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Who Says Grace Is Easy?

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I’ve said several times before that if the Christian life and religion boiled down to a set of rules–keep away from this, stay away from that–it would be easier.

Trusting God for true and complete transformation is hard work.

Now I can further understand why it seems so natural to have your “win and lose” column for behavior. It’s inherent in the Law of Moses.

A significant part of the Mosaic Law was the promise of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (see Deuteronomy 28, especially verses 1-2 and 15). Some Christians live as if that principle applies to them today. But Paul said that “the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Christ has already borne the curses for our disobedience and earned for us the blessings of obedience. As a result we are now to look to Christ alone — not Christ plus our performance — for God’s blessings in our lives. We are saved by grace and we are to live by grace alone.  –Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace

The Law wasn’t bad, it just showed us all the things we did wrong and pointed to our overwhelming need for a Savior. With rules you can beat yourself up, try to conform, and try to change yourself and feel like you’re in control. It appeals so much more to the natural order you see around you.

Grace is hard though. You trust Christ to make you a new creation who then goes through a significant process of maturing. Your thoughts change. Your desires change. Your actions change. It’s all a gift, but this is certainly not the easy road!

Jerry Bridges goes on to say,

When we pray to God for His blessing, He does not examine our performance to see if we are worthy. Rather, He looks to see if we are trusting in the merit of His Son as our only hope for securing His blessing. To repeat: We are saved by grace, and we are to live by grace every day of our Christian lives.  —The Discipline of Grace

How amazing/maddening is that? The blessing now rests upon our believing in Jesus, not our performance. The change in performance–thoughts, words, deeds–happen the more you trust in Christ!

Grace today. Grace every day.

It’s humbling to consider that there are times you may ask for blessing–even if that blessing is to help other people–and He will deny because you’ve based your request on past or current performance rather on the gift of grace.

This is counter-culture at its heights, and God won’t change His mind about it. Choose His grace–today, every day.

What are your thoughts on this? Has there ever been a time you’ve struggled with grace vs. performance?


tdog_jbWelcome to week 1 of our book club discussion of The Discipline of Grace by Jerry BridgesWe are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, add your link to the widget below. Be sure to read and discuss my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s post too. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

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12 Comments

  1. Grace is liberating, grace ransoms us. Grace is how God greets us and meets us…it releases worship in us. What a wonderful gift! Thanks for your insightful words brother!

    • YES! Thanks so much, Jay. 🙂

  2. Does this mean I have to keep letting go of controlling my life? Aaagghhh….

    Good post, Jason, and thanks for hosting the new discussion.

    • Ha! You took the words out of my mouth, Glynn. I wish that simply by writing about it these concepts would stick. Not so much! Thanks so much for joining the discussions once again. I always look forward to your insights.

  3. It so easy to fall back to old ways. When we do, two things can happen:

    1) We think we are greater than we are.
    2) We think we are too bad to merit his favor.

    Grace says do your best and trust me to make you even better. Not because you are great, but because my greatness will be known in your weakness. My greatness will be known in your shortcomings.

    Definitely a humbling experience.

    As I’ve read and studied this morning, the old hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour” has been running through my head. 🙂

    Thanks Jason! I’ve missed our book discussions.

    • I’ve missed them too! I didn’t realize it had been quite so long until I looked back yesterday and saw our final discussion of the Hiding Place was early October. And I love that hymn.

      Great thoughts. I continually remind myself that I’m not getting stronger (as I’m sometimes prone to thinking), but I’m relying on His strength more fully. His power is perfected in our weakness. I have all the strength I need when I trust in Him. Thank you so much, Dusty!

  4. How coincidental (or maybe not) that my last post was all about grace. Can’t wait to start in on this book discussion next week, Jason. Thanks for this wonderful post today!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..His Grace is EnoughMy Profile

    • Yeah, not so coincidental in my estimation. 🙂 Thanks Martha!

  5. It really is a struggle to try and fathom that our Father doesn’t see justice the way we do. He sees His perfect Son as the last sacrifice for us and that alone makes us worthy of anything.

    Excellent thoughts, Jason. Thanks!

    • It’s incredible. It’s humbling. It takes a lifetime to understand. Thank you, Floyd!

  6. Great job with this chapter! As I read it I was convicted that there are times I still try to earn God’s favor. There are also times I’m tempted to think my prayers aren’t being answered because I’m undeserving. This chapter forced me to recognize this faulty thinking and where it comes from-not from God.
    When my focus is on God, I don’t have this problem. But when I get distracted, I forget that HIS grace is enough andI need to trust it and live in it everyday.

    This chapter reminded me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his book, “The Cost of Discipleship” in it he talks about the grace of God and it’s role in our daily lives.

    I look forward to this book club discussion. Not sure I’ll be able to post, but I will be reading along and commenting.
    Have a blessed holiday weekend.

    • You are certainly not alone in that, TC! Every time I think I’ve grasped it, the old pattern of earning or striving creeps back in in the subtlest of ways. Whether you post or not, we’re certainly glad to have your thoughts and insights in the discussions. Thank you, TC!

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