“… since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1)
Peace & grace – a dynamic duo. It is difficult, if not impossible, to live in peace without embracing God’s grace. Yet it is probably quite accurate to suggest that the average Christian does not truly understand nor embrace God’s grace in their daily living. Let’s explore this thought a bit further. When you think about your life as a Christian – be honest here – how much focus do you put on grace, as opposed to your “performance” in the eyes of God? I suspect most of you would say your focus on performance overrides grace. A few observations would be helpful here. What is wrong with the following statements?
• “I’m a good Christian. I tithe, attend church regularly and give of my time and talents.” ….. Well, for one, sounds like pride has taken root which God detests (Prov 8:13). And surely, this is a focus on personal achievement. Be reminded that “ … it is by grace you have been saved …. Not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:8-9)
• “I fall short of pleasing God, because I am a sinner and continue to fail to overcome [whatever our shortcoming, or “thorn”, happens to be]” OK, we’ve avoided pride here and, yes, we are all sinners. But self-criticism also focuses on self, not on our Lord & Savior.
I used Romans 5:1 as the opening verse for this devotion. But let’s look at verse 2 – “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” What Paul is saying is that we have peace because we have gained access – through faith – to God’s grace. He points out further in Gal 5:4 that “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ, you have fallen away from grace.”
Hmm. So go back to my original question. Grace or performance – where is your focus? Grace is such a wonderful gift. Embrace it fully and enjoy the peace that surpasses all human understanding.