It is not easy to preach, teach and proclaim grace within our consumer-culture where nothing is free. The Biblical concept of grace as sheer dependence on God without earning God’ love in any way whatsoever, speaks against our culture where if you did not earn something it is worth nothing – or even worse – speaks of a declaration of DEPENDENCE.
In such a culture, it's hard to believe and to live by God’s grace. We simply want acceptability, or even salvation, to be some kind of achievement, for example:
· make your faith holy and strong enough!
· say the sinner’s prayer – or any other prayer Christians know well!
· eradicate sin!
These are the things our sinner’s pride wants to hear and try to ACHIEVE!
To all and any religion featuring achieved acceptability, both Calvin and Luther resoundingly gave a definite NO! None of our pathetic little religious achievements can prepare us to receive our God and Lord who wants to come and live in us and walk with us.
Our redemption, effective calling by the Spirit, our grateful acceptance of God’s free gift of the faith by which we apply God’s grace to ourselves, is never an achievement - and our eternal glory can only be a freely given final unspeakable glory. It all is completely dependent on the free gracious energy, movement, prodding, encouragement, watering and molding of our gracious Lord and God.
Calvin identifies what he calls “the double grace” as Christ freely given to us by God's generosity to be grasped and possessed by us in faith. We receive a DOUBLE GRACE: namely, that by being reconciled to God through Christ's blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a Judge, a gracious Father, secondly, that sanctified by Christ's Spirit we may begin to cultivate faith, sanctification and purity of life here and now.
Grace powerfully redeems, because our sinful spiritual DNA would resist a holy life committed to God.
Grace never excuse or tolerate sin. We are redeemed by our Lord, Jesus Christ.
God’s grace is the power aimed at the complete remaking of me who is guilty, perverse and stubborn.
Grace is tough love that remakes people sometimes in spite of themselves.
C. S. Lewis testifies that the grace of God in Christ Jesus drags people kicking and screaming into the kingdom of God.
We can only be amazed by the grace of God when we realise that we cannot save ourselves by any human-made faith, good deeds or man-made prayers.
Grace is for the lost and remains grace when its muscles are flexed and it is rubbing our hair the wrong way.
We may want to be patted by compliments for our achievements - but God's grace comes to save us for eternal bliss with our Lord and Redeemer – in this life, and the next.
If you do have a few seconds left, now listen to SCRIPTURE about God’s amazing double grace:
Aäronic Blessing "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace" (Num. 6:24-26).
Psalm 103 "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits — who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Ps. 103:2-5).
"Your Father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45).
The Word Became Flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace" (John 1:14, 16).
"God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).
Christ said to Paul: "He said to me, `My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness'" (2 Cor. 12:9).
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you" (2 Cor. 13:13).
By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).
He loved me even though He knew all about me. (What a blessing!) Rom. 8:28-31.