There’s this tension between wanting to live a grace-filled life and wanting to live a holy life.
Of course the two are not mutually exclusive, but in my mind, a holy life lends itself to lists of thou-shalls and thou-shall-nots to keep me on the straight-n-narrow, to instill discipline, and to promote self-denial.
Grace, on the other hand, seems lavish, fluid, hard to wrap my arms around and thus not conducive for holiness. …Right?
Paul seems to think the opposite.
Today’s Scripture is to remind us that the reason Jesus died is because we could not (and still cannot) work our way into God’s favor.
Far from being embarrassed by our shortcomings and failures, God invites us into His grace because of Jesus’s work to cover them and make us holy.
This isn’t a sit-back-and-live-life-however-you-want pass, but rather an invitation to be so dazzled by God’s grace that we open wide our lives to His work–whatever He wants to do, we’re soft clay in the Potter’s hands. That’s sanctification.
Today, let us celebrate our dependence on Jesus for our sanctification. Yes, God desires us to be holy, and yes, that is possible only through a grace-filled life.
Life with Jesus is a both-and kind of life. Both holiness and grace. There’s discipline in embracing grace, discipline in remaining open to the Spirit’s holy-working within.
Day 26 Challenge: Today, live the both-and life by opening yourself to the Spirit’s work (not your own!) of sanctification and celebrating the grace of Jesus in His sacrifice. Practically speaking, this doesn’t mean adding to your to-do list but rather shredding the list and asking God to do the work.
Father, even as I type these words I still know this is a struggle for me. My type-A personality just wants a checklist, a syllabus, a roadmap so I can plot out my course. But sanctification by grace means that I’m not doing the work. You are. And that’s hard for me. But You are patient. So here I am, saying I want the both-and life. Shape me as You will.
This is the 26th post in the series, “Abiding in Christ–when reading the Bible isn’t an option.” Check out all the posts here.