“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
At Christmas, when our kids were little, they would fly through presents and not even stop to appreciate what they had opened. Maybe you know the feeling. You pick out not only the perfect gift, but you choose the wrapping paper. You might even write a well-thought-out note. You can’t wait for them to open it!
The child tears into the wrappings, hardly noticing what’s inside. The present hasn’t even touched the floor, and they’re already asking, “What’s next?”
God certainly knows how you feel. At some point, each of us has treated God’s grace with similar disregard. Especially for those who have been believers for a long time, we can almost become numb to the greatest gift of all – Jesus. We have heard the message of God’s free gift so many times that it becomes almost ordinary rather than extraordinary.
Justification by grace alone can also seem to open the door to rampant sinning, another way we disregard the gift we have in Jesus. If grace is truly a free gift that covers all our sin, what if people abuse this gift? What if people get too focused on grace and leave no room to focus on obedience?
Thankfully in the book of Romans, Paul addresses our tendency to treat grace cheaply.
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-4).”
As someone comes up out of the baptism waters at the church where I serve, we often say they are “raised to walk in newness of life.” Our behavior in this new life we have been given in Christ is to reflect what we have become because what we truly believe is revealed in how we behave. Our choices, our thoughts, our priorities. We are not saved through being obedient; at the same time, we are not saved to remain the same in our sin.
The gospel does not encourage more sin at the abuse of grace. As children of God, we must remember that while God’s grace is free, it certainly was not cheap. It cost Jesus everything.
So, enjoy the gift of Jesus. Savor His beauty in your life.
May God’s grace stir a life of obedience, holiness, and thankfulness in you.
Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shades Mountain Baptist Church