Do you really believe you are saved by Grace? Aren’t there some things you should do once you are saved to pay back Grace? Surely you don’t just get Grace without having to do something. Doesn’t God expect something from us?
Grace is a free gift given to anyone who believes in Christ as savior. There are no strings attached to that gift.
Most don’t really get what Grace is. And if we don’t get what Grace is, we don’t get who God is.
Let’s face it, most of us don’t get who God is at all.
In reality, we can’t possibly understand God. We are limited human beings and He is our all-knowing Creator. How can we understand the One who thought us into existence?
God longs to have a relationship with us and that’s why He choose to give us Grace. Without Grace God could have no relationship with human beings.
He is perfection. We are imperfection. Thus, He bestows Grace on us to cover our imperfections with the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
He can only see us through blood-covered lenses.
When He does He sees us without spot or blemish, whole, perfect, washed in the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice.
And yet, we see Him through our human works-oriented lenses. We think we must do something to get Him to notice us.
See me, God? I’m doing good today. I didn’t eat that brownie and I held the door open for that older lady. Pretty good, right God? At least two attagirls for me, right?
This is such faulty thinking. How can we earn something we already have? God smiles on us and gives us the greatest gift of all—that of eternal life. Not only do we not have to do anything to earn it, we can’t do anything to earn it.
For a do-aholic, this is difficult to swallow. You mean I can’t do anything to bolster my status with God?
Wait God, who gets to sit on the right and left of Jesus. How can I climb to the top? What good deeds will get me up there with Mother Teresa and Billy Graham?
It’s interesting what Jesus tells James and John’s mother when she asks if her sons can have the places of honor next to Him when He comes into His kingdom.
Mom thought she was asking for top jobs in the palace of an earthly king. What Jesus tells her, James and John is that for them to be considered for such an honor they must be willing to suffer as He will.
What they knew of Jesus’ suffering to date was living without a place to call his own, getting meals where he could, traveling from town to town, being scoffed at and hounded by the Pharisees.
They thought this was a small price to pay for one day becoming a great earthly king. Jesus knew they had no idea what they were asking.
He calls all the disciples together and explains things to them, “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”1
They still didn’t understand fully the implication of His answer. He was basically saying forget everything in your life, any position, any authority, any perks and then you are just beginning.
He was saying do you have the grace and humility to be nothing? This kingdom thing is not about what you give to earn privilege and power; it’s about what you give up. You must give up everything.
Yet, today we are still trying to earn the very thing God gave us freely.
It’s not about how much money you give; it’s about whether or not you are willing to give it all.
It’s not about how much you do to serve others; it’s about whether or not you are willing to constantly serve everyone.
It’s not about how many gifts you have and use; it’s about whether or not you are willing to give yourself completely for the sake of Christ.
Grace means God removes every barrier between us and Him. The only barriers that remain are those we have erected.
Did we do enough?
Did we give enough?
Did we read enough?
Did we serve enough?
The very fact that we would ask those questions implies we have withheld something. And in the withholding we have not given our all.
We are still trying to earn Grace rather than appropriate the power resident within.
We don’t have to strive. We don’t have to control our service to Him. We just live in the fullness of Grace.
In that place we serve Him in love by serving our fellow human beings.
In that place we give until we have nothing left to give.
In that place we love holding nothing back and in doing so find more left to give.
Are you saved by Grace? Then, why are you still trying to earn a spot in the Kingdom?
1 Matthew 20:26-28 NLT
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.