Did You Receive God’s Grace in Vain?

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 ESV

“Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

‘In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

God’s Grace

God’s grace to us is his favor toward us, his kindness, the sharing of benefit to us. It was him giving himself up for us on that cross to provide for us the way of salvation from sin, and eternal life with God, and abundant lives in him full of grace and truth. For in his death he became sin for us so that when he died our sins died with him in order that we might now die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-14; Luke 9:23-26; Ephesians 4:17-24).

For God’s grace, which is bringing us salvation, instructs (teaches, trains) us to renounce (say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return. For Jesus Christ “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” (see Titus 2:11-14; cf. Ephesians 2:10).

Therefore, God’s grace is not just forgiveness of sins so we can go to heaven when we die. His grace put us to death with Christ and raised us with Christ, by faith in him, to now walk in newness of life in him, not like our old lives. His grace is not permission to keep living in sin guilt free. His grace delivers us from our enslavement (addiction) to sin so that we can now live free from the control of sin over our lives, and so we can now walk in righteousness and in holiness, in walks of obedience to our Lord (Romans 6:1-23).

In Vain

So, we are being cautioned here to not receive the grace of God in vain. And vain means “empty (in moral content), ineffective, foolish, worthless, false, pretentious, hollow” (source: biblehub.com interlinear). So, how does that happen? It happens when we don’t really receive God’s true grace but a false grace which is being largely promoted in America today which is not requiring death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness, and which does not require walks of obedience to our Lord, but which gives carte blanche for their adherents to continue in deliberate and habitual sin.

For they are teaching that we can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and now all our sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and heaven is guaranteed us when we die, regardless of how we live from that moment forward. So there is no dying daily to sin and to self and following our Lord in obedience as Jesus taught we must do if we are to come after him (Luke 9:23-26). And there is no warning that if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin that we will not inherit eternal life with God (Galatians 5:16-21).

For the picture they are giving of God’s grace is one of full forgiveness of sins (minus true repentance) and a guarantee of heaven when they die solely based on a one-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ. But that is not God’s grace. That is of the flesh of man who wants his salvation and heaven guaranteed him but who does not want to surrender his life to Christ, and who does not want to submit to Christ’s Lordship, and who does not want to leave his life of sin behind him to follow Jesus in obedience.

He Helps Us

Now, repenting of our sins and following Jesus in obedience is not works salvation, as many are promoting today who are also promoting this false (empty) grace. We who are in Christ by genuine faith in Christ are called of God to die with him to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness. We are called to holy living, to live lives which are separate (different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. And we are called to obedience and to the forsaking of our sins.

But none of this is of our own doing. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ. And the faith to believe in Jesus is from God and it is gifted to us by God, and it is not of ourselves. And the ability to walk in righteousness and holiness and in obedience to our Lord comes from God who empowers us to do so. And the works that we are to do also come from God who created us in Christ Jesus for good works which he prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 2:1-2; John 6:44; Titus 2:11-14).

So, if God tells us to do it, then he will give us what we need to do what he says. So, we need to know what the Scriptures teach and we need to not take the word of other humans without checking out to see if what they are telling us is the truth. But we must be very careful to interpret Scriptures in their context, for many false teachings stem from Scriptures removed from their context and twisted to say what the Scriptures do not teach. Very few Scriptures stand on their own. So read them in context.

So, know the truth, accept the truth, reject the lies, and submit yourselves to God and now walk in obedience to his commands in righteousness and in holiness until the day you die or until the day he comes to take you to be with him for eternity. But please know that if you do not, but you continue in deliberate and habitual sin, then you will not inherit eternal life with God regardless of what faith you professed with your lips. So, check out these Scriptures in their context, and let the Lord lead you to the truth.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

He Lifted Our Burdens

An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

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