When you hear the phrase, “The grace of God,” what comes to mind? What is grace, in fact? And, if you accept God’s grace into your life, what does that mean? What does that look like exactly?
The Lord Jesus led me to read Titus 2:11-14 (ESV).
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions…”
By God’s grace, through faith, we are saved. This is not of ourselves, not of our own fleshly works, lest any of us should boast. This is a gift of God to us. So, what is the gift? And, how do we receive it?
When we come into this world, we are born with sin natures. We are separate from God, and we all fall short of attaining God’s divine approval by human effort, for all have sinned. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We can never be good enough, not one of us!
So, God the Son, Jesus Christ, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, was tempted like we are, yet without sin, and suffered and died on a cross for our sin. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, i.e. to deliver us from slavery to sin. And, he rose from the dead victorious over sin, Satan, death and hell.
For us to receive this salvation from sin, then, what must we do? Well, first off, God the Father draws us to Christ, by his Spirit, and he persuades us to believe in Jesus to be Lord and Savior of our lives. Since this faith is not of ourselves, of our own flesh, but it is of God, then it submits to God and to his will for our lives. It surrenders to the Lord, and it leaves the old life of sin behind. And, it turns from the sin to follow Jesus Christ, his will, and his ways.
For, you see, God’s grace to us is not just to free us from the punishment of sin so that we can go to heaven when we die. The purpose of his grace to us is to put sin to death in our lives so that we can walk (in lifestyle) in his righteousness. Thus, his grace instructs (commands; trains) us to give up (say “NO” to) ungodliness and worldly passions. The “gift,” thus, is not just a get-out-of-jail-free card and a free ride to heaven. The “gift” is deliverance from addiction to sin and empowerment to live godly and holy lives.
Thus, true faith in Jesus Christ means we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we live to God in true righteousness and holiness. It does not mean we are instantly perfect, in the sense that we will never sin again, but it does mean that sin no longer is our master. It no longer controls what we do. Satan no longer has power over us, for Jesus set us free. Thus, we can walk in freedom from sin addiction, and daily, by the Spirit, we can be putting to death the fruitless deeds of darkness and walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh. This is a true gift!
“…and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”
Not only does God’s grace to us train us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts), but it instructs us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. For, this is the purpose of our salvation, not just to free us from condemnation, and to give us the hope of heaven when we leave this earth, but to transform us, to put sin to death, and to give us new lives in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24).
So, why do so many people not get this? Why are so many preachers not preaching this? Why have so many diluted the gospel of our salvation to entirely leave out the fact that salvation means we are set free from addiction (slavery, bondage) to sin? And, that we are set free to now walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness? I believe it is because Satan has blinded their minds so that they believe the lie instead of the truth, because he wants them still under his control while believing in a false hope.
Far too many Christians, at least here in America, are not living at all like Jesus set them free from addiction to sin. The percentage of men who are now regularly viewing pornography is at about 90%, according to recent statistics, and this includes men who claim to be Christians. The majority of American homes, including Christian homes, seem to all have wide-screen TVs, even in some of the poorest of homes, and Netflix or Cable TV channels, laptop computers, smart phones and tablets (like IPads).
The whole world of evil is right at their fingertips, at the touch of a button, or the swipe of a screen, and is even in their pockets. Men and women both have instant and private access around the clock now to just about anything their flesh could possibly desire. And, these internet devices are now even are being handed to children, many of whom are not being monitored as to what they are viewing, nor as to what all they are getting involved with via open access to the world of evil, and in the privacy of their bedrooms.
If nearly everyone has such easy access to pornography and sexually explicit material via TV, movies, and the internet, with little to no accountability, is it any wonder that so many people have fallen into the trap of sexual addiction? Even among those who profess Christ as Savior of their lives? And, then is it any wonder that the church has now gone to a watered-down version of the gospel so that those who are addicted will not feel guilty for their sin nor sense a need to repent, because they believe that God’s grace covers it all, so it doesn’t really matter to God?
But, it does matter to God! It matters a great deal! This is why Jesus Christ died on that cross and took all our sins on himself, in order to free us from our slavery to sin, and to free us to walk in holiness and righteousness.
“…who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
Jesus gave his life up for us to redeem us from ALL lawlessness. To redeem means to buy back. Jesus, via his shed blood on a cross, bought us back for God, that we might be in fellowship with him and walk in his ways and in his truth. Lawlessness was holding us in slavery, so he freed us from that slavery, not so we would go right back to it and then use God’s grace as an “out,” claiming his grace covers it all.
Please know this! The Bible teaches that, to come after Christ, we must deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow (obey) Jesus. If we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives for Christ’s sake, i.e. die with him to sin, we will have eternal life with God.
When we believe in Jesus, and we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life in Christ Jesus, our Lord, we now walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, for IF we walk (conduct our lives) according to the flesh, we will die in our sin, not have the hope of eternal life with God in glory. If we make sin our practice, scripture teaches that we will die in our sin, and instead of heaven being our eternal destiny, hell will be our eternal destiny.
Also, when we come to true faith in Jesus Christ, and we die to sin and self, and Jesus becomes our Lord, it means he is now our owner-master and we are his bond-servants. He is now the one in charge of our lives, not us. We are no longer our own, to live however we want, because we were bought back for God with the blood of Christ. Therefore, we are to honor God with our lives. We are to walk in purity and holiness, not still be waddling in sin.
One day Jesus Christ is going to come back and take us to be with himself for eternity. But, not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will be accepted into his eternal kingdom, but only those who do the will of God, the Bible teaches. So, if you persist in living in sin, addicted to sinful practices, while claiming heaven as your eternal destiny, please know what the Bible teaches on this subject, because it says you don’t know God, you don’t love God, and you don’t have eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).
So, surrender your all to Jesus Christ today, while you still have today. Not one of us knows what awaits us today or tomorrow, so don’t wait until it is too late and, instead of being welcomed into God’s eternal kingdom, you hear “I never knew you! Depart from me!” This is real! Please take it seriously!!
Handel’s Messiah Pt. 1 (excerpt)
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness;
prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry mountain and hill made low;
the crooked straight and the rough places plain.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018, 5:10 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for dying for us on that cross, and for being raised from the dead, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Amen!