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Grace Grace

So he answered and said to me:
"This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:
'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,'
says the LORD of hosts.
Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone
with shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"' "
Zechariah 4:6-7

Grace One: Saving Grace

God Sent His Son >> We Need To Trust Him

The Good News is that God makes us, who are undeserving sinners, to be ready for His heaven. He makes us right in His sight when we put our trust in Christ. This is accomplished by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8). We who seek life will find it through trusting God.

God has been waiting all this while without punishing us, to give us time to turn from our sins. His kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. Nobody can ever be made right in God's sight by doing good deeds to atone for their own sins. For the more we know about God's standard of holiness, the clearer it becomes that we are not able to attain it. His mark for righteousness serves only to remind us that we are sinners. And that’s good! That’s where and when we realize that we need God. Without Him, we are nothing, have nothing and can do nothing!

God has shown us His way to heaven - a way made long ago back in Genesis. Abraham was the founder and the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4). He was a righteous man before God. The question is: "Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him?" If so, then he would have something to boast about. But from God's point of view, Abraham believed God and that’s good enough. God cancelled his sins and declared him not guilty. Abraham earned his right to heaven by believing in God.

Now this wonderful truth that Abraham was accepted and approved through his faith was not only for him, but also for us. We are equally assured that God will accept us in the same way that He had accepted Abraham by putting our faith in God. When we believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose again to make us right with God, God will accept and acquit us, declaring us not guilty. We are then filled with the goodness of God. Salvation, though expensive, is a free gift of God. As it is free, nobody can work for it. For God declares sinners to be right in His sight if they have put their faith in Christ.

King David spoke of this blessedness of an undeserving sinner who is declared not guilty by God. "Blessed and to be envied," he said, "are those whose sins are forgiven and put out of sight. Yes, what joy there is for anyone whose sins are no longer counted against him by the Lord." (Psalm 32:1-2, Romans 4:6-8)

In Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus told a parable about a man, Mr. A, who owe a king $10 million. As he could not pay the amount, the king was merciful and forgave him. The king wrote off and cancelled every cent Mr. A, his debtor, owe. Mr. A did nothing to deserve this goodness but he received the gift based on the grace of the king.

Similarly, we owe God a debt that we cannot pay. But Jesus came and paid on our behalf every debt we owe. All our sins are cleared and cancelled. By believing in what Christ has done on the Cross, we are truly saved by grace through faith.

Grace Two: Strengthening cum Sanctifying Grace

God Sent His Spirit >> We Need To Obey Him

Well then, if we are saved by grace through faith, does this mean that we now have a license to sin and are set free to commit more sins? Just the opposite! In fact, the only way to prove that we truly trust God is when we truly obey Him. That's why God gives us His Holy Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29) Who is more than sufficient strengthening us to live the abundant life through obeying Him.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam caused all of us to be sinners because he disobeyed God, but Christ caused us to be made saints acceptable to God because He obeyed.

Now we can rejoice in this wonderful new relationship with God - all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done in dying for our sins and making us friends of God.

Going back to the same parable in Matthew 18, when Mr. A was acquitted of his debt, he would not dare to be indebted to the king again. It would be presumptuous of him to take the grace of the king for granted. When we are clean of our sins, we do not desire to be stained again. The grace of God is not our right but His right to exercise. The gift of God, through free, is not cheap. Jesus made the full payment for our sins with His blood and His life!

And the parable did not end there with Mr. A stood forgiven and debt-free. When Mr. A was released, he went to another man, Mr. B who owed him just $2,000. Mr. A grabbed Mr. B by the throat and demanded instant payment. Mr. B fell down before Mr. A and begged him to give him a little time to pay the debt. But his creditor, Mr. A, would not wait. He had Mr. B arrested and jailed until the full $2,000 debt was paid. When the king came to know about this, he was angry with Mr. A and sent him to the torture chamber until he had paid every cent of the $10 million debt.

When we have received the grace of God, we need to minister His grace to others. As God is gracious to us by forgiving all of our sins, we need to be gracious in forgiving all the sins of others against us. That's what grace is for.

Since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we can have peace with Him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. We know how dearly God loves us. We can feel His warm love spreading everywhere inside of us. This warmth is the evidence that God has given us the Holy Spirit - filling our hearts with His love.

In order to overcome the law of sin and death, we need the Holy Spirit so that the law of the Spirit of life will activate in our lives. The law of the Spirit of life and the law of sin and death are actually two faces of the same Law of God. Obedience leads to blessings (life), and disobedience leads to curses (death). We can now obey the Law of God if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey our old evil and lower natures.

Those who let themselves to be controlled by their lower natures live only to please themselves, but those who follow after the Holy Spirit find themselves doing those things that please God. Following after the Holy Spirit leads to life and peace, but following after the old nature leads to death because the old sinful nature within us is against God. It never did obey God's laws and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their old sinful natures, bent on following their old evil desires, can never please God.

But we are not to be like that. We are controlled by our new nature if we have the Spirit of God living in us. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ living in him, he is not a Christian at all.

In fact, the law of the Spirit of life is higher than the law of sin and death. Instead of just hating sin and stop sinning, the law of the Spirit of life requires us to love the sinners. Loving our neighbours includes both saints and sinners. That’s the fulfillment of the Law. It is both being debt-free (not sinning) and being gracious to write off the debts that others owed us (forgiving the sins of others). That's what the grace of the Spirit can do in our lives.

As the Spirit of God is able to raise up Jesus from the dead, He is able to help us live the life that will please God. We have no obligations to our old sinful nature to do whatever it urges us to do. For if we keep on following it, we will be lost and perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit, we overcome it and crush its evil deeds, we shall live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For the Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we really are God's children. As His children, we will abide in Him as He abides in us. When we do so, His commandments become no longer burdensome but delightful to follow. When we are no longer lawless but law-abiding, we can proclaim with the psalmist:

The law of the LORD is perfect,
converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
The statutes of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD
are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Psalm 19:7-10

Our Father sent us His Holy Spirit to empower us to live in grace and harmony with His own will. And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans. For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to Him should become like His Son, so that His Son would be the First, with many brothers. And having chosen us, He called us to come to Himself; and when we came, He declared us not guilty, filled us with Christ's goodness, gave us right standing with Himself, and promised us His glory. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of this glory.

To be truly happy in Jesus, there is no other way but to trust and obey. Again, I say to you, "Grace, Grace!"

Please also read: True Grace In Motion