Some of my favorite Bible verses are the ones that speak to Gods grace for me. (I will share those at the end of this post.) I spent a lot of years not understanding the freedom that comes with accepting that grace. I see a lot of people give lip service to it, but sadly, few actually walk in it. That used to be me. I try not to get all preachy here on this blog, but I am troubled right now for some who are carrying burdens they don’t need to be lugging around.
There are grace resisters out there. People who feel somehow closer to God in carrying around the weight of sin. Suffering saints, I call them. There are those who fear walking in the freedom of God’s grace because they see it as a free license to sin. It is actually nothing of the kind.
Either you believe Jesus paid it ALL or you don’t. For those who do, they understand the freedom that comes from walking in grace. Up on that cross, Jesus paid the price of sin for all time. That means the sin I committed fifteen years ago, week before last, thirty minutes ago, as well as the sin I’ll commit a week from next Tuesday. It’s covered, paid for. My account is settled. My balance has been reconciled.
I am not free to sin, I am free FROM sin.
See that important difference?
I want to speak to the Suffering Saints out there because I am troubled by the thought of all you carry around each day. I so want you to experience the freedom I have found. Forgiveness of sin is a pretty universal doctrine regardless of your particular flavor of Christianity. Far and wide, Christ followers believe that confession and repentance from sin is rewarded by forgiveness of that sin. Yet so many feel that God is still punishing them for that confessed and repented from sin. This just doesn’t compute. Either Jesus paid it all, or He didn’t. Make up your mind.
If He paid it all, then for your sake, walk in that freedom. If He didn’t we are all in up to our eyeballs. So which sins did He cover? Which ones did He not? And how do we know which ones we still have to carry around? Well, apparently we decide. We choose which sin to carry, and then those are the ones we expect God to punish us for.
Again, this just doesn’t compute. God gave his most precious possession to pay the price for our sin when he sent Jesus to that cross. He loved us that much. How does it stand to reason that He would then turn around and zap us when we mess up? “But God is a just God and sin must be paid for.” Yes. That’s right. That’s what Jesus did.
Some of us confuse consequences for punishment. God doesn’t punish us for sin anymore. Jesus took on our punishment. God does however allow us to suffer consequences of our sin if it will serve us better for that to happen. But I have also been witness in my own life to times when He has –in His grace- lifted due consequences from me.
My son failed to wear his retainer after his braces came off his teeth. Now, a year later, he is forced to wear this retainer that no longer feels good. Now he has to wear it day and night until his teeth are able to straighten back up. He is not being punished, although he feels he is, he is suffering the consequences of failing to do what was right. I could tell him to just forget it, but as much as I hate to see him suffer, I know it is for his good.
How painful must it be for God to sit in heaven and look upon his children who refuse to walk in the grace He provided through His Son. The sacrifice was huge. Unspeakable.
I remember when my daughter was small. During those years I worked two night shifts every weekend so that I could be a stay-at-home mom for my kids during the week. I didn’t work night shift because I liked staying up all night. The opposite was true. But because of that decision I was able to pick my kids up from school every day, and I was available for my children.
I will never forget the day my daughter got into the van after school and told me how much she wished she could go to after-school care like her friend, Jessica. Laura had no idea the sacrifice I was making on her behalf so that she would not have to go to after-school care. I was completely disappointed. Laura could not fully understand what I had done for her. She completely took for granted the fact that I was there for her every day. I didn’t work nights for me; I did it for my children.
God made a huge sacrifice for us. How sad he must be when we don’t fully appreciate it and walk in the freedom it provides. When we confess sin, repent of it, God chooses to remember it no more. The Bible says He casts our sin as far as the east is from the west and remembers it no more. We may bring it up to Him again, but He has no idea what we are talking about. If He can’t remember it, why do we burden ourselves by carrying it around every day?
Walking in the freedom grace offers us is not a denominational thing. It’s a Bible thing. I’m going to leave you with some of the verses that make my heart sing of His grace. I hope they leave you singing as well, and I hope you find a new way of walking.
2 Corinthians 12:9 -But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Ephesians 2:4-10 -But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Titus 2:11-13 -For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…
Ephesians 1:7 -In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Ephesians 2:8-9 -For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Hebrews 8:12 -For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
Psalm 10:12 -As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.