Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Falling Off the Grace Wagon

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.
Romans 5:20 (MSG)

You often hear of people with vices "falling off the wagon" meaning they return back to their vice (such as alcohol) after giving it up for a time. So does "falling off the grace wagon" even make sense?  I mean, grace is certainly not a vice.  Follow me here and let's see if we can make a case for this.  

There have been times in my life that I have given up on the grace of God.  That sounds harsh for someone who loves the Lord and in all honesty, it is harsh.  It's plain ridiculous too. When I say I "gave up" what I mean is, I simply gave it no thought.  I took it for granted.  I acted as though it didn't even exist.  I called Him a liar by acting and talking as though I had no hope.  I would rant and rave, cry and question, worry and give up.  I would wallow in the thoughts of past sins that I had already repented for.  I would assume that He couldn't use me in a mighty way...because of my past.  Pile current sins on top of that and you can imagine what a mess I have been.

I love what Romans 5:20 in The Message says about the "aggressive forgiveness we call grace".  Sin crouches at our door, ready to pounce on us.  It calls to us.  Seduces us from behind a shroud of temporary gratification.  Faithlessness is certainly sin too.  Hopelessness is sin.  A lack of trust in the sin.  Those sins come in more like a tsunami.  Overwhelming us.  Sweeping us out to sea.  Drowning us in a wave polluted with hurtful debris.  Isolating us from our source of life.  In both cases, those sins (vices) are all aggressive in seeking us out as their prey/victims.  Yet Romans 5:20 is telling us that God's grace is even more aggressive.  It wins out every time.  It goes beyond the farthest reaching points of our sin.  Sin offers us death.  Grace offers us life through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

This is certainly not a grace that should be taken lightly.  No, taking it for granted is spitting in the face of Jesus.  How precious is the grace that was made possible through the Blood of Jesus.  Kay Arthur, in one of her teachings in the Anointed, Transformed and Redeemed bible study, talks about how grace is previous.  Before the days of the Earth.  Before you and me, God determined that He would send His only Son as the blood sacrifice for my sins.  For your sins.  For our children's sins when they are 10...17...34...even 80.  Yes, before the days of the Earth, He was already showing incredible grace by preparing a way for us to be reconciled with Him.  He knew Adam and Eve would fall to sin.  He knew I would become rebellious, foul-mouthed, cold-hearted, angry, a gossiper, addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol and lustful.  Nothing I did, nothing you've done, surprised him.  He was ready and waiting for us.  He had already started extending grace to us before we ever breathed our first breath.

Grace is not something you can cover in a blog.  It's so wide.  I dare not attempt to try and say all that is in my heart towards God's grace.  Our pastor has been teaching on grace and it has been wonderful for me.  We can never fool ourselves into thinking that we have a complete grasp on something as large as God's grace.  Hearing the messages and reading more about it in the Word has heightened my awareness of it.  I'm just so thankful that 11 years ago, I came face-to-face with His grace as He reached down and took my hand, pulling me from the pit I had been living in.  I'm thankful that today, He takes my hand over and over again and pulls me out of the tsunamis of life.  Yes, I have fallen off the grace wagon.  I have taken back up my love of His grace.  I live in it.  I walk in it.  I breathe it.  I enjoy it.  Tell me, have you fallen off the grace wagon or are you still holding out for "something better"? 

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