I admit upfront that I am a “free” grace guy. I’m not part of some “Free Grace Denomination” or any of that nonsense. I just believe that I am saved by the grace of God. I believe that it is absolutely free. I didn’t do anything 24 years ago to earn it. I certainly haven’t done anything in the time since to merit it. My future failures cannot change it. I am a child of God, not because of what I do, but because I believe was done for me. I didn’t make a door. One was made for me and I entered it by FAITH, not by works or even promises to do works, but FAITH. Pure, unadulterated FAITH!
I don’t serve God out of guilt or fear of condemnation. I am in Christ. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I am constrained by the LOVE of Christ. I love Him because He first loved me. I forgive others because He first forgave me. I serve Him, as imperfect as that may be, because He first humbled himself to die for me.
I can’t pay Him back because I don’t have the funds. Besides, that is why He paid my debt to begin with. He knew I was spiritually bankrupt, so He stepped in to pay the bill. I don’t have to avoid him like a friend I owe a hundred bucks to when I am completely broke. He’s not going to send me to a collection agency. He’s not going to evict me from heaven. He doesn’t want monthly payments. He wants relationship.
Sin kept us from having that relationship. So He took my sin out of the way. It’s gone. FOREVER! If I keep acting like I owe Him something, I am never going to experience a true relationship with Him. I will always feel like I am a few dollars short, or maybe a few million short.
I’m not encouraging myself or anyone else to live however they want. Grace is NOT a license to sin (like we need one). Living in grace is living in relationship. Religiosity doesn’t build relationship. Go ahead. Make a bunch rules for yourself. All it will prove is that you are a rule breaker.
Legalism breaks intimacy. Often times it builds up a facade of righteousness that is really nothing but self-righteousness. Other times it leaves the religious feeling fearful, worthless and utterly incapable of pleasing God.
The truth is that we are not under the letter of the law. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. We have been delivered from the Law so that we might live and walk in the newness of the Spirit. It’s not about an external observance of rules. It is about a transformative presence of the Holy Spirit that opens our eyes to the truth in God’s Word, works to sanctify our flesh as we walk in obedience to His leading, consistently reminds us of our dependency upon Him and motivates us to serve Jesus, not out of compulsion, but out of relationship built upon trust.
You can have your religion based on your best or you can have a relationship through faith in Christ’s best. Just don’t be fooled into thinking you can have both.