Grace is not a declaration from God of innocence; it’s not a “get-out-of-hell free” card you wave at the pearly gates, and it’s not just unmerited favor. We have God’s unmerited favor because Christ lives in us. God empowers us with grace because we have Christ’s life. We’re saved by grace through faith because we have been placed in Christ in God. True grace is a Person.
Here’s what Paul told Titus abut God’s grace…
11God’s marvelous grace has manifested in person, bringing salvation for everyone. 12 This same grace teaches us how to live each day as we turn our backs on ungodliness and indulgent lifestyles, and it equips us to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age. 13 For we continue to look forward to the joyful fulfillment of our hope in the dawning splendor of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus, the Anointed One.14 He sacrificed himself for us that he might purchase our freedom from every lawless deed and to purify for himself a people who are his very own, passionate to do what is beautiful in his eyes. (Titus 2:11-14 TPT*)
God is gracious like God is love. Grace not just an attribute of God; it’s part of the essence of who He is. God cannot be other than gracious, just like He cannot be other than love.
When we receive Grace by faith, we receive eternal life because we “know and experience” the One whom God sent (John 17:3). Furthermore, we have hope of Christ’s appearing because we’re now seated in heavenly places in Christ and wait for Him from there (Eph.2:6; Phil.3:20).
This is the ultimate manifestation of grace—“our great God and Savior, Jesus, the Anointed One.”
Here’s why this distinction is important. Everything with God is relational. For instance, we don’t find freedom by obeying rules or following principles; we find it in the person of Jesus Christ. We find it in His life. We’re empowered by His life to live godly in this present age.
Our hope is not just in Him, we are in Him.
20 “My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me—we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine! (Gal.2:20 TPT*)
Didn’t we get this memo? You no longer live. To quote the Coroner of Oz, your old life is not only really dead, it’s most sincerely dead. It’s no longer relevant to your relationship with God, your new identity, or even your relationship with others. Your new life is now Christ’s life. It’s even His faith that empowers you. And there’s nothing you can do about it except believe it and walk in its reality.
This is true grace!
But anyone who says grace allows us to live any way we want because we’re already forgiven completely misses the most wonderful point. Yes, we are forgiven forever, and God is not counting our sins against us anymore (2 Cor.5:19). Yay God! But if that’s all you believe, you have not risen above the level of a pardoned criminal. You’re still not living like a free person, transformed and walking in the grace freely given to you.
God’s grace empowers you and me to live free from sin, to live like Jesus, because it’s His life working in and through us. I hope you’re getting this because it’s over-the-top, glorious GOOD NEWS!
As Paul said to Titus, it’s God’s grace that teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness. This is because when we encounter such incredible favor and unfathomable love in the face of Jesus Christ, we are pummeled, tenderized, transfigured, and everything changes, including what motivates us to do what we do.
I don’t live a godly life because I’m supposed to, and certainly not because I’m compelled to do so or else. I live a God-breathed life because it’s the most joyful, most fulfilling, and most glorious way to live!
Finally, the fruit of Grace living in us is the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.(Gal.5:22-23). Grace is Christ’s life empowering us to live our life in union with Him on this earth.
For Christ was the One who purified us all with His blood and gave us His nature to walk in so that we would passionately do what is beautiful in His eyes. Amen.