Truth in Grace
Living with Christ as Lord, responding as His sold-out, dying-to-self disciples so we can be salt and light to a hurting and dying world, all in His Truth and Love requires us to imitate Him. One of the simplest and most powerful Scriptures of Christ is John 1:14, “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Parentheses mine and added)
Grace, simply defined, is receiving a gift that we don’t deserve and can’t earn. That’s what we have received from God in Christ!
God’s Grace in creation, life, and most of all in Christ, is AMAZING! However, just as the Romans did when Paul explained God’s grace to them, our human nature manipulates us to think of it as not just a free gift (which it is) but a free pass to keep on living as we desire in our own sinful flesh (which it certainly is not)! That’s why James, in talking about faith, states the discipleship side of faith and grace in which our lives and actions must reflect the grace in our lives that we receive by faith…”Faith without works is dead (no faith at all).” James 2:18, 20, 26 (Parentheses mine and added)
How can we be salt and light as Christ’s disciples if all His grace means to us is “thanks for saving me but I’ll take it from here?” Paul reminds us that not only is His grace sufficient but also it will perfect my weaknesses in His strength so the only thing I can boast in is Him and His Cross! 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Galatians 6:14
Let’s continue to look at His Grace…the free gift, our abuse, our humility and His Glory… in and through our lives.
Christ’s Love is always expressed perfectly in Truth and Grace…neither ever compromises the other. In our culture abusing grace is the problem on our path of human nature as we read in Romans 6.
On the other hand, while grace is absolutely amazing it can never nor will ever compromise God’s Truth; we are saved by grace through faith and empowered by grace to live for God (Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10); however, grace was never intended to allow us to craft God in our image or condone our sin and flesh, it was solely for the purpose to recreate and craft us in the image of Christ and for His Glory (2 Corinthians 3:18)…for far too long we’ve taught (or failed to teach) the real purpose of grace and excused, allowed, even encouraged folks to claim grace while continuing to live in their flesh and sin…apart from Jesus Christ. This is certainly not the purpose of Grace and we need to teach, live and disciple according to His Truth in Grace (Romans 8:1-5; Galatians 5:13).
Grace is so much more than just forgiveness; it is the power and freedom to live in Christ (Titus 2:11-14)!
Paul David Tripp in his “New Morning Mercies” devotional states, “Not only is your salvation a gift of God, but the faith to embrace it is his gift as well. But here is what you need to understand: God not only gives you the grace to believe for your salvation, but he also works to enable you to live by faith. If you are living by faith you know that you have been visited by powerful transforming grace, because that way of living just isn’t normal for you and me.”
Don’t live in the natural or “normal” (flesh)…pride, doubt, fear, worry, anxiety, selfish desires. Live in the Spirit by the gift of Grace and Faith (Hebrews 11:1, 6) that you’ve received from God through Christ as Savior and Lord and the indwelling of His Spirit in you. He has given us everything we need to live a Godly life through Christ for His Glory (2 Peter 1:3)!
The amazing and free grace of God in salvation by faith in Christ is nothing without the evidence of that grace in sanctification (His Lordship and our discipleship walk)…James 2:14-26. The grace that saved you and restored you into a relationship with Him (your greatest need) is the very same grace that works in us to conform us into the image of Christ…Romans 8:29!
What does that look like…Galatians 5:22-24 and 2 Peter 1:3-11! The Fruit of the Spirit that we have in Christ must mature and grow in our lives! Look at the very close similarity between the fruit of The Spirit that we receive by Grace through faith in Christ and how they are to mature in our life in 2 Peter 1…by that very same grace. Peter tells us very plainly that The Spirit fruit matures in our lives as choose to “add” (build on) that fruit as virtues that we now have in The Spirit in our day-to-day life. His Grace not only makes us flawless in Christ but allows us to thrive every day in His Grace!
What ultimately does this all lead to? A heart after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22)! Humility is the natural product of Grace!
Do you have a desire to see and be close to God? Humility and purity are keys…and yet I can do neither except by the Grace of God in Christ! Think and pray about these things as being the fruit of walking in Truth, Grace and Love with Christ as Lord.
If you’re claiming Christ as Savior and not desiring and/or growing in these things then ask The Lord to show you what is keeping you from truly being His humble and pure-in-heart disciple. Most often brokenness precedes humility and purity of heart.
Humility and humiliation are from the same root word but humiliation is always rooted in, and a product of, our own selfish desires; Humility is rooted in The Spirit.
Every time I choose self I eventually have to account for it in humiliation. The enemy loves nothing more than for us to equate humiliation with Humility so we reject the very thing that God says we need to be close to Him and to place others above self.
Here’s the real kicker…humility is not thinking less of yourself. Actually it is thinking clearly and soberly of yourself so you can choose to place Christ and others above yourself just as Christ did (John 13:3-5; Romans 12:3-8; Philippians 2:3-5).
Humility is being confident and content in who we are in Christ so we can willingly, submissively and lovingly place Him first and then place others above self.
As long as I do not die to self, any semblance of serving and loving is done in false humility (pride) so as to gain something from it…even if it’s just the accolades of being such a wonderful “Christian.” Only when I take up my cross and go to the death of my selfish desires and pleasures rooted in my flesh, and live for Him, can I know who I am and humbly serve and love others from His reservoir of life, love and strength in real humility by grace.
And it will not matter one iota how others respond to me!
As we walk in Humility it becomes more and more real in our lives and evident to others what John the Baptist said about Christ in us…”He must increase but I must decrease.” John 3:30
Humility also allows us to hear, accept and get into the yoke with Christ (Matthew 11:28-30) and receives it as easy and the burden as light. In that yoke we learn His gentleness of spirit and humility of heart.
In Humility, knowing who I am in Christ, I can accept my greatest strengths as weaknesses that only feed my flesh and increase my pride. When in that same Humility I receive His Truth, Grace, Love and strength, then my weakness is used to accomplish all He desires for His Kingdom and Glory!
Imagine what that might look like in your personal life, your marriage, parenting and family and in Christ’s Church?
Humility in Christ is the only real strength and the only strength that matters… therefore I will boast only in His Cross and in His strength (Galatians 6:13-14)!
I want to despair for God like David did in Psalm 42 and in my despair to be completely overwhelmed with His Presence! I want to praise Him when all is well and when all seems lost…desperate for Him!
This will only be done in one of two ways, which brings us right back to Humility in His Truth and Grace. I can continue and be humiliated in my own pride, choices, failures, consequences and successes that will always bring destruction as I sow in the flesh. OR I can choose Humility according to His Word and Grace in my life and know that I must willingly and submissively choose to desperately seek after Him in ALL THINGS and know I’ll reap eternal life presently and beyond (Galatians 6:7-8).
When I choose my flesh and ultimately receive humiliation I still have a choice to make as to whether I will desperately seek Him or pridefully continue to do it my way. When I choose His Spirit in Humility, I’ve already made the choice to desperately seek after Him and can rest in the consequences and fruit in my life. There is great peace and wholeness in Humility in Christ!
My hope in humility is in direct proportion to how much I desire and despair for Him. I need You, Lord…and I know You are faithful to be there for me always.
Walking humbly in His Truth by His Grace happens in our new identity in Christ! No matter what you’ve faced or what you are still carrying with you or processing in your life, know that He has made you new in Himself.
He will guide you through the processes that you need to go through to let go of those things that are of the old man or woman in the flesh. He will also take all that you’ve experienced, the good, the bad and the ugly, and make something good of it (Romans 8:28).
Know (remember Humility is knowing who you are recreated to be in Christ) that no matter what you’ve done or faced, in Christ you are no longer guilty of any sin and therefore you need not be ashamed for He has forgiven you, set you free, empowered you, healed and redeemed you completely!
So don’t choose sin any longer and don’t choose to live in the pain, guilt of shame of the past…even as you may still deal with those decisions and consequences… because He has made you new (2 Corinthians 5:16-17)! God doesn’t see us in the flesh, so help us no longer see ourselves according to the flesh but to humbly see ourselves according to The Spirit in Christ!
We can only walk in this new life in Humility, knowing we are a new creation in Christ! Don’t let anything in the past keep you from being all you are in Him. Humble yourself before Him and He will lift you up at just the right time (James 4:10).
We are righteous in Christ because He took our sin away and made us whole and free, even as I live in the outcomes and realities of my former decisions and old life. I am new and made righteous in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). I will no longer let the “realities” of my old self and life dictate who I am…Christ says I am righteous and free, whole and healed, forgiven and loved…that is what I choose to live in. What identity are you living in? What defines you?
Humility leads to God’s favor as we surrender our rights to our self over to Him. Then we can know who we are in Christ and in Humility glorify God in all we think, say and do (Colossians 3:17, 23)!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – As long as I’m convinced, and trying to prove, that I have every right to myself, then pride will win out even when I’m “serving” God and others. Only in Christ can I know myself and love and serve in Humility to build His Kingdom and magnify Him in His Truth and Love by His grace.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) –
- Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you how to love according to His commands and priorities.
- Grace empowers us to be humble. How does this look in your life and relationships?
- Do you despair for Christ…to know Him in all things?
- How does humility as confidence and contentment in who you are in Christ help you to choose humility by His Grace?