“So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Let’s look at the verse above. Seems like a pretty basic evangelical principle, right? Works don’t get us to Jesus. Grace does.
While this doesn’t give us free reign to sin, it does mean that sin and grace can’t rule over sin simultaneously. Grace overrules and overrides sin.
I am a people-pleaser. I seek approval for EVERYTHING. My life decisions. My food choices. My workout routines. My relationships.
I’ve learned that I can’t always rely on people’s opinions or approvals...because humans are fickle, and where some may think I’m right, others will think I’m wrong.
So, looking at Romans 5:21 above, we see that we are given a “right standing with God”...and we didn’t even have to work for it.
By human standards, this doesn’t make sense!
Today, you may have lost some battles against your sins...but yesterday, you had a quiet time and helped someone in need. You think, “God can’t possibly look at me the same today as He did yesterday!”
I often think God is upset with me when I sin or when I’m less consistent with my quiet time. But although He does desire for me to live a sinless life to glorify Him, while He does desire to spend time with me--He doesn’t love me less when I fall short.
It’s so hard to live in this truth of a grace-ruled life! Satan distracts us with feelings of guilt and unworthiness, and the world distracts us constantly with images and advertisements of pleasure.
But this grace-filled life frees us, because our works don’t determine God’s love for us. Grace covers our sin totally and completely. It doesn’t determine our salvation or our identity.
“For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
Yes, sin is bad, and we shouldn’t indulge in something that doesn’t glorify God. But according to this verse, sin isn’t the thing that cuts us off from Jesus. What cuts us off from Him is trying to be justified by the law.
Hear me out.
This doesn’t mean that sin is a free for all, since we are covered by grace. Those who live a grace-covered life will have less of a desire to sin and more of a desire to please God.
It means that those that trust in their works and good deeds...their service projects and mission trips... to get in right standing with God are the ones that are far away from Him.
A lot of times, I live like staying away from sin is what makes me better than other people. It’s what keeps me in good standing with God. But actually, this is what separates me from Jesus.
We can’t trust both Jesus and our good works for our salvation. We just can’t.
Either we trust in grace, or we don’t.
Either Jesus’ work on the cross was sufficient, or it wasn’t.
When we try to earn God’s favor with our cheap and fickle actions, it makes grace look so much less valuable.
Grace is a gift...God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
We don’t have to maintain our holiness by good works once we're a part of God’s family.
Does doing good make us more righteous in God’s eyes? No!
Righteousness is a part of our identity once we are followers of Christ.
It’s not a character trait that we can gain or lose. It is an integral part of our identity. Our actions can’t change our identity.
Righteous is not what we are. It's who we are.
In one of my small groups, we read the book Jesus Is _____. Find a New Way to Be Human by Judah Smith.
Using the video study and participant’s guide, we spent the last eight weeks going through verse studies and personal questions about who Jesus is and who He is to me. If I’m being totally honest, much of the day-to-day study and questions in the books seemed to “easy” and juvenile, but the group questions raised some great discussion in our group, and some of chapter 8 inspired this blog post.