So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him. (Colossians 2:6)
Did you receive Christ when you were perfect or when you were filled with imperfections? We perhaps are all familiar with the cliché example of a raging alcoholic that stumbles into church, sobering up as he hears the alter call to come give his life to Christ. “God will accept you just as you are,” we tell people. But our experience in dealing with religious people doesn’t always echo this unconditional acceptance. As people, we don’t mind extending grace to the man in the example, but if he shows up next week with the same problems or a month from now, then that’s a different story. The flaw in this belief is that we think that God loved me more, as a sinner, then He does when I’m in Christ. It is like this; religious thinking tells us that first we have to behave, then we have to believe, and then and only then is it considered that we belong. In Christ, this order is reversed. Becoming a Christian isn’t a pledge to live a perfect life, rather it is an acknowledgment that I don’t have what it takes and an acceptance of the fact that I need a Savior. So how did you receive Christ? The answer is with full dependence upon his grace. So how do we then live in him? The answer is the same, with a full acceptance of his grace. God’s grace for you didn’t lessen when you became a believer, if anything, it increased! Today, as you live in Christ, remember that His acceptance of you has nothing to do with your performance, but rather, just the same as the day you came to Him, it’s based fully on the performance of Jesus.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. (Colossians 1:21-23a)
Have you ever felt or thought that you were God’s enemy? This passage tells us that the only place where we were God’s enemy was in our minds because of our self condemnation based upon our evil behavior. Through Christ, it says, God has made us “holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation”. It is a lie from the enemy and completely anti-Christ for us to think that God is condemning us. As Andrew Wommack says so often, “God can’t be any more mad at you than he is with Jesus.” You and I have been FULLY reconciled to God and are now holy in his sight, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of His work on the cross. So stop running away from God every time you fall short, instead, turn around and run back into His loving and gracious arms!
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. (Galatians 5:4-5)
Many of us have probably heard the term “fallen from Grace” before. In relationships, this term implies that because someone failed in some way or let you down, that they have fallen from your good graces. If you are house sitting for the neighbor and the cat dies while you’re there, chances are they might not be asking you to watch their house next time they are on vacation. Though it’s hard to fault your neighbor for their perspective, thankfully God’s view on grace is different. In this passage, Paul writes that when we try to find our justification from the law or through our works, this is when we have fallen from grace. Religion teaches us that our behavior causes us to lose favor with the Lord, but this isn’t the case. Letting God down isn’t a moral or behavior failing, but rather when we depart from His grace and return to the doctrine of performance. You see, God doesn’t have bad graces. In fact, His grace is so good that you can never fall out of his loving arms no matter what you do. Be encouraged today that you are resting fully in God’s GOOD graces.