Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Audacity of Grace

Image Courtesy of sakhorn38/freedigitalphotos.net

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV

We are just closing in on the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, and I think this topic is very near and dear to the hearts of those who struggle with mental illness or who are the parent or relative or even close friend of someone who does.  
Can you be saved at one point...having received the Holy Spirit through accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior, but then, (perhaps while suffering from a mental illness), you commit some act which would be judged as a reason to LOSE your salvation? 
Let's face it...we all sin...repeatedly...even after being born again.

Let's face it...we CANNOT, while in these earthly bodies, do ENOUGH good to get into Heaven on our own.

But, let's face it...we have formulated our own hierarchy of "acceptable" and "forgivable" sins in our own minds which we then use to judge ourselves and others. 

In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, however, he tells us that once we have the Holy Spirit, he (the Holy Spirit) is a deposit GUARANTEEING our inheritance into God's Kingdom. 

Guaranteeing...

How about Romans 8:34?  
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Picture Jesus, sitting at the right hand of God; minute by minute, and hour by hour, offering up arguments in favor of our salvation...acting as our lawyer to pardon us for the sins that we commit day in and day out.  He is our defense attorney from the moment that we invite him into our hearts.  
 
He is our only hope.

We answer to the law of Man on earth, but we answer to God's law in Heaven, and Jesus is the only one that God will listen to when it comes to our salvation. 

So, let's go back to the original question...you're born again, but have committed a terrible sin...are you still saved?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2: 8-9 NIV

We can't "good work" our way into Heaven, and we can't "bad work" our way out...if we have accepted Jesus through faith and experienced the Holy Spirit dwelling within us...we.are.saved.

This is DEVASTATING to consider though, if one is having trouble forgiving a heinous crime or considering a treacherous individual found guilty under man's law as "guilt free," and able to pass into Heaven. 

Ah...there's the rub...

I heard singer/songwriter David Crowder say it best in the "Inside the Music" talk about the song "Come as You Are."  He said:


Grace is vast...Grace is offensive...
Doesn't that say it all?  
If we are putting limits on God's grace...grace that is powerful enough to be poured out ONCE AND FOR ALL...then we are putting limits on God.  Then WE are playing GOD. 
If we are saying that a particular sin is "unforgivable" then we are saying that we have the right to judge what God has said that ONLY HE CAN JUDGE.  
If we are saying that "guilty on earth" is "guilty in Heaven", then we are saying that the same rules apply in both places...but Revelations tells us that the same rules DON'T apply...in Heaven there is no death, there is no sickness, there is no darkness, there is no night...so the rules are NOT the same.  Plus, we are saying that our legal system can judge who is SAVED...and we certainly know that our God is much bigger than our legal system.
But, that IS offensive...when we are having a hard time forgiving, or understanding, or wrapping our brains around the pain and brokenness in this world, GRACE CAN BE VERY OFFENSIVE. 


Grace redeems sinners.
Grace restores relationships.
Grace reconciles our debts.
Grace reawakens our souls.
Grace revives our faith.
Grace renews our salvation.  
Grace reminds us that we are sons and daughters of the One True God.

That is the audacity of grace.  


PRAY:  Heavenly Father, I'm so thankful that you are so much bigger than me.  I'm so thankful that MY SINS...past, present and future...are covered by Jesus's blood.  I'm so thankful that I don't have the burden of judging the righteousness of others or the goodness of their hearts.  Forgive me for my un-forgiveness, God.  Help me to see others the way Jesus sees them.  Amen.

~ Tammie Hefty

Watch David Crowder sing "Come As You Are" in the K-LOVE studios:

 

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