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16 LIVING UNDER GRACE (part 16)

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LIVING UNDER GRACE

Grace:  The Truth that Transforms  -  Part 16 of 36

Romans 6:14

Rick Warren

In our last study we looked at the first part of this verse and what it meant to live "under the Law".  Now we look at the meaning of "living under grace".

I.  THE MEANING OF "GRACE"

DEFINITIONS:

Characteristics of Grace

1. _____________________________________________ Psalm 145:8

2. _____________________________________________ John 1:17, Romans 5:15

3. _____________________________________________ 2 Tim. 1:9

4. _____________________________________________ Rom. 3:34, Eph. 3:7, Titus 3:5,

       Rom. 11:6           

5. _____________________________________________

                      *  (Heb. 12:15)

                      *  (James 4:6)

                      *  (Gal. 5:4, 2:21)

6. _____________________________________________  Romans 5:17, 20; Eph. 3:17-18

II.  THE BENEFITS OF GRACE

               * Eph. 2:4-9: ______________________________

               * Gal. 3, 2, 14 ______________________________

               * Gal. 3:5 ______________________________

               * 2 Peter 3:18, 1 Cor. 15:10 __________________________

               * Titus 2:11-12, Phil. 2:13 __________________________

                      Romans 6:14, 1 Cor. 10:13

               * 2 Cor. 12:7-10 ______________________________

                      Hebrews 4:15-16, 2 Tim. 2:1

      

               * Eph. 3:7, 1 Cor. 12:4-6, 11 _______________________

               * Jude v. 24, Phil. 1:6, John 10:27-29 _______________

III. MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GRACE

       1. _____________________________________________

                      Col. 2:6, Gal. 3:1-3, Romans 11:6

       2. _____________________________________________

                      Romans 6:15-23

       3. _____________________________________________

                      Galatians 6:7


LIVING UNDER GRACE

Grace:  The Truth that Transforms  -  Part 16 of 36

Romans 6:14

Rick Warren

"For sin shall not be your master because you are not under the Law but under grace."  Last week we looked at the Law -- what it means to live under the Law, why the Law was given, and why we're no longer under the Law.  Tonight we want to look at that last phrase that says "You are not under the Law but under grace." We're going to do a survey on what grace is all about.  Grace is one of the most important words in the Bible and the most important word for your Christian live.  It's the secret of Christian living. 

What does it mean to live by grace?

What are the benefits of grace?

What are the misunderstandings?

This is very important because as we get into Romans 7, 8 we need to understand exactly what the concept of grace is all about.  The Bible says "You are not under the Law but under grace."

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF GRACE? 

Definitions.  There is no single definition that describes it. 

       Grace is God giving us what we need not what we deserve.

       Grace is when someone does something for you that you could never deserve or earn or repay.

       Grace is all that God does for us on the basis of the cross. G-R-A-C-E -- God's Riches At Christ's Expense.  What Jesus Christ did on the cross, already pay for it all, God does for us by Grace.

       Grace is the power from God that gives us both the desire and the ability to do His will. 

Review of how the word has been used up to this point.  Paul has already used the word grace eleven times in the first six chapters.  He will use it another nine times in the remaining part of the book.

       Romans 1:5 "We receive grace and apostleship."

       1:7 "Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ."

       3:34 "We are justified freely by His grace."

       4:16 "The promise comes by faith so that it may be of grace."

       5:2 "Through Him we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."

       5:17 "God's abundant provision of grace."

       5:20 "The law was added so that trespass might increase but where sin increased grace increased all the more."

       5:21 "So that just as sin reigned in death, grace might reign through righteousness."

       6 "What shall we say then?  Shall we go on sinning that grace may abound?  By no means."

       6:14 "For you are not under the Law but under grace."

What is grace?

1.  It is an attribute of God.  God is gracious.  Psalm 145:8 "The Lord is gracious."  When God talks about His grace, He's giving Himself.  He just doesn't give you "something"; the gift is Himself.  We can say God is Love, we can say God is Grace.  It's actually a part of Christ Himself. 

2.  It comes through Jesus Christ.  Grace comes through a person.  It's personal.  John 1:17 "For the Law was given by Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."  Moses gave the Law and Jesus Christ gave grace.  Romans 5:15 "The gift came by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ."

3.  It's eternal.  God has always acted in grace.  2 Timothy 1:9 "Who has saved us and called us to a Holy life, not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.  And this grace was given us in Jesus Christ before the beginning of time."  A lot of people think that God acted one way in the Old Testament and another way in the New Testament.  The Old Testament is Law and the New Testament is grace.  But God has always acted in grace toward people.  Genesis 9 says "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."  Abraham was chosen by grace. God has always acted by grace.  Always.  From the beginning of time.  Grace is eternal. 

4.  It's free.  It's unconditional.  It's a gift.  You don't earn it.  You don't work for it.  Romans 3:24 "We are justified freely by His grace."  Remember justified means just as if I'd never sinned.  That is great news!  God makes me just as if I'd never sinned.  Because I deserve it?  No.  Because I earn it? No.  But because of grace.  It is free.  It is a free gift. Titus 3:5 "It's not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He has saved us." 

5.  It can be resisted.  Grace can be resisted.  You can resist it in your life.  How?  There are three things that will limit and hinder the grace of God in your life:

       1) Hebrew 12:15 says that one of the things that limits God's grace in our life is bitterness.  When you get resentful, when you allow bitterness to build up in your life towards another person, that hinders the grace of God in your life.  "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."  Bitterness hinders the grace of God in your life.  God warns against it over and over saying, Don't become resentful! 

       2) Pride hinders the grace of God in your life.  James 4:6 "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." When you or I get full of pride and think "I can do this on my own.  I don't need God.  I can make it by myself.  I have plenty energy, plenty of time, plenty of ability" then God's grace is frustrated in our lives -- the power and the ability to do God's will.

       3) Relying on our own works frustrates the grace of God.  This is what the book of Galatians is all about.  They had started by walking in the Spirit and then they continued by trying to earn God's pleasure by their good works. 

6.  It is limitless.  God's grace is limitless.  If you tried to measure the grace of God you'd face an impossible task. Romans 5:20 "The Law was added so that trespass might increase but where sin increased grace all the more increased." Literally, in the Greek, it says "Where sin increased, God's grace super increased."  You cannot out-sin the grace of God. Have you ever heard anybody say, "That guy is hopeless!"  But Romans 5:20 says nobody is hopeless.  Where sin increased, God's grace super increases.  You cannot out-sin God's grace.  It is limitless. 

THE BENEFITS OF GRACE

Why is grace such a big deal?  Eight benefits of God's grace in your life:

 

1.  We're saved by grace.  Romans 4-5.  Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast."  We're not saved by our own effort.  We're saved by grace.  But the big problem is that many Christians think they are saved by grace and then they live the Christian life by works.  It's like they enter the family of God one way and then they continue another way.  They get into all kinds of problems. Colossians 2:6 "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him."  The way you became a Christian is the way you continue in the Christian life.  How were you saved?  By grace.  How do you continue the Christian life?  By grace, through faith.

2.  We are filled with God's Spirit by grace.  Galatians 3:2 Paul's talking, "I'd like to learn just one thing from you.  Did you receive the Spirit by observing the Law or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish after beginning with the Spirit are you now trying to obtain your goal by human effort."  v. 14 "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."  God gives you His Spirit not because you earn it or you deserve it or you've worked out some pattern or formula.  He gives you His Spirit.  By grace. He saves us by grace.  He puts His spirit in our lives by grace.

3.  Every miracle is by grace.  Galatians 3:5 "Does God give you the Spirit to work miracles among you because you observe the Law? or because you believe what you've heard?"  Every miracle that happens, happens because of grace.  Why do you think God answers your prayers?  Because you deserve it?  No.  He answers our prayers because of His grace.  Because He wants to.  He loves us.  God works answers in our lives, His miracles, just because He loves us. 

4.  All personal growth comes by grace.  2 Peter 3:18 "Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  The more you rely on God's grace, the more you're going to grow.  1 Cor. 15:10 Paul's speaking here.  He's giving a testimony.  "But by the grace of God, I am what I am.  And His grace to me was not without affect.  No, I worked harder than all of them, yet not I but the grace of God that was with me."  Paul's talking about his own growth.  Was there a change in Paul's character?  Was there! From persecutor to apostle!  I'm sure people -- early Christians -- looked at Paul and said, "That guy's hopeless!  He's killing us.  He's fighting us."  I'm sure some people today say "Madeline Murray O'Hare is hopeless."  She's not!  God's grace can reach even the person who's persecuting the church.  Paul says, "I grew not because I worked real hard and pulled myself up by my own bootstraps and forced myself to change to be a nice guy!"  The change in his life was made by grace.  That's where the growth comes from.  "By the grace of God, I am what I am." 

I think every Christian ought to be able to say three things:

       1)  By the grace of God I'm not what I used to be.

       2)  And just as legitimately you should be able to say, "By the grace of God I am what I am."  That's not a matter of pride or ego. You ought to be proud of what God is doing in your life.  Not a self-righteousness pride:  "Look what a great Pharisee I am!"  But are you grateful for what God is doing in your life?  I am!  When God uses me I thank Him! 

       3)  By the grace of God I'm not what I'm going to be. God is not through with you.  God is in the disciple making business and He is producing character in your life.  Romans 5 tells us He even uses suffering and trials to build character in your life. 

All of that happens by grace.  Why is it that some people grow through trials and some people don't?  Why is it that some people get better and some people get bitter?  Why is it for some people a stumbling block and for others a stepping stone?  It's whether they're using God's grace in their life.  Trials do not automatically mature you.  I know a lot of people who have gone through a lot of trials and they're still spiritual midgets! They don't rely on the grace of God. 

The Benefits of God's grace:  We're saved by God's grace.  We're filled by God's grace.  God answers our prayers by His grace.  He does miracles by grace.  All of the growth in our life is by grace.

5.  We overcome sin and temptation by grace.  Grace is one of the most misunderstood terms.  A lot of heresies result from people not understanding grace.  They go to one of two extremes: you can either become legalists or become license.  Some people take legalism with all their do's and don't and think if they keep these God will like them.  God likes you just as much on your bad days as He does on your good days.  His love is unconditional.  Other people take this to an extreme:  license. If God loves me by grace, I'll live it up!  Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that now brings salvation has now appeared unto all men..."  God gives his grace to unbelievers.  That's the only way they become Christians is by His grace.  "...It teaches us to say `no' to ungodliness and worldly passions and live self‑ controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."  That doesn't sound like the grace I hear some people say.  Some people say grace means do your own thing and God will forgive you.  "I know that I shouldn't run out on my wife and marry this other lady but I'm going to do it anyway because I know God will forgive me!"  That's what is called license!  What kind of fool do you think God is?  God sees through that.  The grace of God teaches us to say "No". 

When we get into Romans 7 we're going to find a common predicament.  Paul says that all the things I want to do I end up not doing and all the things I don't want to do I end up doing. The grace of God teaches us how to say no.  And it gives us the power to say no.  That's what Romans 6 is all about. 

Romans 6:15 "What then?  Shall we sin because we're not under the Law but under grace.  By no means!"  God has given us this power -- grace -- to overcome bad habits, temptation, to overcome those areas we habitually fall in and blow it and make mistakes. You need God's grace to change.  The only way you can change is by God's grace.  The Bible is saying that God gives us the power. Philippians 2:13 "For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."  God tells you what to do then He gives you the desire to do it and then He gives you the power to fulfill the desire.  That's grace. 

Paul is saying in chapter 6, you don't have to sin any more.  You hear people say, "The devil made me do it!"  No, the devil doesn't make many people do anything.  I don't think the devil has to worry about most of us, we're so caught up in our own flesh!  It's kind of a front to think that the devil works on you.  I've never considered myself enough of a spiritual giant that the devil would come and tempt me.  He's just put some private demon on me.  The devil works on Billy Grahams and people like that. 

Romans 6 says you can never say, "But I couldn't help myself, " if you're a Christian because the Bible says God gives you the grace which is the power to do what's right.

6.  We can handle any trial by God's grace.  2 Cor. 12:7 Paul's giving his testimony.  He's had these visions and in order to keep him from getting full of pride, God put a thorn in the flesh in his life.  "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassing great revelations there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away but He said, `My grace is sufficient'."  God's grace is sufficient whatever you're going through.  A financial problem, a marriage problem, a health problem -- God's grace is sufficient!  Absolutely no circumstance can devastate your life if you're relying on the grace of God. Hebrews 4:15 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses but we have one tempted in every way just as we are yet without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  2 Timothy 2:1 "Be strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ."  He will give you the grace to handle the problems that come into your life.  He'll never put more on you than He puts in you to bear it up. 

Now, sometimes we put more on ourselves!  You can get out of the will of God and put more on you than you can handle.  But God never allows more on you than He puts in you to bear it up.

7.  God uses you by grace.  Ephesians 3 Paul says everything I've got, God's given me by grace.  1 Corinthians even says our spiritual gifts are given by grace and He chooses who's going to get what.  God gives us these abilities to serve Him all by grace.            

8.  God keeps us saved by grace.  Jude 24.  [I heard about a preacher at the beginning of his message say, "Today I'm going to preach out of Jude chapter 2.  How many of you have read that?" Several in the congregation raised their hand.  He said, "That's right!  I'm going to preach on lying today."  There is only 1 chapter in Jude.] "To Him who is able to keep you from falling, to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy."  God is able to keep you from falling and present you faultless in Heaven.  If you've committed your life to Christ He'll make sure you get to Heaven.  Who does the keeping?  You?  No, God does the keeping.  Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing.  He who began this work in you will preform it and bring it to the day of completion in the day of Jesus Christ."  God keeps us saved by grace.  What God starts, He finishes.  He doesn't get us out on a limb and saw the limb off. John 10 Jesus said, My sheep here my voice.  They are in My hand and no man can pluck them out -- not even the devil.  Some people say, The devil can't pluck you out of God's hand but you can jump out.  But how big is God's hand?  Is it so big you can get to the edge and fall off?  How long is eternal life?  Forever!  When does eternal life begin?  It begins the moment you become a believer.  Jesus gave us eternal life.  You're already in eternal life.  It's already started.  Death is just going to be a transfer into the next kingdom.  It's eternal! 

It's very important that you understand that you live by grace. If you were saved by works then obviously you could loose your salvation because if you stopped working you'd loose your salvation.  If you're saved by works, then obviously you could be lost by works.  If I'm saved by grace then I have to be unsaved by ungrace.  If you're born into a family, how do you be unborn. There is a difference between relationship and fellowship.  My children were born into my family.  They may disobey me and I may be mad at them and discipline them.  The harmony may be broken, the fellowship may be strained.  But they will always be my child, no matter what.  Because they were born into my family. Once you're born into the family of God, you're born!  You cannot be unborn. 

But does this give you a license to go out and do whatever you want?  This is what Romans 6 is all about!  Because we've got grace and we know we cannot loose our salvation do we go out and live it up, now?  No!  Of course not!  The problem with people who think they're saved by works is, How big a sin do you have to commit to loose your salvation?  A tiny one?  All sin is sin isn't it?  The Bible says that when you're saved your name is written in the book of life in Heaven.  If you could loose your salvation Gabriel must have an awfully big eraser -- just for me! Back and forth!  Some of you he'd wear out an awfully lot of erasers!

In Romans 8 you're going to see that the Bible says that God has given us the spirit of adoption.  He says it again in Ephesians. It's God's grace that adopts you into the Spirit of God.  In Jewish culture a Jew could legally disown his own son but he could never disown an adopted child in Jewish law.  God says in Timothy that even though we're faithless He cannot deny Himself. God keeps us saved by His grace.  Fortunately I didn't have to earn my salvation.  I put my trust in Christ.  Fortunately I don't have to keep it.  If I had to keep it, I'd be in a lot of trouble.  Don't you figure that if it was any sin that could cause you to loose your salvation, don't you think it would be adultery?  Yet, David committed adultery.  And in Psalm 51:12 he didn't pray for his salvation back; he prayed, restore the joy of Thy salvation.  It's not my salvation; it's His. 

What happens when a Christian sins?  God stops using you.  Your prayers are hindered.  God puts you under divine discipline.  You loose the joy of your salvation.  It's serious.  But you don't loose the relationship.  One of the things that happens is that you're miserable here on earth.  The most miserable people in the world are not non-Christians.  They are believers who are living outside of the will of God because they know better.  They are the most miserable people in the world.  God keeps us saved by His grace.

A problem verse -- Hebrew 6.  Some people think this verse means you could loose your salvation.  Not if it's by grace.  "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened who have tasted of the heavenly gift who have shared in the Holy Spirit who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age [This is talking about somebody who has been saved!] if they fall away [circle "if" -- this is a conditional clause] to be brought back to repentance because to their loss they are crucifying the son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace."  The writer of Hebrews is not saying you can loose your salvation.  He's saying if you could lose your salvation -- if it were possible -- then you could never be saved again.  He says it would be impossible.  It would be impossible because Jesus Christ would have to come back again and die again because the cross had not paid for the sins that got you lost again.  If you could lose your salvation you could never get it back because Christ would have to come back to earth and die again. 

Hebrews 7:24-25, what Jesus Christ is doing for you right now. "Because Jesus lives forever He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely -- forever those who come to God through Him because He always lives to interceded for them."  God is able to keep you saved because He is continually praying for you.  Because He always lives to intercede for us. Christ, right now in Heaven, is praying for believers.  He always lives to intercede for them.  That's the duty of a priest, to intercede for the people.  Jesus is the High Priest and in heaven He is interceding.  For you to loose your salvation, Jesus would have to stop praying for you.  For you to loose your salvation it would mean that Jesus' prayer was not answered.  How can He not answer His own prayer? 

That is grace!  God saves us by grace, He fills us with His Spirit by grace, He answers our prayers by grace, He works in our lives by grace, He uses us by grace, He gives us spiritual gifts by grace, He helps us through trials by grace, He gives us strength over our weakness by grace, He helps us overcome sin by grace, He saves us completely and keeps us saved by grace. That's good news!

The problem that the Galatians had was the idea that you start the Christian life saved by grace and then you continue on it by working real hard to please God -- quiet time, witnessing, going to church, tithing... They thought you become a Christian by grace and then you continue by works.  That is a common misconception.

THREE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GRACE:

1.  Good works do not make God love me more.  You can read your Bible 3 or 4 hours a day, pray... God won't love you any more than He loves you right now.  Good works do not make God love you any more.  Because His love is unconditional!  

Something that changed my quiet time.  You know why we have problems being consistent in a quiet time?  Because it becomes a duty.  Anything that becomes a duty in your life you tend to react against and then Satan gives you all kinds of ideas for not doing it.  For a long time in my life -- for years -- I had a quiet time because I thought God would love me more.  I thought God would think me more spiritual.  I broke my health physically when I was a junior in college because I so badly wanted to please God that I got up and my motive was simply I wanted to impress God.  For a year I got up every morning and I prayed from 5 to 6 and I never missed a day.  I disciplined myself by simple will power and forced myself to get up and pray, even when I had the flu or stayed up late the night before.  I thought that was going to make God love me more.  One of the most profound statements I've ever heard was made by that great theologian, Kay Warren.  She very frequently comes up with a lot of one liners which I steal and use on Sunday morning.  She said, "We do not read the Bible to change God's opinion of us.  But we read the Bible to change our opinion of God."  To realize how much He loves us, how much He cares for us, how much He wants to do in our lives.  We don't read the Bible for brownie points.  You read the Bible, pray, worship God so that you change your opinion of God and understand what He's like. 

Galatians 3.  Paul went and started a church in Galatia.  He taught them to live by grace.  He left and some people came in called Judaizers.  They taught believing in Christ, plus keeping the Jewish law makes you a Christian.  Paul, being a very tactful person, in v. 3 says "You fools!  You foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?"  Who pulled the wool over your eyes?  Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.  This is not a treatise like Romans is.  Paul was mad when he wrote Galatians.  "I'd like to learn just one thing from you.  Did you receive the Spirit by observing the Law or by believing what you heard.  Are you so foolish?  After beginning with the Spirit are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?  Have you suffered so much for nothing if it really was for nothing?  Does God give you the Spirit and work miracles because you observe the Law or because you believe what you heard?"  He goes on and on. v. 11 "Clearly no one is justified by the law because the righteous will live by faith."  It's all by grace.

Romans 11:6 "And if by grace then it is no longer by works.  If it were grace would no longer be grace."  Grace and works don't match.  It's like oil and water -- you can't mix them.  It's either you live by grace or you live by works.

We looked last session about how to live under the Law and live by works.  That's a frustrating way to live.  It's either/or.  If it's by grace then it's no longer works because if it were grace would no longer be grace. 

2.  A second misconception is that grace gives me a license to do whatever it is I want to do.  That's why Paul wrote Romans 6. Starting in v. 15 "What then?  Shall we sin because we're not under the law?  By no means.  Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves you are slave to the one whom you obey?  Whether you are slaves to sin which leads to death or obedience which leads to righteousness."  Like Bob Dillan says, "You're going to have to serve somebody."  It may be the devil, it may be the Lord, but you're going to have to serve somebody.  You will be mastered by something in life.  Either by sin or by the Lord.  Jesus said in John 6 "Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin but you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."  You don't have to sin any more so don't be a slave to sin.  "Thanks be to God that though you used to be slaves to sin you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were intrusted.  You have been set free from sin and become slaves to righteousness.  I put this in human terms because you're weak in your natural selves.  Just as you used to offer the parts of your body to slavery, to impurity and ever increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness."  When you were slaves to sin you were free from the control of righteousness.  What did you reap?  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you're now ashamed of?  Look at your former life.  Was it worth it?  No way.  Those things result in death.  But now you've been set free from sin and become slaves to God.  The benefit you reap leads to holiness and the result is eternal life.  That's the payoff.  "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Don't use grace as a license.  You don't have to sin anymore. Our goal is to be perfect, but you're still going to sin.  John says, "Any man who says he doesn't sin is a liar.  If we confess our sins He's faithful and just to forgive us".

3.  Grace does not remove the natural consequences of my own actions here on earth.  Many people think because they live by grace they could go get stoned and maybe nothing will happen, or go break one other of God's laws and nothing will happen because God will forgive me.  "I know this is wrong, but I'm going to do it anyway because God will forgive me!"  He will forgive you if you ask Him, but He will not remove the consequences here on earth.  Galatians 6:7 "Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that shall he also reap."  I know a lot of people who were all strung out on drugs who came to Christ and asked God for forgiveness and God did forgive them and their penalty eternally is wiped out.  But their mind is still messed up.  They are still carrying the scars from it.  I know many people who've had lives messed up by their parents and they've later gone back and gotten forgiveness and offered forgiveness to their parents but the scars are still there.  Many marriages have been torn apart but the scars are still there.  Like the little boy who, every time he disobeyed his dad, his dad made him drive a nail into the door of his bedroom.  Then whenever he confessed what he had done wrong he could pull the nail out.  After a while he began to realize there were bad marks in his door, it was all scared.  Don't think that just because you live by grace you can sin and get away with it.  You can't.  You can confess it and God will forgive you of the eternal penalty.  It will not keep you out of heaven.  You will not loose your salvation.  But it does not keep you from experiencing the discipline of God right here on earth. 

I read a statement by Ray Steadman that I thought was very powerful:

       hy does Paul say, "You are not under the Law."?  Why does he bring in the Law?  He brings in the Law because he's dealing with one of the most basic problems of the Christian struggle, the thing that oftentimes depresses, discourages us more than anything else in life, the sense of condemnation we feel when we sin.  The law produces condemnation.  The law says that unless you live up to this standard, God will not have anything to do with you.  We have been so ingrained with this that when we sin, even as believers, we think that God is angry and upset with us and that He doesn't care about us.  We think that about ourselves.  We become discouraged and defeated and depressed.  We want to give up.  We think, "What's the use? I'll never be able to change!"  But Paul says that's not true.  You're not under the law.  God does not feel that way about you.  You are under grace.  And God understands your struggled -[Remember it says we have a High Priest who understands the temptations we go through.]  He is not upset by it.  He is not angry with you.  [A book that changed my life years ago was by David Wilkerson God is Not Angry At Me!  That's a powerful book.  That's the concept of grace.] He is not upset.  He is not angry with you.  He understands your failure.  That's good news.  He knows there will be a struggle.  There will be failures.  He knows that He has made a full provision for you to recover immediately, to pick yourself up and go on climbing up the mountain. Therefore you don't need to be discouraged and you won't be. Sin will not be your master because you are not under the Law and condemnation but under grace.  And even though you struggle every time you fail you come back to God

       and ask Him for forgiveness and take it from Him and remember how He loves you and He's not angry or upset with you and then go on from there, then you will win!"

Prayer:

       eavenly Father, we thank You so much for grace.  Help us to realize that literally everything You do in us, for us, through us, and to us You do by grace through faith.  Help us to realize that the very way we entered into the Christian life is the way that we continue -- by grace through faith.  Lord, increase our faith in Your grace.  I thank You that You're not angry with us.  I thank You that You understand us.  I thank You that because of Jesus Christ that we don't have to live under condemnation but that, when we stumble and fall and make mistakes, we can immediately confess it to You, get up and go on without carrying a load of guilt, without carrying the condemnation or feeling that we have to repay for it.  Jesus on the cross paid it all and it is finished.  Thank You that the sins we commit this very next week are already been paid for.  Thank You that Your forgiveness is by grace.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

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