Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Grace: Making Us New

The grace of God. It is one of fundamental differences between following Jesus Christ and every other religion and philosophy of the world. God’s grace means that salvation is not dependent on anything that we do, but simply on the love of God as seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus. He paid the price for our sins. This gift of Grace should put joy in our hearts and love into out lives. Our lives should be different because God has poured His grace into them.

The apostle Paul reminded his disciple Titus the importance of God’s grace. This is what Paul wrote:
{11}For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. {12}It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, {13}as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. {14}He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. (Titus 2:11-14; NET)

When God’s grace is a part of our lives it has the power to change us. No longer are we doomed to live life the way the rest of the world lives. Now we can live lives that follow the example of Jesus and are guided by the Holy Spirit. Our lives become new!

Our lives are new because God gives us new life. - Vs. 11
While many of the aspects of our lives will remain the same: we will have the same family, same job, and the same problems, God gives us a new life which will extend into all eternity. Salvation is ultimately the giving of new life. Sin brought the reality of death to all of mankind. So not only were our old lives slowly ticking away to the day of our deaths, but they are also enslaved to sin. Sin has a hold on us, and without the salvation brought to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus there would be no hope of breaking free. This promise of a new life isn’t just about the wonderful life we will have in Heaven enjoying an eternal relationship with God and each other, but it is also about giving us a life right now that isn’t controlled by sin, but is freed to do good works. God’s grace makes it possible for everyone to live a life of significance and of purpose.

Our lives our new because God gives us new limits. - Vs. 12
I know that limits doesn’t sound very appealing. We live in a culture that doesn’t want to be tied down to limits. We want to do what we want to do when we want to do it. We want to buy what we want to buy when we want to buy it. Limits are opposed to the good life we have been told is the way to live. This is one of the ways that life has been twisted. By living a life with no limits people allow themselves to become slaves to sin, and limit what the can do and what they desire. They are powerless to break free and live the way they were created to live. In His amazing grace God provides us with limits which are designed to help us avoid sin and to live the lives that God created us to live. It is by living within these limits that we are able to become the people God created us to be.

Our lives are new because God gives us new longings. - Vss. 13-14
Our hope is no longer confined to the here and now. It isn’t about achieving the American Dream or fulfilling one of our puny dreams, but it is about eternal relationships. A relationship with God and a relationship with fellow believers. Our longings are about creation being restored and life being what God originally intended it to be. We have grown so sick of the evil and tragedy that dominates life now and we long for the day when God will make all things new, and so we put our effort into bringing God’s Kingdom to earth and waiting for the day when Jesus will return in power to make everything right. That is the desire that dominates our hope.

God’s grace is amazing because it makes our lives new. This new life is hard to explain to someone who has not experienced it, but for us who have it has totally changed the way we live. I hope and pray that we don’t take God’s grace for granted and that we will take time to praise Him for the difference He has made in our lives. Thank You God for your amazing and wonderful grace.

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