Monday, April 2, 2018

”Grace, Fearful Risk or Secure Reality?”

Grace is the scariest possibility to one whose spiritual identity and reality are rooted in systems of merit, shame-based performance, and a fear-motivated existence. No wonder the cross, the gospel of the Kingdom, actual identity in Christ, eternal security, and the Grace of God expressed through the atonement are such threats to man-made systems of control, behavior modification, and shame. The blood of Jesus and the cross set us free from the power by which those systems operate. Once people are set free from the power of sin, fear, and death to fully live In Christ, led completely by His Spirit, then man can no longer control with methods of sin management, the threat of punishment, and fear of being rejected, unloved, and judged by God. When the Son sets us free, it is definitely a "FREE INDEED" freedom! When Grace is revealed to you, it produces a passion for intimacy and closeness with God through our Life in Christ! That's freedom!! It doesn't, as some legalists would presume, produce a licsentious desire to live self-indulgently, satisfying every whim of our human nature! That's bondage. Grace is not a theoretical "idea"! It is not a "catch phrase" to legitimize some other message! It isn't license to live a self indulgent, careless lifestyle! It is LIFE! It is BLESSING, FAVOR, & ABUNDANCE! It is our IDENTITY, In CHRIST! It is HEALING & WHOLENESS! It draws us to the heart of God, not to the edge of the line between right & wrong! Grace changes the very desires of your heart. When you know your identity in Christ, fear becomes a non-factor. That's why Grace and religion don't mix. The day that religion ceases and relationship begins, is when we stop trying to "understand" God and striving to please Him, and instead start to enjoy "knowing" Him, and abiding in Him through Christ in us, our hope and our true identity. Striving keeps the focus on our performance, but abiding keeps the focus on Him. Understanding comes through abiding, not striving. The more you understand what Grace is and how it covers EVERY aspect of living, the more you realize how opposite it is from so much of what recent cultural religious tradition has taught us that it is!! I believe that the greatest persecution to the message of Grace & the finished work of Jesus at the Cross, will not come from sinners looking for a savior, but rather the self-righteous and religious, looking to save themselves.