Some People Can’t Stand God’s Grace

The gospel is the story of Jesus and what he has done for us, not what we are supposedly obligated to do for God. One is grace; the other is impossible.

This is too much for some people to handle. Grace – free and without end – scares them.

  • They want lists so they know what grace won’t cover.
  • They want limits so they know what’s on the other side of grace.
  • They want rules so they know what’s expected of them.

Grace doesn’t give them any of these things. Grace won’t beat anyone down for failing to follow a rule, check off a list, or stay within the lines. Rather, God’s grace does the opposite. It lifts you up.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. (Romans 5:1-2.)

And your eternal standing of peace with God doesn’t depend on you one bit. It’s all God.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:21.)

God’s grace has brought you peace, and it has also set you free from rule-following.

Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:23.)

An appearance of wisdom, but lacking value. Does that sound like some rules you might have imposed on yourself – or worse yet, rules you’ve allowed others to impose upon you? This is not the life Jesus offers, the life where he said:

“If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” (John 8:36.)

In speaking of this freedom and refusing ever to be bound again by rules and lists, Paul wrote:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1.)

Can you handle God’s grace? Can you handle that it is a free gift that in turn sets you free from rules and lists and being burdened by expectations you never meet?

Free means free. It’s not up to you to earn God’s grace and it’s not up to you to keep it.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God … . (Ephesians 2:8.)

It’s all God, and it’s all yours.

Grace, peace, faith – this is how much God loves you.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-30.)

Handle it, because he has you in his hands forever.

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16 Responses to Some People Can’t Stand God’s Grace

  1. Jim Bruner says:

    Thank you, Tim. The many messages you’ve written on grace since I’ve been following you have solidified my thinking about this. It is so easy to slide off of grace.

    • Tim says:

      It’s amazingly easy to slide off it, Jim. I’m glad his grace is sufficient to cover even those times I try to live without it.

      • Grace is the single-most important concept in the Bible. It’s also one of the hardest things to understand and accept. We DO “slide off it”!! Only when we re-set our focus on Christ and His completeness can we keep ourselves on track.Thank you so much for this wonderful post!

  2. I really appreciate this clarity. I see people who talk about grace but don’t seem to understand it because their lives consist of lists and rules and “trying to please God.” Everything that needs to be done for our salvation (justification and sactification) is done, and our part now is faith, because God is pleased with His children through His Son. Works flow out of that, to be sure, and God is pleased with those works, but they aren’t what we need to do to get in His good graces. I wrote more about that here: http://www.heresthejoy.com/2013/04/what-about-church-attendance/

    • Tim says:

      Rebecca, that post is excellent, thanks for the link. And i love your comment here too; we can work for God because of his grace, not in order to achieve it or – as some extremists put it – to create the environment for it to exist

  3. Pingback: Some People Can’t Stand God’s Grace — Tim’s Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another | Talmidimblogging

  4. Pastor Bob says:

    You just know this will come up:
    “Shall we continue in sin that grace may increase?” — Romans 6:1

    One response, There is no end to God’s mercy and grace. Man does have a limit.
    Grace is giving what you do not deserve/
    Mercy is not giving you what you deserve (with holding negative)

    Heaven and good awaits His children – but while we have our feet on planet Earth, He does allow some things to happen we may never understand.

    • Tim says:

      That verse is part of a broad discussion of our lives in Christ. This post is about the more focused point of what constitutes the gospel itself, the story of what Jesus has done to allow us to even have that life in him in the first place.

  5. jjanosz says:

    Loved this simple and very scriptural reminder that’s it definitely (and thank goodness) not “all about us.” We do that a lot. And, I think many of our hand-wringing and arguments center around those self imposed rules. Thank you! I loved this.

  6. Tim, I always enjoy your words on this subject. We need to be reminded that it really is all about what Jesus has done, not what we can do if we try hard enough.

    • Tim says:

      The person who lives the Christian life is Christ in me. And I am grateful for the Holy Spirit’s presence enabling me to live in Christ.

  7. I’ll be completely honest. I too, had (and continue to have) problems with accepting God’s grace. The church environments I was raised in almost never mentioned or preached the wonders of grace. It was about status, behavior, deeds and knowing your place. After so many years of hearing about how important my submissiveness as a woman and my unquestioning obedience to my parents as a child was, I thought that one small step out of line meant eternal hell and damnation for me.

    When I was young, I would lie awake a night, scared that the rapture would happen and that I would be left behind. I was convinced that God wanted nothing to do with me either because of my behavior or due to things that were beyond my control (for example, gender, social status etc.) Having only heard of grace recently, I still find myself reluctant to really accept that grace is a gift that comes with no strings attached and no previous requirements.

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