Changed By Grace
“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 (age); Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of (for) good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:11-15
I was part of the Awana’s Club ministry from five years old to the eighth grade. When I did my best, I did not have much trouble finishing my Awana book, but when I did not apply myself, I found myself short of finishing it. I remember each trip home from Awana’s Club, my dad would ask me how many sections I said. On a good night, I would say two to three, and on a bad night I would say “none”. He would always tease me with mock surprise and admiration and say “nine?” As much as I wanted that to be true, I had to correct him and reiterate “none”. One of the sections in the Awana’s book was to learn the definition of grace and the verses found in Ephesians 2:8-9.
I breezed through memorizing the verses and the definition, but I never thought deep about what grace meant. Awana’s defines grace as: “Giving someone something good that he or she doesn’t deserve.” I somewhat understood what that meant, as God saved me and I clearly understood that I did not deserve His salvation. What I did not understand is how this would help me in my saved life - His saving grace helps me now to live a life pleasing to Him. I often found myself on the wrong side of the law, whether that was at school or church, and my backside pain would always cause me to question why I made such poor decisions. I was not a rule follower, but I always thought I should have been after I fought the law and the law won. Was the Christian life about following the rules and not getting in trouble, or was there more to it?
I grew up with some rule followers and some who obeyed the rules in front of others and defied them when no one was watching. Late in my Christian life I began to learn that grace is God’s riches to help me live a life that is pleasing to Him, one in which I live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Although some would associate these characteristics with rule-following, these are examples of a changed heart. A heart that with God’s grace chooses to do what is right, and a heart that is synced with what God wants. It is not a matter of simply following and obeying certain rules, but a matter of a changed heart that will live for God in this wicked age.
God has set us apart to be different than the world and not look just like it. We can follow the rules in our legal system, but that does not make us a godly set-apart person. God’s grace saves us, and it is that same grace that allows us to live a godly, set-apart life that is pleasing to Him not in deeds alone, but with a heart that is pleasing to Him. 1 Samuel 16:7 states, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
Where are you today friend? The grace of God is available to all who humble themselves before Him. Have you accepted God’s grace for your eternal salvation? Have you asked God for His grace in your sanctification process? Do you try to follow the rules in order to simply present well, while ignoring your heart that is far from Him? May we look to His grace to live a life that is pleasing to Him, one that is set apart and brings glorious hope to a lost world.
Stay in the fight!