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12/17/15 ~ Midweek Meditation - Freedom in Grace

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

Something about the human condition pushes against grace. We see grace as an enemy, our hearts are poised against it – we hate it. The fact is that grace says something incredibly powerful about us as people; it says that we are completely unworthy of God’s love. No matter how many good deeds we do, or doors we hold, or coffees we buy, we are broken and completely unworthy of God’s affection. More than that, the Bible says we deserve his full and eternal wrath. That’s a big claim, that’s a hard pill to swallow, and that’s what we find so noxious about grace, it leaves no room for “good people.”

But a proud person refuses to admit that they are not a good person. Pride is not only blinding, it’s a bully. It compares itself with others, and pushes other’s sins out into the open while sweeping its own sins under the rug. It refuses to acknowledge its own short comings, and would rather help an old lady across the street to show how great it is, as opposed to being genuinely concerned for her wellbeing.

Now I know many of us don’t think or act like that, but we still wrestle internally with our prideful rebellion against grace. No matter how repelling grace may seem to us however; it’s actually the most invigorating and refreshing thing we can take hold of. The fact is that grace is right; we are deserving of God’s wrath, and outside of Christ we are without hope in the world. Our outward facades only mask the deeper truth that we are broken and cannot muster the strength to live a life that honors God. But God comes to the rescue through grace. God sees us in our poor, blind, pitiful, and naked condition and clothes us with His perfect deeds, and with His righteousness. He sings songs over us and welcomes us into His family as adopted children. We don’t need to do a thing. He loves us where we are. He is not disappointed in us. He loves us with an unconditional love, and he will never reject or abandon us – not because of our “good deeds” but because of His grace and His character.

Do you know what that means? That means that we are free. We are free from the obligations of pride, and trying to prove our good character through works. We are free from having to put on a mask and hide our brokenness.

And.....we are now free to live a life of good works, exalting the giver of grace. True freedom is found in the grace of God. Let’s use that freedom to extend His kingdom. Help old ladies across the street, buy coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks, give to charities in a sacrificial way. Above all, abundantly share this amazing freedom with others. Gladly and joyfully live out the ancient words of the book of Genesis: bless others out of the blessing you've received! Do it out of worship, not out of pride. We have nothing to prove, Christ proved it all on the cross. We are loved, and cherished… You are loved and cherished by God – not because of you, but because of grace.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13 ESV)

Joe Popp