June 11, 2012

One of my favorite tongue-twisting verses in The Bible is Romans 11:6.

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” In the old English Bibles it continued, “But if it be of works, it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

Bottom line: it is either of grace or works; it can’t be both. Knowing this truth and living it are two different things. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, “ I believe in grace . . . and sometimes, I practice it!”

Grace, being that undeserved favor of God upon the believing sinner, includes not only God’s provision of forgiveness of all our sins through the payment the Son made on the cross, but also the provision of enablement to live a life filled with good works.

We are trained and conditioned from earliest childhood that our well-being and success is performance based. In life’s exercises that is obviously true. If we work hard and smart, good stuff follows. But in our relationship with God we “fail the grace of God” if we think that our performance in any way enhances or increases his favor in our lives. We can never do anything to cause God to love us more. We can never do anything to cause God to love us less. He loves us because we are identified with his Son, in whom he is well pleased.

Romans 12:1 urges the believer to wholly present himself to God as a living sacrifice. This is to be done in response to “the mercies of God.” That points us to the grace that God has given us because of who and what Jesus did for us.

As we come to see this better and embrace it more fully in our hearts, we are thus freed and motivated to serve the God of grace for the right reason: our loving response to his loving provision in Christ.

That is how Grace Works!

– Article by Ken Sheppard, Director of Mentoring for the Master’s Men ministry.