These days, grace has been taken to unbiblical proportions. There’s a lot of talk, conversations and messages about grace but I believe that it needs recalibrating back to what Scripture declares.
I know that one blog can’t cover the vastness of this truth.
I also realize that it might not be the most popular post I’ll write about.
As a pastor, I encounter countless of counseling sessions with couples who live in for a variety of reasons ranging from convenience to financial pragmatism. As i officiate baby dedications, a number of the parents had their babies first before they got married. Granted that repentance and faith were part of the journey, the chronology of the God’s original design for marriage and family life has now been reversed. The original sequence of courtship, engagement, marriage, honeymoon and then babies has been interchanged.
The unbiblical teaching of “it’s-ok-because-I-can-repent-tomorrow-because-God-is-gracious-and-forgiving” has become prevalent. It has taken a turn towards licentiousness.
Titus 2:11-12 declares: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
GRACE BRINGS SALVATION
The Apostle Paul tells Titus that God’s grace has appeared to bring salvation. It is by grace we have been saved through faith which is God’s gift, totally undeserved so that no one can boast. We were all deserving eternal punishment because of our sin. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23) Even if we’ve tried to produce righteous acts of our own, they are still filthy rags in His sight. (Isaiah 64:6)
But because of the mercy and kindness of God, He sent His one and only Son to provide a way for us to be reconciled back to the Father. (See John 3:16)
GRACE TEACHES US TO SAY NO TO SIN
Paul says that grace teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions, live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
Grace doesn’t give us the license to do whatever we want.
Grace empowers us to do all that God commands.
When people preach on the Lordship of Christ, it is very possible that they be dubbed as legalistic. There is a thin line between legalism and pursuit of holiness. What is it, you may ask? The motive.
Legalism desires to gain greater favor from God by accumulating brownie points in heaven while impressing others with their moralistic self-righteousness. On the other hand, the one who pursues holiness does so out of gratitude to the immense salvation he received because of the grace of God.
I love how R. Kent Hughes puts in his book, The Disciplines of a Godly Man.
“There is a universe of difference between the motivations behind legalism and discipline. Legalism says, ‘I will do this thing to gain merit with God,’ while discipline says, ‘I will do this because I love God and want to please him.’ Legalism is man-centered; discipline is God-centered.”
Legalism is man trying to be saved (or gain divine favor) through his good works, while Biblical holiness is one who is already saved, showing good works as a result of their salvation.