh. Grace gives us the ability to go beyond our natural ability and tap into His supernatural ability, that’s His GRACE. “For by GRACE you are saved, it’s not of yourself, it (grace) is the gift of God.” God’s grace is the gift that saved us, now empowering us to live out the life of Christ. Grace was the impartation of the fullness of Christ at the time of accepting Him. We are saved by grace, we live by grace and we are EMPOWERED by GRACE! Let’s be like the Apostles that turned the world right side up by the grace of God.

My prayer for you today is that you will look to the God of grace to overcome every temptation and live a life that reflects who He is.

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On earth as it is in Heaven!”
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