Grace is hard to fathom. Just try getting your mind around a holy God really and truly holding you completely blameless based on the work of Jesus Christ.
Grace is also just as easy to misapply. Some Christians, in an effort to safeguard truth, minimize it. And some, tasting the freedom of grace, relegate truth to the sidelines. They throw “grace” at everything instead of pairing that grace with truth and living by both.
Jesus taught us His way is that of both grace and truth.
“For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”
In this blog series on grace, I shared that grace was never intended to simply cover the multitude of our sins, as wonderful and amazing and true that facet of grace is. Grace has also made us into new creations and has given us all we need to live godly in Christ. Grace is real, actual, LIVE enablement to live out the Christian life.
We can never accomplish the Christian life by the law. It can only be fulfilled by daily living out God’s grace. I am pretty passionate about this topic because it is so very vital and I personally have to remain vigilant in living by grace, not the law.
Which is why I appreciate materials such as Rich Miller’s devotional, 40 Days of Grace: Discovering God’s Liberating Love.
As president of Freedom in Christ Ministries, Rich has seen time and again that many Christians start the Christian life grateful for grace but gradually get tricked into believing that somehow it’s actually up to us to make the Christian life work. Rich has spent his ministry trying to help people accept, and then keep accepting, God’s perfect grace.
Grace isn’t a license to sin; it’s the freedom and enablement not to.
In 40 Days of Grace, Rich takes a lifetime of reflections and study of the scriptures to deepen the reader’s understanding of living by grace. This book balances truth and grace and I look forward to completing the book later this year. Here’s an excerpt:
“It is interesting to note that when Moses got really close to [God] and asked to see His glory, the Lord Himself made all His goodness to pass before him. Since God’s glory is too much for a mere mortal to handle, God protected Moses and then let him see His back. As the Lord passed by, God described Himself. How did God identify Himself in His own words to Moses? Compassionate. Gracious. Slow to anger. Abounding in loving kindness and truth. And yes, He will punish those who are guilty and who reject Him, but would you really have respect for a God who was soft and wishy-washy on sin and who would let the human race get away with murder?
Grace and truth- despite what some might think- are not opponents; they are friends. Grace is like the clean, oxygen-rich atmosphere we breathe. It is necessary for life, for health, for growth. When you are surrounded by grace, you flourish; when you’re not, you gasp for air.
Truth, on the other hand, is the solid ground on which we stand, move, and live. When truth is not around, you stumble and trip over hidden obstacles.”
Rich Miller, 40 Days of Grace: Discovering God’s Liberating Love
If you find yourself needing a refresher course in grace, here are my “top pick” resources. Each of these has deepened my understanding of grace, brought me anew to a place of joy and gratitude over the God of grace, lightened my heart, and caused me to exult in the God of salvation:
Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love by Jerry Bridges
What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado
One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World by Tullian Tchividjian (on my to-read list)
You can also view my Grace Shaped Life series here.
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Disclosure: Kregel provided me a free copy of Rich Miller’s book in exchange for an honest review.