“Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realise that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.”
Romans 6:15-16 NLT
Once again, Paul writes about “God’s grace” and the freeing impact it has on our lives. He associates grace with freedom from the Jewish Law, something that the early Jewish Christians in Rome were so steeped in, that they seemed to be having problems in seeing beyond it, let alone leaving it behind in their new-found faith in Christ. But what is “grace”? I have written before about God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Paul used the Greek word, “charis” which in these verses is translated as grace. Another definition is kindness. And we know, of course, that God’s rescue plan for mankind, freeing them from sin, involved His Son Jesus and His substitutionary death for our sins at Calvary. Grace taken to extremes.
But God’s grace doesn’t just set us free from the “law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2), it provides for us benefit after benefit, all coming from our new-found righteous relationship with our Heavenly Father. Let’s start with the benefit of our coming salvation. When we embraced and accepted Jesus’ gracious sacrifice, we started the salvation process.
Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God –”.
1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Romans 10:9-10, “if you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
So these teachings from Paul indicate that we have been saved, are being saved and will be saved. A comprehensive study and manifestation of God’s grace. Yes, our salvation won’t finally be fully realised until the day we cross the Great Divide into eternal life with Jesus, but our salvation process started at the Cross of Jesus Christ.
But when did God first exhibit His grace? It happened long before Jesus died at Calvary. Time and time again in the Old Testament we read about God’s grace. Take Adam for example. We read in Genesis 3:10,21 “He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’ The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” God could have zapped the first couple, and started again, but instead He graciously not only allowed them to live, but He also provided for their need of clothing. That’s grace.
There is something we refer to as “common grace”. God provides for mankind continually, with Planet Earth’s physical stability, with a constant source of heat and light from the sun, with the ability of the soil to provide crops. And that provision is independent of mankind’s status before God. Even those who have rejected Him enjoy His grace.
So we pilgrims are a blessed and favoured people. God’s grace has provided freedom from the sinful lives that were holding us back in a lost and hopeless state. We are slaves no longer. But around us so many people are enslaved, but don’t realise it. Isn’t it strange that, spiritually, they walk around carrying chains and other items of bondage, just like Jacob Marley’s ghost? Heavy loads that weigh them down. And they don’t need to – Jesus has set them free as well.
Dear Lord. You are the ultimate bringer of freedom. How can we ever thank You enough? Amen.