Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 5, 2016
You have been severed from Christ, if you seek to be justified [that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God] through the Law; you have fallen from grace [for you have lost your grasp on God’s unmerited favor and blessing]. For we [not relying on the Law but] through the [strength and power of the Holy] Spirit, by faith, are waiting [confidently] for the hope of righteousness [the completion of our salvation]. Galatians 5:4-5, AMP
As a young Christian my sincere zeal grew into an unhealthy drive based on my discipline and motivated by my pride to be morally superior. I knew I was saved by grace through faith, but I attempted to live out my Christianity in my own strength. My heart silently judged others who didn’t meet my standards of behavior. My moralizing fed my ego and pride, while giving lip service to God’s grace. Fear based living starved my soul. My heart hungered for acceptance. Thankfully, I began to learn how to be truly loved by Jesus. Love motivates grace based living.
Paul addressed Jewish Christians who attempted to add circumcision as part of salvation in Jesus. They had fallen from their total dependence on God’s grace for their forgiveness of sin by adding a condition. Grace based living does not depend on doing deeds to fulfill a moral code, but solely on the Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit grows beautiful holiness in the heart of believers in Jesus Christ. Just as a vine gives a branch life and fruitfulness, so attractive virtues are the outcome of Spirit-filled living. We receive Christ by grace so we might follow Christ with grace!
Remain in me [Christ], as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4-5).
What does it look like for a lover of God to live by the grace of God? One perquisite for grace is humility. God gives grace to the humble, but He withholds grace from the proud. When the Lord finds a humble heart—He finds a trustworthy heart—someone on whom He can pour out His favor. We can get results in the flesh, but we flourish beyond our imagination when we enjoy the favor of the Lord. Humility is an ongoing acquisition, as it requires submission to God and resisting the devil: surrender and battle. A life of grace is ever growing as a humble being.
Grace based living produces gracious attitudes and actions. Those full of grace are fast to forgive, always thanking God and joyful to be around. Like the green rolling hills of cultivated farm land, grace creates an evergreen life cared for by Christ. The fruit of faith overcomes the thorns of fear and the lust of greed is conquered by the love of generosity. In Christ, our life is all because of grace—who we are, who we become and what we accomplish is the result of God’s Spirit working in and through us. Wisdom works hard to allow God to do His work of grace.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I submit to You in humility, resisting the devil’s temptation to become proud. May Your grace do its work in and through me.
Application: What evidence of God’s grace is there in my attitude and actions?
Related Readings: Psalm 127:1; Romans 3:24, 12:3; Colossians 1:29; Philippians 2:13
Post/Tweet this today: We receive Christ by grace so we might follow Christ with grace! #WisdomHunters #gracebasedliving
Worship Resource: 5 minute video – Gaither’s: Grace Greater Than Our Sin
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© 2016 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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