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Depending on your church background, you may not have heard a lot about grace. Maybe what you've mostly heard about is a hard, unloving kind of God who punishes His sinful children. While it's true that He does discipline, He is never hard and unloving. In fact, it's impossible for Him to be that way! He is the one who came up with the idea of grace. Grace is God's favor when we don't deserve it - especially when we don't deserve it. He sent Jesus to pay for our sins because we couldn't pay for ourselves.
When we sin, what does God expect from us? Let me ask you this: When your children do something wrong, what do you expect from them? Do you expect them to continue to ask for forgiveness over and over? Do you expect them to cry and wonder if they’re excommunicated from the family? Do you expect them to try to do all kinds of good things just to get back in good standing in the family? The world expects this – not God. These are all worldly things that won’t get us any closer to God. He wants us to apologize and move on. We cheapen what Jesus did on the cross by doing all of those penance-type things. The power of redemption that Jesus died to give us is way greater than all of those other things. He instantly forgives and He expects us to instantly accept His forgiveness. By doing this we are recognizing Jesus’ accomplishment on the cross.
How do we live under grace? The way to live in grace is to accept. First we have to truly understand the power of what Jesus did for us. When we accept that amazing gift, we are living in the understanding of grace. There is great freedom in that. Then we live free of condemnation. We don’t condemn ourselves for the past, present or future. We don’t condemn others for what they’ve done. There are no rules or regulations on us because we don’t need any. When we understand and accept the gift of grace we will do anything in our power to live for Him and to keep from disappointing Him. That is true and total freedom.
Why do I feel so disconnected from God? Most likely it is because you don’t have the true understanding of grace yet. Most people don’t really understand how to live the life of a Christian. There are many churches and accepted forms of thought that say we need to live under lots of rules and regulations. There is a lot of guilt and condemnation and sometimes Christians feel like they have to live that way. That’s not God’s plan for us. He wants us to live a life of freedom and victory – from the inside out. When we get the revelation of His grace and His pure love for us, we will feel more connected and worthy of him. Read the Bible, pray and communicate with Him. Then don’t listen to worldliness. Listen to what God has to say in the form of the Bible and the still small voice inside of you. That is the Holy Spirit guiding and directing you to where you should be. Once you get comfortable doing that, you’ll feel connected to Him – and His love, acceptance and grace.
What if God asks me to do something I don’t want to do? You don’t have to do it! That’s the beauty of God’s grace. God made us with a free will to choose how to live and what to do. He did that in the hope that we will choose Him over any other thing in this world. By setting up the New Covenant, God gave us the freedom of grace. He doesn’t hold anything against us.
The thing is though, when we are offered grace like that and when we really accept and understand it, we don’t want to do anything apart from Him – even the hard things that He asks us to do. We want to please Him and we want to stay close to Him by doing what He asks of us. And the more we do that and the more we live in His love, the more we understand that He would never ask us to do anything that we can’t handle or anything that would ultimately hurt us. His motives are completely pure and we are perfectly safe in His will.