From Deeper: The last thing we want to do is miss out just because we can’t handle a little digging up. The amazing thing about it is God has given us the grace to go through these poundings and diggings, and so we should understand just how grace goes beyond saving and how much it is empowering.
Let’s talk about grace.
The word grace has all too often been used as an excuse and as a license to sin, because people have confined the definition of grace to salvation. However, grace has actually set the bar higher. Indeed, we are no longer bound by law and rules, and yet since God’s nature now lives in us and we now have empowering grace inside us, we can easily turn away from sin and live out the standards Jesus has now set for us. For example, Matthew 5:27-28 states:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Looking at this scripture, we can see that the standards are now much higher than before. Under the Law of Moses, you had to commit adultery to sin. Now, simply desiring it is considered sin. This is because we are no longer living under law and have been inwardly transformed; thus it is no longer about the actions, it is about the heart. So ironically, grace that is so often used as an excuse to sin has actually set the rule of measure higher. But again, by grace, we are able to reach this higher standard. For because we no longer live by ourselves, but Christ in us (Galatians 2:20), we have received God’s divine nature as a part of us.
It’s sad because lot of Christians believe that they are still sinners who have just been forgiven when their identity is no longer tied to “sinners”. Romans 6:6-7 says that we are no longer slaves to sin and we have been set free from the power of sin. The thing is, a lot of people just aren’t willing to give up their sins and struggles since holiness takes a lot of effort. Yet we are called to be holy as God is holy. We are called to be perfect as God is perfect. And Satan’s greatest fear is that we would realize just who God made us to be, just how great our destinies are. That’s why we have to embrace God’s grace enabling us from the inside so we can live these out in faith. Not when Christ comes for us, not when we’re already in heaven, but now.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:8 that God is able to make all grace abound to us, and so having all sufficiency in all things at all times, we may abound in every good work. God has made all grace abound to us so we can abound in every good work at all times. Do you grasp the magnitude of that? Do you see all the superlatives there? And you need to understand, the Bible cannot lie so it doesn’t exaggerate. When it says all, it means all.
We need to start seeing how big our God is. The God who created the universe; who named the galaxies; who designed the atom that holds every single thing together has given you access to His power. Understand that. Believe that. God is more than a baby in a manger, He’s more than a judge waiting at the end of trial. Similar to the way we can’t limit God and His greatness, we cannot limit the power of His grace in us.
2 Corinthians 7:1 states that we have to cleanse ourselves from all filth unless of the flesh and spirit. Note how it says cleanse ourselves. Not God will cleanse us, but we cleanse ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. It is by Jesus and His sacrifice that we are cleansed of all sin and everything we are able to do is by God’s grace and kindness. But my point here is that we also have a part in it, we have to make an effort on our end. God’s grace – that we did nothing to earn or deserve – will give us the power for us to do so, nevertheless we have to make a choice to really walk in God’s empowering grace in light of His will and destiny.
And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
Great power. Great grace. God has given each and every one who believes His grace, and so this great power written about in Acts can be operated by believers in this day and age such as you and me! That is how Jesus was able to say that anyone who believes in Him will be able to do the works He has done and even greater. Ponder on that. Anyone who believes will do even greater. That’s because the Spirit that lives in Him and the nature that He has is now also in us, and so why should we allow ourselves to be held back by sin, by fear, by intimidation? Grace has not only saved us, but it equips us to live our lives to their absolute fullness in Christ.
See, we can now go deeper because grace enables us to do so. We are able to suffer gracefully, learn humbly, and so eventually, rise mightily. And when we do, we can go high beyond our imaginations because we have been dug down deep in the spiritual foundations. We can achieve things beyond our wildest dreams because as children of the living God, nothing is too out of reach for us.
Grace allows us to move beyond our ability and live extraordinarily.
And yet why is it that so many Christians still fail to walk the path of their God-given destiny? How come people who are called to be greater cannot obey and surrender?