Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 21
Verse 3: “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
One of the things that I am very sure of is the fact that we cannot earn grace. That is not a new concept and gives me plenty of wiggle room. What I would like to do today is narrow down a piece of that concept that may not be so familiar to you. When we say that we cannot earn grace, we are usually discussing how we obtain salvation. More specifically that we cannot earn salvation. We are saved by grace and not our own doing. This is true, but let’s takes it to a more applicable scenario than salvation alone. For those of us that are saved, we may not see the present need for understanding “we cannot earn grace” outside of a salvation context. It is by the grace of God that we are saved. We cannot earn salvation through our good deeds and works, and yet we violate the fullness of this truth on a routine basis. Almost more so, for those of us who understand this truth the most. Many of us who hold fast to the “we cannot earn grace” doctrine, violate its purpose by walking in somewhat alignment with His Word. We lean on the fact that our accepting of His salvation gives us the flexibility (grace) to take a half-hearted approach to walking in His precepts. In this, we have assumed that our acceptance of His salvation has "earned us grace" concerning our obedience to Him. How can we say that we cannot earn grace and yet embrace grace just because we have accepted it? Grace is not ours, it is His. He expects us to walk in obedience without considering how much “wiggle room” we have. I have seen a rather overwhelming presence of “earned grace” being exercised among Christians. I’ve seen people that have walked with the Lord - turn and take a vacation from the principles and even boundaries that He established in their lives. They feel like their repeated obedience has earned them some leeway. This is grace that they think they have earned. This is not only common and horribly wrong, but is embraced by many of us that hold fast to the fact that “we cannot earn grace”. We are using one side of the truth. The truth that is convenient for us. Our run of obedience, our many charities and sacrifices have not earned us grace or wiggle room concerning God’s precepts. Remember what Samuel told Saul, “…has the Lord as great delight in sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” God would have us to walk in continued obedience without considering how it relates to our streak of obedience, our many charities or sacrifices. We cannot earn grace for salvation just as assuredly as we cannot earn grace for resident sin in our lives. Is the grace there? Yes. Did we earn it? No.
Lord, I too often lean on my past victories and sacrifices in order to justify a break in sticking to your commands and expectations. This is nothing other than expecting that I have earned grace. For that Lord, I repent. I accept your forgiveness and will strive to walk upright before you. Amen
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