I was asked today (by someone in fear of losing their salvation because of their failures in obedience) how I get through my stumbles, failures and daily struggles. This is my response:
The only way I get through falling short and struggling daily is by the grace of God. And I mean that in a couple of different ways.
1) It was in the grace of God that Jesus Christ came into this world and took upon Himself my punishment. The punishment for the sins I committed yesterday, today and tomorrow—all my sins— fell on Jesus Christ as He hung, full of grace, on that Cross. When I fall short, I look to the Cross… I see His Blood….and I see the grace of God that covers all my sins.
2) The grace of God literally works in me and urges me to keep moving forward after I mess up. The grace of God pushes me to persevere amidst my daily struggles. It’s His grace at work in His children that keeps us fighting our sin and on the narrow path to life.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,”- Titus 2:11-12
God’s grace, the incomprehensible favor He chooses to give to us even though we deserve His wrath, is for the past, present and future. In the past we see the grace of God in Jesus Christ as He bore our guilt and condemnation. In the present we see the grace of God in His Spirit that is working inside of us, sanctifying us, and shaping us into the image of Christ… actively convicting us of sin and leading us to repentance. In the future we see God’s grace bringing to full completion the work He began in us… the full restoration of our being. Our spirits, minds and bodies completely renewed, sinless and capable of enjoying God to levels we can’t fathom.
And I believe, based on the Bible, that God’s grace will sustain me until that day.
‘And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”- Phillipians 1:6
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”- Jude 1:24-25
“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”- John 6:39
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”- Romans 8:29-30
If you are in Christ, it is indeed because it was gifted to you by God….and the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). The Lord will not withdraw His love from those whom He set His love on before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5). When I let this reality sink into me, it frees me from the fear of failure because rather than trusting in the victory of my obedience, I trust in the victory of Christ. His victory is the foundation.
So, how do I get through falling short and failing God? By His grace. Only by His grace.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”- Ephesians 2:8
Now I know many will fear that in talking so much about God’s grace, I will encourage people to keep on sinning with no regret. I’m not encouraging anyone to continue in sin. God’s grace only covers all the sins of those in Christ—and a life in Christ is marked by continual repentance. There may be lots of tripping and falling, but the true believer will always get back up and keep fighting their sin. Grace will not cover the sins of the unrepentant person. That person is dead in their transgressions and under the wrath of God.
If you’re in Christ, you cherish the grace of God—-you don’t abuse it.