…by the grace of God I am what I am…
It seems all too often that the ones in need of God’s grace the most are the ones who supposedly believe in its necessity. By grace I mean God’s gift in Christ by which we receive forgiveness, favor and ability to follow Christ. So grace is not an excuse to cover up for us, but grace necessarily does cover. It’s never ever an excuse to do wrong. When we do that we actually cut ourselves off from God’s grace. Not that we can’t repent and receive that grace afterward. But we are in dangerous territory if we think we can sin now and be forgiven later, because by that attitude we’re setting ourselves on a path in which real repentance won’t be easy. Living in grace as God intends it will mean ongoing repentance for us to be sure. But we do so as those whose hearts are set on doing God’s will, not on sinning.
All too often God’s people who claim to hold to grace the most seem to act as if they are above it and others beneath it. We must always remember that at every moment with every breath we’re in need of the same grace that we should constantly extend to others. But again it’s not a grace from God for us to simply do our own thing. But it is a grace which does truly meet us wherever we’re at, but doesn’t intend to leave us there.
I am weary myself of anyone who has all the answers, but not discounting the reality that there are some who do have many of them. Paul would be a case in point. And actually he might fit into the category I just mentioned to some extent when the church commended him to the grace of God after his dispute with Barnabas over John Mark who Paul saw unfit for service at that point. And I’m weary also of those who seem to think they have it all together and regularly criticize others.
But I’m wary also of myself, hopefully especially so, knowing my need and my tendency to want to throw in the towel in so many ways for so many reasons. I’m in need of God’s grace as much as anyone else and before I worry about anyone else, I have to make sure I’m set in that direction myself. And it ends up being a Christ-thing by the way. We follow others as they follow Christ, but Christ is ultimately the one being followed. All of that requires God’s grace no less.
By God’s grace in Jesus we are what we are. I don’t worry about trying to be someone else. And my ultimate goal is to follow Jesus just as someone else might. By God’s grace in and through Jesus.