Under Grace, or Under-graced?!

Wednesday , 24, September 2014 Leave a comment

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:14) ESV.

Under Grace.  As Christians we celebrate that we are no longer under the law but under grace.  As Christians we celebrate that grace is far more than “unmerited favor;” grace is the power of God at work in our lives setting us free from sin and transforming us into the very image of Christ Jesus.

We talk often as Methodists about the Means of Grace—those activities and experiences God has designed and designated as His chosen places of interaction, transformation, and empowerment—those places where we get immersed in Grace.  These include (but are not limited to)  the Lord’s Supper, worship, time with the Word, prayer, Life Groups, the laying on of hands, healing, fasting, and so forth.  Every time we avail ourselves to these means of grace, we experience grace as the means to our maturing, healing, restoration, transformation, sanctification, and ultimate glorification.  In other words, we get convicted, converted, and conformed as we submit to the means of grace!

Under-Graced.  Unfortunately, many (most) Christians choose to be under-graced by refusing to enter fully into the Means of Grace God has provided.  Under-graced people are over-lawed.  Under-graced believers struggle with the weight and burden of sin, even if—by grace—they are actually not under its dominion any longer.  Why would anyone choose to live as if they are under the law and dominated by sin when in Christ we aren’t and shouldn’t live as if we were?  Because submitting to the means of grace takes a little bit of time and effort that our flesh wants to avoid.  Our flesh would rather play graced than be under grace

Many Christians therefore use almost any excuse (including assertions of “living in liberty” and “rejecting legalism”) to avoid the true means of grace.  EVERY means of grace involves time and commitment—some sort of (flesh) cost.  Amazingly, most of the American Church has opted to try and limit exposure to the means of grace—even in church services!  Infrequent communion, limited or non-existent altar calls, short worship sets, Word-less sermons and pain-less (impersonal) prayer times are all attempts to make people comfortable—at the expense of true transforming grace.  The result?  Too many sin-dominated, law-burdened Christians sitting in churches that preach… “Grace, grace!”

  • Fasting releases the power of being under grace; but the under-graced reject fasting.
  • Prayer is the language of life under grace; but the under-graced refuse to speak God’s language.
  • Worship flows from being under grace; but the under-graced resist the flow of worship.
  • Healing is ignited in those under grace; but the under-graced smother the Healer’s flames.
  • The Lord’s Supper draws us under grace; but the under-graced feel unworthy to draw near…

Thank God we are UNDER GRACE.  But are we living like it?  If we are avoiding the means of grace, the answer is, quite frankly, “no.” We really need weekly communion, daily prayer, a transformational Life Group, frequent fasts, and extended times in the Word and worship to flow in grace.  Is it legalistic to call people to live this way?  Just the opposite.  True freedom comes in daily exposures to the means of grace—to lives lived under grace!!!   The alternative is bondage—as (ironically!) churched people demand that they deserve personal comfort, self-gratification, and no-cost religion…

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