Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
We live in an age of grace. Everywhere we turn, we hear messages about God’s grace. And this is good. But what concerns me is the imbalance I see in the message.
It is true that God gives us grace and that we come to Him and live in Him only by His grace. At the same time, His grace is not a license to sin. And, unfortunately, I am seeing this false interpretation being promulgated more and more in the Body of Christ and even outside the Body of Christ.
For example, I hear comments like, “God is good, and because He is good, He won’t send anyone to Hell.” Or, among believers, I hear comments like this one: “If we love each other, it’s all right to live together. Our love is what matters.” Or, “As long as I repent before I die, I can live however I please.”
What about what God said? Does that matter?
Indeed, it does! And it matters enough to affect the eternal consequences of our lives.
Let’s make no mistake about it: God is a God of Justice as well as a God of Mercy and Grace.
When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, we tap into the mercy side of God. We receive His grace and are forgiven of our sins. But it doesn’t stop there. We must then obey His commandment of love by the power of that same grace that got us saved in the first place. In other words, we must live above sin and pursue holiness.
Contrary to what many Christians think, the New Testament lists several don’t’s for the follower of Jesus. Here are just a few:
—Matthew 6: 1 – “Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.”
—I John 3: 18 – “Do not love in word only.”
—James 2: 11 – “Do not commit adultery.”
—I Peter 1: 14 – “Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires.”
These “don’t’s” are not suggestions; they are commandments. A commandment implies that we must obey it or else suffer God’s judgment.
The next time you are tempted to over-emphasize grace, remember that grace does not mean a license to sin. Grace empowers us to overcome sin.
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