Living in Pure Grace

25 Nov

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. (Romans 12:3 MSG)

In a culture that values individualism and teaches that any citizen can be what he or she puts a mind to do, Christians need to grasp hold of this truth that our accomplishments and inventions are as filthy rags before the Perfect One.

We are full of our own self-importance, competing and clamoring for power, position, prosperity. We want our 15 minutes if fame where we finally receive the accolades of an adoring crowd.

But the Great Cloud of Witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12 is not cheering us on to achieve great things, even those that might seem holy and of heavenly values, but that we might continue the race to heaven without the entanglement of sin:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)

And what sins are we prone to? Pride. Greed. Jealousy. Doubt.

So we are instructed to keep our eyes on the prize, but more than that, to keep our focus on the One who made the journey possible. We run because we long to get Home to our Heavenly Father, who rescued us from sin and death.

And as we succeed in throwing off the sins that easily entangle us, we must resist the temptation that says we did that on our own, that with our own strength we have resisted and increased in holiness. No, it is God who works in us, and we must acknowledge His grace.

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