Unamazing Grace

Ephesians 2:4-9:
But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (it is only by God's grace that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness towards us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by His grace when you believed. It is not by your own works, it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast.

You may be a little shocked after reading the title to this blog. Let me explain what I mean. When someone decides to come to the Lord and get saved by confessing Jesus as their Lord and Savior and asking Him to live in their heart, we rejoice. Everyone is really happy for them. They usually meet with the preacher after the sermon and are given a Bible and an explanation of what being a Christian is about. All the church members usually congratulate them and tell them how happy they are for them. It's a great, comforting, love filled time for the new convert. Then a couple of Sundays go by, they start hanging out with other Christians and they begin to be given a list of "do's and don'ts" to Christianity. "You can't say this, you can't dress that way, you can't go there, you have to do this, you have do that, you can't talk that way, you can't act this way", the list can go on forever. We tend to turn what is supposed to be a life of joy and peace into a humongous, unbearable, hard to conform burden! It's something that can really turn a new convert off from Christianity. They are getting all this pressure about how to be a "good" Christian. It can get pretty overwhelming.

Why do we, as Christians, do this to people? We are putting people under the yoke of the law which is contradictory to the exact reason that Jesus came, to strip the burden of the law and redeem sins! It's as if the nice, kind and caring church folks that we knew before we were saved have turned into Pharisees. They are invoking all these rules that have to be followed. That's not what grace is about, in fact, that's not what Jesus is about. It is by grace that we have been saved, not by our own works. Why do we tell people that they have to do certain things in order to be and remain saved??? Jesus said, "come to me all that are burdened and heavy laden, for my burden is lite and my yolk is easy." If His yoke is easy, why are we making it hard?

We all love the song "Amazing Grace". Most of us sing it in church almost every Sunday. There have been several renditions made because it is a very popular song. It's popular because it speaks about how we were saved by God's grace. He saved a wretch like me!! If God was gracious enough to 1. send His only son, 2. take us out from under the burden of the law, 3. allow us to enter His peace, then why are we inventing rules that God doesn't speak about? That's just it, they are not God's rules, they are man's opinion about what a Christian should and should not do. I've heard several Christians in my life say "it's a hard ole way". What? Are you kidding me? Living for Jesus, being able to go to Him in prayer, being able to have a relationship with a just and sovereign God that loves us more than His own life, having an advocate at the right hand of the God of the universe, being allowed to receive peace that is unsurpassed, what's so hard about that?

Sometimes we need to take a step back and think about what we are saying and what we are doing. We cannot will ourselves into Heaven, We cannot work ourselves into Heaven. It does not matter how good you are, how much money you donate, how many children you have given to, if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who came that we shall have life and have it more abundantly, then you will not see light. Do any of those words sound familiar? They are the words that Jesus used. It is by God's grace that we have been saved and through God's grace and His forgiveness of sins that we remain saved and have a seat at the table in the house of the Lord. I hope that after reading this you will do one of two things, either stop thinking that you have to be perfect and follow all of these "rules", or you will stop inflicting others with your "rules". Paul mentioned in one of his letters that if a man knows to do good and he does not do it, to him it is sin. He also mentions in one of his letters that if we should cause our brother to sin because of what we do or what we believe, it may not be a sin for us, but may be a sin for our brother. His point was that if you truly have Jesus in your heart, He will convict you of what is right and what is wrong for you. When we try to tell others what is right and what is wrong, we are putting ourselves on the judgment seat of Jesus Christ and whatever judgment we give to others, that same judgment will be returned to us more fiercely than we have judged. Please, don't bind yourselves to the law, don't judge what others do, let's keep grace amazing!!! God bless you! Amen.


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