I have been teaching quite a bit about God’s grace and our requirement to live by faith for a while. This morning we will make it a series. I will start by asking you a key question: Have you fallen from grace? This is a term Paul used in Galatians 5. Let’s look at it and see how it applies to us today.
We will keep John 1:14 & 17 and the main scriptures and then add to them daily.
(John 1:14 NIV)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:17 NIV)
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Paul opens Galatians 5 with a bold statement. The Apostle said, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the Law.” The Apostle is clear. In no uncertain terms, he tells the believers in Galatia, who had been going back to portions of the Law after being Born-Again, that they were to stay free from the slavery and bondage the Law brings.
Paul goes on to say, “Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you.” Remember, there were some Jewish-Christians in Galatia who required Gentile converts to Christianity to get circumcised. Paul already taught about this, but he comes back to the issue. And the Apostle further reiterates his point and says, “I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole Law of Moses.” Paul keeps driving home the point that if you attempt to take on a portion of the Law, thinking that your compliance with that portion is making you right with God, then the Law actually requires you to abide by the entire Law, and if you break any portion of it, you are guilty of breaking the entire Law (see James 2:10).
Paul continues with another very strong statement. Paul says, “For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the Law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.”
So what does this mean for you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:
1. Once you are Born-Again and God’s Spirit is in you, you are called to walk in the freedom Christ Jesus died to provide for you. Jesus made you free. He delivered you from the fear of death and the power of sin. Once you are in Christ, you are free to be led by the Holy Spirit to find, follow and finish your purpose in life before you die.
2. Once you are Born-Again, you are in Christ, and you have victory over sin and death. Adam got us into sin and death, and Jesus delivered us from both. This is often preached and mostly understood. But what is not often preached and certainly not widely understood is that Jesus also delivered us from the bondage of The Law. Jesus delivered us from the yoke of carnal effort and human performance. The Apostle Paul makes it very clear that once we are in Christ, we must NOT allow ourselves to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Paul was not talking about sin. He was talking about the bondage (slavery) of The Law.
3. The Bible teaches that if you attempt to abide by The Law as if your compliance with the Law will make you right with God, then Jesus is of “no benefit to you.” You are not relying on Jesus to make you righteous. You are self-righteous. Instead of allowing yourself to be righteous because of what Jesus did, you are attempting to be righteous with your own works. If you live this way, you have made Jesus irrelevant in your life. You are not relying on Jesus. You are relying on your own works to make you right with God. Therefore, you have “fallen from grace!” The grace of God means nothing to you because you are relying on your performance and not Jesus’ performance.
4. Mindset matters. While it is true that you were sent to this planet to perform certain “works” (see Ephesians 2:10), you must not perform works TO BE righteous. You must perform works BECAUSE YOU ARE righteous in Christ Jesus. You don’t work FOR grace. You work BY grace. There is a massive difference between the two mindsets.
5. Paul said, “If you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the Law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” I was taught that “falling from grace” meant losing your salvation. But that is not what Paul is teaching at all. “Falling from grace” is leaving the grace Jesus died to give you in order to go back and live under the Law of Moses, relying on human performance. If you attempt to live by the Law, Paul said you are “cut off from Christ!” (which is a very strong statement), and you are “fallen away from God’s grace.”
6. How are you living your life as a Christian? Are you living under and by God’s grace? Or have you fallen from grace by attempting to earn your righteousness with your works and human compliance with the Law? You can choose either way to live. The choice is yours, but please choose wisely. One mindset leads to a life based on performance-based religion. The other leads to a life based on God’s amazing power and His unearned grace. The latter is the only way you will see the supernatural manifest in your life. Because if you are focused on your performance, the sad truth is that you will never be good enough to earn God’s blessing, and you will never see yourself as worthy enough to expect His favor.
7. In an earlier point, I said, “Jesus delivered us from the yoke of carnal effort and human performance.” Jesus died and was raised from the dead, so the Holy Spirit could be restored to mankind. Once He was, a New Covenant was established. Under this New Covenant, the focus is no longer on us. The point of the Old Covenant was to drive home the point that carnal effort and human performance are not good enough. That point has been made. We received the message. Some of us received it LOUD and CLEAR. However, some did not. Some are living under the New Covenant, with the same mindset as the Old. They are under a covenant of grace, but they live their lives focused on their performance. As a result, Jesus and all He did for us are irrelevant to them. John said, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John is contrasting both covenants for a reason. He was signaling the shift between the two. I pray you understand this shift, and you open your heart to the grace of God. If you do, you will find that it is liberating to no longer live your life under the pressure to perform.
8. I could tell you that God wants you to embrace His grace, so you don’t buckle under the pressure to perform. I could tell you that God wants you to embrace His grace, so you can finally have peace in your heart and rest in your soul. I could tell you that God wants you to embrace His grace, so you can live free from distressing anxiety. But more significant than all of that (and those are pretty great benefits, by the way), I believe God wants you to embrace His grace becuase without it, you will never become the best version of yourself. Without God’s grace, you will never fully maximize the purpose and potential He placed inside of you before the world began. The only way you will ever make the impact on the planet you were born to make is by dying to sin, self, selfishness, and human performance. Once you do, the grace of God will come TO you and THROUGH you. Then you can live as Paul described in Phillipains 2:13. He said, “Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases him, and he gives you the power to do it.” Do you know what that’s called? I call it #TheGraceLife.
9. Jesus died to usher you into a covenant of grace. Please don’t FALL from grace and go back to human effort. You will make all Jesus did irrelevant in your life if you do.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for teaching me how to live my life empowered by Your grace. I am being convicted of things I am doing out of human effort in an attempt to earn my right-standing with You. I repent, and I fully embrace Your grace. From this moment on, I will not work TO BE right with You. I will work because Jesus MADE ME right with You. I do all that I do BECAUSE I AM right, not in order to BECOME right. I am the righteousness of God by faith, and I will never forget it. I will not entangle myself with sin or the yoke of bondage of The Law. What I will do is fully engulf myself in Christ. Without You, I am nothing. Like Jesus, I say, “The son can do nothing without the Father.” I am nothing without You! It is in You that I live and move and have my being. I lose myself in You, and by losing myself in You, I find my true self and my divine purpose. I will never fall from grace because I am determined to live every day of my life IN, WITH, and By the grace, You have already provided! I live #TheGraceLife. Therefore, GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!