The Grace Affect
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Seems too simple doesn’t it? Grace received through faith. One immeasurable gift made available for those who would turn from their own ways to receive it by faith. Grace, controversial in Jesus’ time, now also a frequent topic of debate.
Here I am now fifteen years post my grace encounter with Jesus where I stood at the foot of the cross one evening at a church bible camp. Completely convinced I was a sinner and needed saving, I turned to Christ and accepted Him as Lord. The reality of verses like Rom.8:1 “there is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ” and 1 John 1:9/Col.1:13,14 “ if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness” took some time to sink in but as they did God’s grace became more and more amazing to me. Verses about my redemption, being declared righteous(Rom 3:22), made a child of God (John 1:12), acceptance, being loved immensely (John 3:16) and so on all came together to spell out one unimaginable love story in which I was the object of God the Father’s affections.
So God offers all this and more to us through the shedding of Christ His son’s own blood to be received by us through a confession of sin and placing our trust in Him as Lord (Rom.10:9-10). The exchange hardly seems fair - God way out giving us in any regard. In the face of all this I have to ask the question? “How is it that an all-knowing God could still give so freely despite the fact that a reckless and unyielding mankind could take His gift and run away with it completely?” God didn’t seem to be concerned with protecting Himself in this deal. In response to this kind of giving though, I have to ask another question…
“What affect is God’s grace having on us?”
This coming from a statement made by Paul in 1 Cor.15:10, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace was not without effect…”
He goes on talking about how much harder he worked because of this grace He had received. Paul clearly states elsewhere in scripture he didn’t believe in a “works based” salvation by any means penning scriptures such as Eph.2:8,9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”(NIV) and reprimanding the church in Gal.3:3 for “trying to become perfect by your own human effort…” So if not for salvation or perfection what was Paul working for? Why did he do it? As stated in 1 Cor.15 Paul displays a desire to serve God wholeheartedly and He attributes this desire to be the result of God’s grace in His life. Because God had done so much for Paul, had called him out of so much, brought him to so much, he desired to give all he was back to Him with everything. To be given over entirely to serve and love someone or something so much you would dedicate your life to them can also be defined as Devotion.
See, sin has an effect on us.
Ø It separates us from God, others and our original purpose and destiny
Ø Sin, followed through, hinders, damages and sometimes outright destroys us and often others around us
Ø Sin makes us ashamed (Rom. 6:21) and the sting of shame causes us to hide from our destiny’s
Ø Ultimately sin leads to death (Rom.6:23) though the context here is eternal punishment we see the results of sin in our lives often much sooner be it death of our purpose, death of dreams, death of relationships, death of reputation, a ministry or even a family.
Indeed..sin has an effect on us!
But praise God His grace is meant to have an affect on us too! God intends to have the effect of His grace hold a much higher position in our lives then sin could ever attain. Grace gives us the ability to overcome sin (Rom.6:14) and avoid all of its damaging results in our lives. We are to be free and in that freedom to boldly approach the Father, relating to Him and receiving from Him again and again, all His kingdom has to offer!
This is the grace affect. Even that I can so therefore I will turn from sin to live my life to glorify the One who has given the grace.
Devotion ought to be the result of grace in our lives. Devotion results in a pursuit of Him.
I heard this statement once, “The proof of desire is in the pursuit”
What are we pursuing since by grace through faith forgiveness is ours, redemption is ours, righteousness is ours, and heaven is ours and so much more? Relationship - an ever deepening relationship with the One who called us. This relationship free of separation now transforms and blesses us as we become more like Him in the earth.
Sin had an effect and can still affect us in our daily lives, but grace is meant to affect us more! Now by grace we become “children of light” who walk in the ways of our Father bringing His kingdom to earth. We bare resemblance of our Lord Jesus. Our appearance now that of a people drastically affected and transformed by what God has done for us which in turn will affect the world around. As we do this, His grace will not be of “no effect” in us either. Let us give everything back to Him for His glory and honor forever.
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light! “ 11 “ I urge you…to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good works and glorify God on the day He visits us”