Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Has GRACE Become an Entitlment?

I woke up this morning thinking about the role of grace in the everyday lives of each one of us. Most of the time we don’t even think about grace, let alone ponder the depth and breadth of this most special and powerful gift from God, but there is so much more that grace calls for and I think we’ve forgotten that fact.

From the standpoint of the believer in Jesus Christ, we are saved by grace. And many would agree that we are kept (saved) by grace. Both ideas will bring comfort and consolation to those who embrace them, but has grace brought something more to our present culture?

I would suggest that it has. I would suggest that we are living in an age (more than ever) where grace is being used as a “get-out-of-jail-card” and we carry it and flaunt it as if that’s all it’s good for. If I screw up willingly or unwillingly grace is our cover, right? And everyone said, “Amen!”

I don’t have a problem with half of that answer, but I do have a problem with the other half. Can you guess which part?

I say that because at one time, we thought that an increase in law would keep folks from doing sinful things (legalism), but it did not. Actually all it did was drive naughty behavior into the closet. And that pattern is clearly noted in scripture (Romans 5:20a). And while in that pattern of ignorance regarding law, God saw fit to let grace increase (Romans 5:20b).

But clearly, after grace has come, so to should awakening to the raw mercy behind God’s grace, and that awakening should do something to our hearts, it should open us up to a humble understanding that grace is NOT a license to continue with misbehavior (Romans 6:1).

When was the last time you heard SOMEONE teach or preach from this text: Titus 2:11-14?

What has grace taught you? Granted, we can never fully obey the law, but have we developed such an entitlement mindset, especially in this 21st Century American landscape, that we expect God to keep tolerating willful disobedience to even the most simple of His commands?

Israel’s second king, David, a man who sinned to such a degree that most of us wouldn’t even consider him as a church trustee or deacon, let alone making him king had something going for him in the midst of his stupidity and lust. Do you know what that was?

A genuine heart for God, and an understanding that one should NEVER take for granted the mercy and grace of God; by presuming upon such a wonderful gift as forgiveness (Psalm 19:13 KJV).

For in that pre-Romans 6:1 understanding, David gave us a glimpse of a heart that not once believed that grace was an entitlement, that sin was something we could seek to get away with and yet still keep our standing before God.

I ask you this morning: Has GRACE become an entitlement to you? Or are you still humbly grateful and repentant toward the God who gave it all, simply because you could not?


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