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Summary: Jesus said, "HAS eternal life". He said "DOES NOT come into judgment" He said "HAS PASSED out of death into life". What’re we gonna do with that?

This is a series of articles that were prepared for ‘THE LION’S ROAR’ newsletter; a publication of Cornerstone Christian Chapel.

I want to talk to you about Grace. God’s Grace. I capitalize it because it deserves capitalization. Are you wondering why I use John 5:24 to talk about grace? Read the verse again. Read and carefully consider each phrase as you come to it. Think about what is being said to you.

As a preacher and teacher of God’s Word, I have finally come to understand that the base cause of the seeming chronic unhappiness - the judgmentalism - the legalism - the guilt-wrestling - the spiritual floundering of most Christians, is ignorance of God’s Grace. That’s right. Even Christians who pay attention and learn their Bible study lessons; who can say the gospel, and maybe even define a doctrine or two. Even so-called ‘evangelical Christians’, who involve themselves in programs to reach the lost and unchurched; who talk about God’s love and, yes, even His Grace. Even Pastors and other church leaders... so often have never understood Grace. They can define it (undeserved provision), and they can talk intelligently about it, but it so seldom translates into the heart and life.

Why? First let me say that there’s no way I can truly do the topic justice in a series of short articles. There are books and volumes of books that still don’t really cover it. So I’ll just say that we still tend to act and react ungraciously, because we haven’t really understood the fullness of what Jesus was saying here. So let’s contrast His words with some of ours. First, go back and read the verse. Did you read it? Ok, let’s go...

“I believe Jesus died and rose again for me, and my salvation is not by works - but, I have a responsibility to try to live like a good Christian”

(Go back and read the verse)

“I have terrible sins in my past that have affected my whole life”

(Go back and read the verse)

“I still battle an addiction”

(Go back and read the verse)

“What if I have a sinful thought or commit a sinful act and then die before I repent and confess?”

(Go back and read the verse)

“Sometimes I feel like there’s more I should be doing to make up for wrongs that I’ve done”

(Go back and read the verse)

Do I have to go on? Whatever objections you can come up with, God’s Grace still covers it all. Jesus said, “has” eternal life. Jesus said, “does not come into judgment” And He put no conditions or restrictions on it. He said these things about all who believe.

Now I know that there are those out there who think I’m going way overboard. Anyone who preaches unconditional Grace can always expect accusations of ‘preaching license to sin’, and ‘letting people off the hook too easily’, etc. The persecution Paul suffered under the hands of the Judaizers was for this teaching.

Some of you reading this may even be thinking, “You have to balance Grace with the Christian’s responsibility to set an example.” Well friends and neighbors, the world has been watching the ‘example’ of Christians for centuries. That’s what gives us a bad rap.

Some of you may be saying, “You make it too easy. People will take it for granted and not be appreciative”

I say to you, I didn’t make it easy; Jesus did. I say to you that I PRAY that people will take it for granted and stop trying to earn it. I’d be pretty insulted if I handed you a gift and you followed me around for days later trying to pay me for it!

As for the appreciation part - That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. But listen guys; when you work for something, you appreciate the work you did to earn it. When you accept something as an unearned gift, you appreciate the gift AND the giver - and you want to behave as though you are appreciative.

I’ve gone a little long. There’s so much to say... Guess I’ll have to talk about it some more later. Let me close with this.

Some of you are thinking that most Christians don’t live Godly enough as it is, and I’m neglecting my duties as a preacher by telling them that God’s Grace covers ALL their sin and they need to stop trying to work to stay in His favor. You’re thinking of that girl who got an abortion, or that couple who were both once married to someone else, or that guy who goes out back of the church to smoke between Sunday School and morning worship. You’re thinking of the church member who drinks beer at the end of the workday and hasn’t yet learned ‘alternative’ words like manure...

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