Sunday, May 18, 2014

Yes, Christians, Our Behavior Does Matter - Part 1

We Christians tend to make a big deal out of grace.  And rightfully so!  After all, it's the grace of God that saves us.

The Apostle Paul once wrote, "For it is by grace you have been saved ... it is the gift of God."  That's Ephesians 2:8.  It means that God, out of His goodness, chose to love us, forgive us, and rescue us from eternal destruction.  The salvation we enjoy is a gift from Him, and we did nothing to earn it. That's why we make a big deal out of grace.

But, here is where we sometimes slip up:  We wrongly think that if we aren't saved by our works and behavior, then we are free to act however we want to act and do whatever we want to do.  This erroneous mindset assumes, "Well, God's already saved me, forgiven me, and promised me a place in Heaven; therefore, it's no big deal if I sin."  

That's why Ephesians 2:10 is so important.  After teaching us that we are saved by God's grace, Paul gives this important nugget of wisdom:  "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  That is so vital for us to grasp!  Yes, we are saved by God's good works.  But the second half of the deal is that our salvation should lead to good works in our lives.  God made us and saved us to do good works in His name, by His strength, and for His glory.  

Yes, our behavior does matter.  Very much so!  Our actions on the outside ultimately reveal our heart on the inside.  

We all struggle and fail.  I know I sure do.  We all stumble morally in one way or another.  But overall, if we are saved by the grace of God and connected to the Son of God, our lives ought to be characterized by the righteousness of God.  And when we sin, it ought to bug us enough to confess it to God and flee from it.

Romans 6:1-2 is where Paul makes this point:  "What shall we say then?  Shall we go on sinning so that may grace may increase?  By no means!  We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"  There you have it.  The grace of God is not a license to sin.  Not at all.  

Grace.  What an awesome thing!  It makes all the difference in the world.  And when we receive it from God, it ultimately propels us to live righteously for God.  Because He blesses us with salvation, we thank and honor Him with a life of good works.  That ought to be the desire of our hearts and the goal of our lives.

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