Friday, April 27, 2007

Do We Really Believe We Are Forgiven?

Grace. What does it mean for you? Does it mean that you can walk on a thin tightrope, above a deep canyon and not fall? Does it mean that you need to learn to balance books on your head as you walk across a school classroom? Or does it mean that you are one heck of a dancer, and you can sashay yourself professionally across the floor, for everyone’s eyes to see? Do you also picture in your mind a swan peacefully swimming across a calm lake in the most serene setting? Well, this is what I thought “grace” meant.

So when I first became a devoted Christian, I kept reading in the bible about grace. I had no real clue what it actually meant to be honest with you! I could not understand why God would be “graceful” to me… I mean come on, was he going to make it so I physically “carried” myself well? Like a ballerina??? LOL J

Honestly, as a brand new Christian, did you? Does anyone outside of “church” REALLY know what this means? You have to remember that the only church I experienced was Sunday school from a denomination that didn't exactly explain the gospel to it’s full extent… I was told that if I was good, and I didn't break any of the rules, that God would be good to me, and that if I was bad, God would be mad and punish me.

I asked other Christians questions about the word “grace.” In so many words, they told me it was unmerited favor. Well, what is that suppose to mean, really? They all tried to explain it to me as best as they could. But guess what—a lot of them could not put it into words of what it actually meant to them. You want to know why? Because I believe that they themselves had no idea of what real grace looked like in their own lives.

Well, me being the investigative reporter that I am, I just felt so compelled to look it up!

Check out Webster’s meaning on grace, and I will note that it is the FIRST meaning of grace:


a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b : a virtue coming from God c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

Then check out the THIRD meaning of grace (does third listing of what it means make it not as important? )Note that the letter “c” is what we are taught in secular schooling:


a : a charming or attractive trait or characteristic b : a pleasing appearance or effect : CHARM all the grace of youth -- John Buchan> c : ease and suppleness of movement or bearing

No wonder why I was confused! Here I was taught that you are “graceful” by having good looks while you carry yourself well, I wanted to KNOW the true meaning… so I searched, I studied the scriptures, I read commentaries, and I dug in to find the truth. If the first listed meaning of ”grace” in Webster’s Dictionary was true, I WANTED IT!!!

I wanted it so bad I prayed for it, I asked God to show me His grace, I wanted it manifested in my life so I could partake in what was promised to me from the very beginning of my birth… the very kingdom of God. Then God showed me something that literally blew my mind.

Mary Magdalene was forgiven, and immediately she became a follower of Christ. And not just the ordinary type… she became SOLD OUT. She went EVERYWHERE Jesus went. When others left. . . she chose to stay.

You want to know why? ? ? I believe she did this because she understood God’s GRACE from being pardoned from SO much!Here she is, facing judgment with stones, about to die for adultery and BAM! Radical Jesus comes along and sets her free EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS A PUBLIC NOTORIOUS SINNER!

She knew she had been forgiven much… and she was so very thankful for it! She was there to anoint Jesus with oil,she stood by him at the crucifixion, (despite the other diciples vamping the scene) she was at the burial. . . and because of her sincere dedication and LOVE for what Jesus had done for her… I believe Jesus chose to appear to her first when He was resurrected. Jesus told her to “go and tell” that He was alive! Mary became the first missionary to tell of the resurrection! How cool is that?

HOW much more would Jesus appear to you if you really understood His awesome grace? ? ?

Then you have the story of the prodigal son that Jesus told. . .

Tell me something, when the prodigal son came home, did the father throw the book of the law at his head and punish him? Did He tell him that he couldn't come on his property until he straightened up his act? NO! HE RAN TOWARDS HIM FROM AFAR OFF TO EMBRACE HIM!!! He gave him a robe, shoes, and the family ring. Then the father was so overjoyed that HE THREW HIM A PARTY!!! What incredible grace was given to this man!!! It made me think of myself and how God ran to me in my need. God didn't question where I was, or what I had been doing, He was so happy that I finally called His name and came home!I didn't have to take a sponge bath or a shower; he embraced me right where I was EVEN in my dirtiest state!!!

”The grace of God appeared for the salvation of ALL. ” Titus 2:11

I didn't know this when I first became a Christian… so I let other people tell me what grace was. This had me living in defeat. Oh, how I wanted to know that grace! We all have our own personal experiences when we first get saved… and unfortunately some of us never grow out of a certain “baby” stage. In this “baby Christian” stage, we tend to think that we all have to be perfect ALL of the time, and because of that we worry that we are not “good enough” or that we might not “measure up” to some extreme standard that a church or organization has set. This is dangerous… because we will then unknowingly start to impose our beliefs on others that now THEY have to be perfect like us, or do ministry a certain way like we do. What kind of love and grace is that? This causes hurt feelings, mistrust, judgment, which leads to offense! THIS IS A TRAP from the devil!!! It puts you into a type of “spiritual bondage” having to always worry what people think, and you start to be afraid to really be yourself! Is that freedom? ? ?

For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.

For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1 16-17 (amplified version)

People, that is NOT grace, it’s called LEGALISM… and God is not pleased with this!!! Jesus didn't die for us to be under the law—He died for us to be free of the death that the law brings so we would become alive in Him and accept the grace that He has given us! It is free, underserved favor!!! It also says in the quoted meaning of Webster’s that its “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification” What does “regeneration” mean? It means spiritual renewal or revival!!! What does that mean to us? That we can receive GRACE daily for the renewing of our minds… NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES WE MESS UP!!!

I did not have this knowledge in the beginning of my Christian life,so many days I felt condemned, and I walked around continually in fear of making mistakes. It was messing with my peace, my study time, the way that I treated people. Well, I had had enough so I did it… . I chose to actually believe what was written about grace in the bible!!! That’s right, I believed in the God’s grace despite the fact I knew that would make a mistake sometimes. I believed I would be forgiven even if I didn't always make the right choices. But the most important part was when I chose to believe I was forgiven and granted grace, even when I didn't feel like it inside!!!

When I stepped out in faith and CHOSE to do it, It transformed my walk with God and my ministry… literally. I could love and accept myself, and because of that, I could truly love others without judging them!

So you want to know how to break free of the bondage? Believe in what Jesus taught! Remember the story of the prodigal son! Don’t forget Mary Magdalene, (a prostitute, caught in adultery) Peter, ( a liar, denied Jesus) Paul (a murderer, killed Christians for a living) and their stories. What were the most significant parts of their lives that that stood out ? They ALL knew that they were sinners and needed God’s grace to get them through everyday! They were not perfect, yet God still chose to use them, in fact so much they shape a huge part of the New Testament!

Face it, we are NOT perfect and ALL of us are works in progress. So if you are living in defeat from perfectionism, legalism, condemnation, judgment of yourself OR others, remember that God forgives you, and as long as you are submitted to Him, trust that God is giving you the grace to walk in freedom! EVERY single day that you are alive! I Don’t know what I would do without Jesus' continued GRACE in my life, because the peace and liberation that I feel now I cannot even put a price on it! I love Jesus so much for that!!!

He knows every stupid thing you are going to do, BUT also every great thing you are destined to accomplish for Him!

I challenge you to look at your life and ask yourself “Am I truly walking in freedom and victory everyday? ” If you're not, chances are you Don’t know how to receive Jesus’ free gift of grace! Do God and yourself a favor… make a change and accept this free gift DAILY. Then watch how Jesus will radically change your life and take you to a whole new level of revelation and power in Him!

”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace . Acts 20:24

Now that’s what I’m talking about. . . the gospel of grace!!! AMEN!

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