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Living Under Grace

One of the more encouraging statements in Paul’s letter to the Romans is found in chapter six. There the apostle says this of born-again believers in Jesus: “For sin shall have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). There is much to ponder in this verse, but I want to focus on the final phrase: “under grace.” What does it mean to live “under grace”?

I suspect that more than a few of you, although born-again and justified by faith in Jesus, to this day do not know what it is like to live “under grace” rather than “under law.” You continue to live under an ever-present cloud of anxiety, suspicion, and doubt about your relationship with God. To determine if you are still living “under law” you need to ask yourself several questions:

When I sin or fail in some way, is my initial instinct to run from God or to God? If you said “from” God, you are living under law.

Do you deeply desire to obey God in order that he might love you, or do you obey because you know he loves you? Again, if you said “in order that he might love” you, you are living under law.

Is your desire to please God driven by the fear of failing him or by faith in his acceptance of you?

When you sin or fail in some way, do you think that some form of penance is required, something you can do to atone for your sin or make it up to God? Or do you immediately pause and give thanks for the fact that God has already forgiven you in Christ?

Are you inclined to conclude from your sin that God now loves you less than he did before you sinned? Or do you live in confidence and joy in knowing that God’s love for you never fluctuates, never diminishes, never changes?

Is your obedience to the law of Christ motivated by the belief that you need to pay back God for what he has done? Or is your obedience driven by the joyful realization that the only payment to God that was required was made by Jesus on the cross?

When you are asked to pray for someone’s physical healing, do you hesitate or refuse to do so because of your awareness of sin in your life? Or do you come boldly to the throne of grace, knowing that it is the righteousness of Jesus, in whom you trust, who determines whether or not your prayers are answered?

Today, right now, as you hear me ask you these questions, are you languishing in fear or doubt or uncertainty as to whether or not you are acceptable and righteous in God’s sight through faith in Jesus Christ?

On the other hand, a person who lives “under grace” is motivated by love and joy and gratitude and a desire to glorify God in his/her life. We obey because we are immeasurably grateful for what God has done for us in Christ and we delight in his delight in us. We obey because of the joy, peace, and assurance we experience when our lives are aligned with what God desires for us. We obey because we long to display the image of Christ in us so that he might be honored and praised and glorified.

 

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