Larry Roques

Larry Roques

The Pastor's Journal of House of Joy Church

Wrapping your head around Grace

   Wrapping your head around grace

                                       October 19, 2014

 

 

 

Peter 1:13-16 NKJV

 

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

 

The subject of the grace of God is one that is dragged down many a blind trail. It has become the buzzword for entire movements in Christianity when in fact, the Father only intended it to do one thing...save us....set us free.

Scripture tells us that the law is death. Grace is the basis for our salvation, but that we are not to use this precious gift for an opportunity to sin, but to live freely under the shadow of God’s complete and full love. Paul tells us to gird up the loins of our mind. In biblical times, if one was going to go from walking to running, they would take up their cloak and wrap it around their waist that they might not trip over their garments. This is what Paul instructs us to do. To wrap our heads around the ultimate gift...the gift of unmerited favor...the gift of grace.

 

 

 

 

Live in a state of preparation for His grace

 

John 1:14-17 NKJV

 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ” And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

 

John 1:14-17 MSG

 

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. John pointed him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.” We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift. We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, This endless knowing and understanding— all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.

 

Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Our whole world changed with the ultimate price of Jesus’ sacrifice. His wonderful gift to us was the reward of an open heaven that came with an endless list of benefits...and NO condemnation.

 

Walking in Jesus’ love was never intended to be a “get out of jail free card” for our continuance in fleshly behavior, but was to be an admission into another dimension that was previously not given to us. This new dimension placed us in heavenly places to start with and does not have any place for guilt or shame. Instead it seats us with holy royalty and gifts us with a new life. Who would even want to go back to that old mess we called a life?

 

Living like we are under grace takes all of the pressure off.  It does not remand us to another prison of religious ritual, but it sets us free to live a life under heavenly government.  Living under the expectation of grace is not looking for opportunity to sin, but instead, seeking the Father and enjoying his lavish accommodations.

 

 

 

 

 

Returning to the old life is an act of reconfiguring

 

 II Corinthians 5:16-19 NKJV

 

 

Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

                    

 

The continuance of sin in the new life is limited to two main funnels of occurrence. One, it is either a false conversion, whereby one simply attaches himself to a religious mindset without the experience of knowing the forgiveness and love of the Father through the price paid at the cross. Or two, bondage, which is the more common characteristic found in humanity.  Bondage is not elective sin, but the fine combination of old habit and addiction that roots itself to guilt and shame in our lives. Couple that with the dynamic of not understanding the enormity of the gift given to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection and you have the recipe for bondage.

The Bible tells us that for the purpose of FREEDOM, Christ has set us free. (Galatians 5:1)  The yoke of bondage and slavery is not intended for us within the borders of grace, but that does not mean it will not try to come and establish a false throne inside our lives.

The way to offset this false government is to be ever mindful of in what neighborhood we now reside. Keep in mind and receive into your spirit that those other behaviors, though covered by the blood of the Lamb are from the old life and that the revisiting of such things is actually a “reconfiguring” of where you are now. Don’t let anything come in and “change the settings” of What God has done for you.

 

 

 

Our holiness does not hinge upon a challenge but rests upon an acceptance of grace.

 

Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

Living holy is really no big deal. God paid all of the prices...he set all of the conditions...all he requires for us to do is walk a path he has already illuminated for us with His love. If I see you walking down a long hot road, and I am passing by in my air conditioned car and I see you. I pull over and say, “hey! I am headed your way! Need a ride?” You probably would not argue, you would not balk or complain, you would most likely say...”that’s Larry...I know him....He’s safe...Sure!”  I would not ask you to prove to me that you deserve a ride in my car...I would not ask you for gas money or to do a tap dance before I let you in. I would say...hop in...snap on your seat belt and get ready for  a nice cool, easy ride to your destination. Living Holy is kind of that way. You are not Holy because it is a task...you are holy because your vehicle is holy.  You are not riding in the car because I built the car...the car is carrying us both in comfort...we’re just riding.

 

God is the ultimate good. He is everything we are not on our own. We do not even possess our own goodness...our righteousness is as filthy rags. But once we attach ourselves to His goodness, we assimilate what he is through our relationship with Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. We simply are along for the ride...and all we need do is buckle up and enjoy the ride. Sin requires getting out of the car and walking. ...and who wants to do that? God has designed for us a better way...a new and living way....it’s called grace...and its something we can all wrap our heads around.

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