The Gospel of Grace has been preached for ages in most churches where it is declared, “by the Grace of God” or “only the Grace of God”. “We are now under Grace not under the law”. But what is Grace? Grace is not getting what we deserve for our actions which we deserve. We were all destined to die in our sins from birth but Christ took that judgement and died on our behalf to shield us from taking the penalty which we duly deserved. Does it mean that by Christ’s death we have automatically escaped the death penalty? By all means no, after believing and accepting Christ’s sacrificial death through faith, we must use take advantage of the Grace period to begin a new life in the likeness of Christ towards purity, righteousness and holiness by the help of the Holy Spirit.
I have observed that many Christians see the event of Salvation that is accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal saviour to be the end. It is not an end but a beginning of a new life in Christ. My article is to remind fellow believers that the period of Grace to build up our faith to Christlikeness has an expiration period after which comes the judgement.
When we forget that the Grace of God expires, we falsely continue in our lives of sin or doing same old things over and over again expecting that we would be covered by Grace. We tend to take advantage of the Grace of God and abuse it and do not work on our character of purity, holiness and righteousness looking more like Christ.
Paul mentioned exactly what the purpose of Grace was in Romans 2: when he stated that it is supposed to lead us to repentance.
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.”
Paul is entreating believers to take advantage of God’s Grace of Salvation to repent fully and wholly from our sinful ways and obey the truths of God that has been provided to us through our faith in Jesus. When we come to the faith of Christ, we are to seek all truths there is in the bible and hold onto it steadfastly with our lives. God’s Grace is his kindness and forbearance and patience that has delayed judgement to us so we can repent and turn to him. Loving God with all our hearts, mind, soul and strength and loving our neighbours as ourselves. If we do not take the opportunity of the Grace of God and continue to live everyday as anyday repeating the same sins and not working towards holiness and Christlikeness, God’s judgement will rightfully be visited on us. It will mean that we have taken the sacrificial death of God’s son for granted.
If we love God with all our hearts minds souls and bodies, we will invest our time to read His word to know Him, to understand Him and to hear Him speak to us. We will prioritize him above everything we have, our work, our friends, our television or social media, our social events. We will make Him the centre of our lives in all that we do, say or think. When you are in love with someone, you want to learn all about them, follow them, communicate with them everyday spend quality times with them at all times. That is what our relationship in God has to be if we are to achieve holiness without which we cannot see God. There’s lots to know and understand about God when we read His word for ourselves compared to hearing it being preached by someone once a week. We are chosen and called to be Royal Priesthood according to 1 Peter 2:9 so how much more versed must we be in the Word of God, which is God himself according John 1:14??! By spending time to study His Word, we will know what He likes, and what He detests and through that His spirit works in us to change us to become more like Him.
God always gives Grace for a period as he did in the days of Noah. In that day he gave a period of 120 years for people to repent their ways. After that Grace period ended, God visited his judgement upon the people of the earth through the flood during which everything perished except Noah and his family of eight persons. Where was God’s Grace when the floods came and all the people died? God’s grace had ended. “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Gen 6:3
In Judah God sent Jeremiah to preach for about 30 years to the people of Israel to repent until the Babylonian captivity. When Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem in 598 B.C, hundreds of thousands of people of God’s chosen nation were destroyed and the rest not killed taken faraway into captivity in Babylon. Where was the Grace of God during the time? It had expired.
In A.D 70 almost 30yrs after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Jewish nation still refused to accept that Jesus was truly the Son of God after the preaching of His disciples. In A.D 70 Rome attacked Jerusalem and destroyed the City and Temple the second time and killed over 1 million of God’s chosen people and nation including mothers, fathers, children old men and women. Where was the Grace of God at the time?? It had expired.
If God did not spare His own people from His wrath due to their unbelief, unrepentant heart and turning back to Him, how much more us gentiles who have received the Grace of God past 2,000 years ?? What will happen to us when the Grace period expires? I cannot imagine the carnage, Jesus Christ himself declared, there is coming a time of trouble such as there has never been since there was a nation on earth according to Matthew 24. How scary does that sound??!
Our period of Grace is going to expire very soon, our time is running out and we can no longer take Grace for granted. We have to seek God now, abandon whatever takes us away from our Creator and turn to Him so he cleanses our hearts and minds with His Spirit through His Word. By our fruits will we know if we have been truly cleansed. Our works will reflect love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.