The gospel is the story of Jesus and what he has done for us, not what we are supposedly obligated to do for God. One is grace; the other is impossible.
This is too much for some people to handle. Grace – free and without end – scares them.
- They want lists so they know what grace won’t cover.
- They want limits so they know what’s on the other side of grace.
- They want rules so they know what’s expected of them.
Grace doesn’t give them any of these things. Grace won’t beat anyone down for failing to follow a rule, check off a list, or stay within the lines. Rather, God’s grace does the opposite. It lifts you up.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. (Romans 5:1-2.)
And your eternal standing of peace with God doesn’t depend on you one bit. It’s all God.
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:21.)
God’s grace has brought you peace, and it has also set you free from rule-following.
Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:23.)
An appearance of wisdom, but lacking value. Does that sound like some rules you might have imposed on yourself – or worse yet, rules you’ve allowed others to impose upon you? This is not the life Jesus offers, the life where he said:
“If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” (John 8:36.)
In speaking of this freedom and refusing ever to be bound again by rules and lists, Paul wrote:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1.)
Can you handle God’s grace? Can you handle that it is a free gift that in turn sets you free from rules and lists and being burdened by expectations you never meet?
Free means free. It’s not up to you to earn God’s grace and it’s not up to you to keep it.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God … . (Ephesians 2:8.)
It’s all God, and it’s all yours.
Grace, peace, faith – this is how much God loves you.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-30.)
Handle it, because he has you in his hands forever.