When you don't need Grace

Jonathon shared a message this Sunday, Don’t Frustrate the Grace of God. His Scripture was Galatians 2:21 and Ephesians 3:14-21 and his main thought was on how we cannot earn God’s grace but must, instead, receive it!

We often frustrate God’s grace by trying to accomplish IT in our own strength, not believing the Word God has given us, or in believing that we are entitled to God’s favor and blessing in our life.

I have really struggled this week on what to share out of my notes. Normally, a thought or statement really stands out and the words start flowing. This week, I feel like I have nothing to add.

However, there is one statement that I wrote down that stands out to me from my notes but I am not sure if I am truly ready to share it! I guess I am partly afraid that this statement could be misconstrued as a contradiction to what Jonathon has been teaching. I am afraid that what I write will be misunderstood! I am not sure I can communicate it as clearly as I need to, but here goes…

Resting or Working…

All throughout this series, we have seen the tension between resting in God’s grace and exactly what role we play in the grand scheme of things. This is a tension that is always present, but never easy to balance.

How much in life depends on what we do? How much weight do our actions really carry? Sometimes we act as if everything depends on us and we try to manipulate and make things happen. Other times, we completely relinquish all responsibility that we have all under the guise of faith.

So which is it? Are the results completely out of our hands (grace) or do we have a role to play in this life (works)? My answer might be a bit controversial, but here goes…

If you can make it happen in your own strength, you do not need grace…

I can only speak for myself here but I have noticed that I tend to try to take my hands off the steering wheel when I shouldn’t and I often hold on to the wheel when I should let go!

There are times when I am too quick to dump everything at God’s feet and put my hands in my pockets! There are also times when I act like I’m in control of things that I am not!

And as Jonathon shared this week, I felt this statement impressed in my spirit…

If you can make it happen in your own strength, you do not need grace…

What is your IT ?

The question you have to answer is: What is your it? What are you trying to accomplish?

If you are referring to our salvation, that rests completely on the Lord! I have come to accept over the past few years that if my salvation rests on my activity at all, I am doomed! My salvation rests completely on the finished work of Jesus through His death and resurrection! I believe when the Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Galatia, speaking of frustrating the grace of God, he was referring to salvation. Paul clearly teaches in Galatians and his other writings that our salvation is 100% dependent upon the work of Christ Jesus! Our role in salvation is to receive it in faith! Although we cannot earn our salvation, we must receive it freely through grace and walk in that grace daily!

Partnered with Christ…

Once we have cleared up that salvation is totally dependent upon Jesus, we can start talking about how we partner with Him to accomplish great things in this life.

We are responsible to use our gifts and abilities to pour into and build up the body of Christ! I shared briefly about this in my post Out of Your Control. Paul writes to the church…

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow” (1 Cor. 3:6 NLT).

There are many things in life that we have been given authority over! And we should be diligent to do all that we can in these areas. And so I say…

If you can make it happen in your own strength, you do not need grace…

If God has given us the ability or the strength to do something, we need to act! We should not relinquish our responsibility in these areas.

I reached out to Jonathon for help on this post because I really wanted to be sure of what I was sharing. He shared this Scripture with me and I feel that it really summarizes what I am trying to say most clearly.

The Apostle Paul writes near the end of his first letter to the church at Corinth:

“But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT).

The special gifts God has given us are to be used to bless others and to build up God’s kingdom! We often need His grace to accomplish the things He calls us to do, but must give all we can while trusting Him to do His part! In this way, we are partnering with God to accomplish His will in this life!

And this is why I say that we should work hard at the opportunities that God has given us! As Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Colosse:

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17 NLT).

Do all you can do, give all you can give, and be all you can be in this life! Once you have done that, rest, knowing that God will honor our faith, filling in the gaps with His amazing grace!

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