The passage that grace preachers and holiness preachers failed to understand fully.The Christian world is full of sermons that preach only one side of a concept, such as grace. This is followed by posts that attack the other point of views. They seem unable to hold two polar attributes in a balanced (e.g. love and justice). Romans 5v1-5 provides a complete and true message on grace. We can see how some grace preachers err by stopping at verse 2 and some holiness preachers err by starting at verse 3. The complete view is given in the mind-map below:
Grace by Faith (Rom 5v1-2)
Grace is given and done by our Lord Jesus Christ (through His death and resurrection, see The Gospel and the Sinner's Prayer - We Got it in Wrong Order). While grace is freely available to all, it is only given and received by the person who wants it and he has to receive it by faith. See "Grace is Unmerited Favor" - This Common Definition is wrong for the correct meaning of grace and the difference between grace and mercy).
The Result of Grace Received - Begins with Justification and to end with Glory
- We immediately are justified resulting in
- We have peace with God.
- We have hope of the glory of God.
Hope is the assurance of things received now to be delivered in the future. It is like making an online order and waiting for the goods to be delivered sometime in the future. In the meantime, the ordered goods are on their way to you.
- We have, the new rebirth children of God status, and the right standing with God with the promised of greater realization in the future enables and fully equipped us to live out this life, in the meantime till Christ return, to overcome the challenges and trails throw in our way and to come out victoriously. We are like a seed with the complete life ingredients, the DNA, within. The planted seed needs good environment and fertilizers to grow up to maturity and produces good fruit. This is where many grace preachers missed. They fail to differentiate the kinds and timing of the new status and rights of the grace of God. Forgiveness, justifications, and rebirth are all immediate. But there are more to come. There is time for growth and time for fruit.
Grace gives us a new birth and continues to give us the power to overcome the challenges of life. It is not possible by our own efforts to live out the life that we should especially under the pressures and temptations of the world and the devils. However, we must and have the confidence to overcome. Because of that confidence, we can then rejoices in tribulations. We are not afraid of tribulations because we know we will win and can see the benefits that tribulations bring to us.
Grace enables us to say like in Jame 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. And also as in 2Pet 1:3-8 shown in the mind map above. Tribulations develop our character when we are grace enabled. Tribulations will defeat us if we rely on our own strengths (e.g. Peter denying Christ thrice after Jesus was captured). Like what James and Peter had said, Paul said tribulation produces patience, then experience. The original word for experience stands for trustiness, proof, or proven. Some translation used a proven character. We are refined and made better through going through trails victoriously.
One victory adds on to another and step by step, over time, we develop greater character strength. As we have proven the hope and promise of the glory of God over time, our faith and hope grow with time. We dare to believe bigger things and have greater visions from and of God. As we acted out upon the visions given to us, we will release that His promises are true and we will not be put to shame. We will be able to start and finish well to the glory of God. We are charged up on the inside with the love of God, with the assurance of God's love for us and also the same compassionate love of God for others. On the outside, the loving care of God and His angels open up the ways for us. There are difficulties but we are confident we can overcome in Christ. So that Paul can say Phil 4v13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Through trials and tribulations, we experience the love of God that we only believe by faith at the start.
The way we overcome is not by pushy force but by the drawing power of love. When the typical reaction to others attack is to counter-attack, we may do it differently because of our love within. We may sometimes give in to win more of their heart. We may sometimes fight with truth and win but yet we forgive and take not. We capture and let go and repeat them until they change their heart to respect and love us. That is the way of more than a conqueror. See The Meaning of "More than Conquerors",
Having the complete picture on Grace enables you to live a meaningful life with impact for yourself and God. God is glorified through your testimonies. Do not let the grace of God be wasted on just our own benefits but let the grace and power of God be lifted up through your testimony of impact on the world around you. Have a meaningful and joyful Christmas and a more purposeful New Year. God empowers you to be His effective witness.
Lim Liat (c) 24 Dec 15