Does grace really work? In this article, I want to address the issue and perception of some, that those of us who preach grace teach and encourage spiritual laziness, because we talk about effortless change and rest. In other words, we are portrayed as believing that there is nothing for the believer to do – it’s all up to God because we are under grace. It follows then, we are encouraging people to behave like spiritual bums who slob it out in the heavenly departure lounge until Jesus returns! I believe that if grace is truly been preached nothing could be further from the truth.
Actually, I know from my experiences this year, that a revelation of God’s abounding, super, amazing, hyper-grace will result in you working far harder and producing more fruit in a shorter time than you ever thought possible. I mean, allow me a little foolish boasting on my part – this year I managed to write two Kindle books (I don’t know if they are any good, you’ll have to read them and tell me what you think) but if you had told me that I would accomplish that a couple of months ago – I would have not believed you! I’ve noticed also that instead of reading a portion of scripture a day I’m reading chapters. Is this because I’m disciplining myself? No its happening quite naturally because I’m hungry for the word – ok boasting over!
The fruit of grace
No, grace empowers; it transforms; it produces vision and action; it results in fruit for God; it produces holiness – GRACE WORKS.
1 Cor 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
In fact, if it doesn’t produce the above then was it really grace? No, I don’t believe so. Grace in the believers life will always have an effect. It is the antidote to sinful behaviour and addictions. It will teach you to deny ungodly lusts.
Titus 2:12 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
Therefore, what sinners (including sinning believers) need more than anything, is more grace not more law because that is the only thing that will empower them to change. Like the woman caught in adultery in John 8, Jesus first took away the power of sin (the law) by removing any condemnation by saying: “neither do I condemn you”.
Then he follows with a command not to sin because grace has empowered her. Jesus therefore came to free us from the power of sin so that we would be his special people zealous for good works.
Titus 2:15 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Evidence of faith?
It follows then, that works follow grace; there should be evidence that someone is saved! True grace will transform and reform you from the inside out and if over time there isn’t evidence of any transformation, you should wonder whether you have received God’s grace in vain.
2 Cor 6:1 “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”
Ask yourself, is there enough evidence to convict you as christian? Are you truly holy or different from the man in the street or do you watch pornography and cheat on your taxes like everyone else? Even worse, does the fruit of your life actually contradict the message you preach?
Titus 1:16 “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
James tackles this very issue of genuine faith in his Epistle, when he makes the assertion that faith or believing on its own is not enough to save. That seems a heretical statement to evangelicals but what he’s saying is that saving faith is more than an acknowledgement of the facts and a reciting of the creeds. As he points out later, even the devils believe – and they are not saved!
James 2:17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
Faith therefore has to come alive and produce fruit or works to be seen as genuine faith, gold tested in the fire – FAITH WORKS!
1 Peter 5:17 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
For example, how do we know Abraham had faith, can we see right into his heart? No, his works recorded for us in scripture are the evidence of his genuine faith! He was tried and found faithful. This is the kind of faith that the Apostle Paul believed he had found in his protege Timothy:
2 Timothy 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
Faith and grace therefore go together like salt and pepper. Grace is towards all but it is not received by all. Faith is the supernatural ability given by God to receive from the unseen realm all that God has provided through his grace.
Hence, not all what looks like faith is faith. In the Bible there are example of those who look like the genuine article but in fact are not. One such case is of Simon the sorcerer:
Acts 8:13 “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”
Was Simon a genuine believer? On the surface yes, but as it turns out heart was not right before God and the is no record of genuine repentance. In fact, historical records shows us that he became an enemy of christianity and the source of gnosticism. So, what did Simon believe? I think he believed the evidence of the miracles but he didn’t experience new birth himself.
Maybe that is what in the writer of Hebrews 6 had in mind – in that interesting passage which some claim proves a believer can lose their salvation. In fact, it is nothing of the sort, the writer is concerned for his Jewish readers that they may turn out just like Simon the Sorcerer. The test is the fruit.
Hebrews 6:8 “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.”
Therefore, just because a person says they are a christian doesn’t mean they are! In fact, Paul prophesied that there would be attacks against the church from within and without.
Acts 20:30 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Even today, there are still those who want to dilute the message of grace by mixing it with a little bit of law. Unfortunately, that nullifies grace working and that is exactly what the enemy doesn’t want – GRACE WORKING!
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