From the Vault–What Grace Does Not Mean

(I had some bulletin type articles and stuff on the now defunct Preacher’s Pen site that was all eaten. I will post some from time to time so that they will be available. I guess I also use my blog as online storage/backup.)

What Grace Does Not Mean

We cannot earn salvation. God accepts and justifies a sinner based on his faith. It is God’s mercy and love toward us that allows us to be with him and go to heaven. After we are saved, though, God has high expectations and standards for us. He expects us to be set apart by the power of His Holy Spirit and be continually transformed to be more and more like Him and His Son. If we are not careful, a misunderstanding of God’s grace can hinder that process.

Grace does not mean I have an excuse to sin. Paul makes this clear in Romans 6:1 when he asks, “shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” is his reply. Also, Jude, in verse 4, talks about false teachers who “change the grace of our God into a license for immorality.” Hebrews 10:26 is a frightening passage: “if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.”

Grace does not mean that obedience is no longer necessary
. Some people imply by their speech and actions that obedience is a sign of legalism. God still demands and requires obedience, even strict obedience. The point is that we should not trust in or boast in our obedience, but God is still pleased with it. Is it a sin to go faster than the speed limit? If we are to submit to, honor, and respect our government as the Bible teaches, we really shouldn’t speed. If that is legalism, then I guess I can run stop signs and red lights because of the Grace of God. It is the one who obeys that will enter the kingdom (Matthew 7:21) (by the grace of God, of course).

Grace does not mean that God has lowered His standards. Using a “pole-vaulting” analogy, God’s grace doesn’t lower the bar, but it does allow us to win even when we don’t make it over the top. God has called us out of the darkness and to live a holy life. We can’t have an “Oh well, whatever” attitude as a child of God. Grace is not an excuse for mediocrity.

Grace does not mean that sin is now less repulsive to God. How many Christians seem to wear their past or present sins as a badge of honor? In efforts to avoid self-righteousness, some almost flout their sin. We must humbly acknowledge our sin and sinfulness but there is nothing to boast about. Sin is just as awful and repulsive as it was before Jesus died on the Cross. “Little sins” are not “okay” now that we have received God’s grace.

Grace does not mean I can take it easy. Paul says something in 1 Corinthians 15:10 that might seem contradictory if we misunderstand grace: “his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” Studying Paul’s life in Acts and his letters we know that he worked hard. That was some “hard-working grace.” Many today seem to think that grace means I can relax when it comes to my spiritual growth or my service to God. Don’t look to Paul to support that concept. You won’t find it in the Bible.

Grace is wonderful and we won’t accomplish anything without it. But don’t let these distorted concepts of His Grace keep you from being who God wants you to be.


Lost Links

Interview with Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond) about tonight’s episode which focuses on his character.

Jorge Garcia (Hurley) has a blog and interacts with fans. Dude, he rocks!

An interview with Jorge/Hugo/Hurley about the season opener

Episode 4:04 recap which explains the title, “Eggtown”

Neat interview with Sunjim Kim (Sun) about her interest in cars and Bond

Sidenote: I finally saw “We are Marshall” about the plane crash that killed 75 Marshall U football players and supporters in 1970. Matthew Fox (Jack) is in the movie and is good. Except, this time, he doesn’t get on the plane that crashes and feels guilty. So, kinda like Lost (he cries a lot) but different. Good film. McConahey (sp?) is a hoot but the film is a little depressing, I give it 3 stars.
Sidenote to the sidenote: The most amazing thing about the film is that it made Bobby Bowden likable. The guy who played him deserved an award.
Rules for watching Lost with Brian (in case any of you come to visit over a Thursday)

  • Telephone must be turned of 15 minutes prior to start of show. (the machine will come on and if it is a life or death emergency, Marisa will answer and have the person call back after Lost)
  • No eating of anything during the show. Drinking is allowed as long as it is not audible. Even if you think you can chew quietly, don’t chance it.
  • Lights must be out to have the best view of the screen
  • No Talking!!! All questions and ideas must be discussed only during commercials.
  • Discussion of shocking moments and what is going is encouraged during the commercial breaks and immediately afterwards.

Monday, Monday

I am usually restless on Mondays. Tired from Sunday. There are some things I need to do so I don’t take the day off completely, but I move slowly and try to rest some.

I don’t know what I am going to do today, besides a few work-related things. Marisa is running some errands now and there may be a couple more later for one of us or all of us to do. The WMP is bringing me Willie Nelson over the speakers and I am blogging.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to post today but decided to clean out some bookmarks and post them here so I can delete them from my bookmarks. So, here you go…..

Another end-time predictor. He says 2008 is the end of everything. Of course, as Trey expressed very well, it really shouldn’t matter if this is true or not. Maybe we can organize a death match between this guy and that other guy.

Newsmap: This is kinda cool. It lists headlines in a cloud format.

Here is a man taking up for men: Is “maleness” worth fighting for?

What to do about self-destructive friends? This relates to ministry. Some people might ask for help, but you can’t help them if they really don’t want to change.

I was reading a book at B&N the other day about totally useless info. I love stuff like that and this website has a lot: D**n Interesting.

This site is satirical and silly, maybe racist, depending on the author’s intent (but as we all know being racist towards the majority is acceptable and even funny), and has sparked a lot of discussion: Stuff White People Like

Finally!!!!! Snooooow!!!

We are up to five inches already at noon eastern time. I heard rumors that the expectation of a little warming which would lead to some rain and wintry mix has changed to all snow! Who knows how much we will end up with. I am going to plow a little today in case it snows a lot more and save snow blower for tomorrow. Cooooool!!!

(It is better if you click on them to see the entire picture.  I did center the first shot of 3 trees but the right part of the foto isn’t seen here)