Grace is a Person – Part 1

Christianity is much more than understanding concepts. Your heart cannot connect with a concept. Your mind can understand a concept, but your heart cannot connect with a concept. Your heart is made to connect with another person.

The grace of God is delivered to you in a person.  To receive the grace of God is to receive the person of Jesus Christ. Because the grace of God is actually delivered to you in a person, your heart can connect with grace (because grace has become a person). This is the only way that grace is delivered to you. Jesus Christ is the grace of God. When your heart is strengthened by the grace of God, your heart is being strengthened by Jesus Himself. When you receive and connect with Jesus, you are receiving more grace.

Tit. 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,”

You have been saved by grace (Eph. 2:8). You are strengthened by grace (Heb. 13:9). You are to live by grace (Eph. 2:9, Rom 4:4,5, Gal. 2:19-21). In other words, you are saved by Jesus Christ, you are strengthened by Jesus Christ and you are to live by Jesus Christ.

To remember only the fact that God has grace toward you is missing the point. Connecting with the person of Jesus Christ is to actually receive the grace of God. To get grace in your heart, you must connect with grace Himself.

Jn. 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

-Terry Stanley

This is part 1 of “Grace is a Person” from Deeper Christianity.net.
This series is an excerpt from the book “From the Head to the Heart”

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Grace is a Person – Part 2

Knowing and relating to God as a person is an entirely different thing than only entertaining ideas “about” Him. Many Christians think they are supposed to think about God all day. How can anyone possibly do that? I couldn’t think about one thing for more than 30 seconds. But I could “be with” someone all day. To be with someone all day lends itself to connecting with them, sharing with them, and enjoying them. This is much deeper than only thinking about Jesus. This is much more than only thinking about the things of God. You are both capable and are called to a continual connection in your heart with the person of Jesus Christ.

Often times the flesh wants to avoid relating to God as a person. If He becomes a real person that you have to relate to, then “What might He do? What might He say? What might He require of me?” The flesh is much more content to relate to God as a concept, a set of principles, or a set of rules to follow. This keeps God at a distance and allows us to remain independent and in control. God’s Spirit is not a force or mystical smoke. He is a person.

When you begin to relate to God as the person of Jesus Christ, it moves you from your head and into your heart. The heart relates and connects with people, but the head keeps people at a distance and ponders concepts about them.

How do you come to Him as a person?

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We Are Commanded To Believe, Not Decide

Why is it so common for new converts to Christianity to fall away in their faith shortly after their so called conversion? We have preached that the unsaved should make “decisions for Christ.” This phrase is found nowhere in scripture. On the contrary, the Bible tells us “to believe” on the Lord Jesus Christ. Only in heart belief is there power to weather the storms of life that require difficult choices. Only heart belief produces the experience of what we say we believe.

To simply make a decision that something is true does not necessarily change your heart belief. A decision that you have made in the past gives you no power for this present moment. Because you’ve decided that “something is true” at one time in your life leaves you with no current inner strength to live it out in the heat of the battle. This is why so many new converts don’t finish their race. This is why so many Christians live powerless lives of defeat with a lukewarm Christianity. They have certainly made a decision for Christ. They have certainly decided that many things are true about God, but they have no conviction of heart. Many do not find a daily, trusting faith that is of the heart and that encounters the living God. You must learn to believe in your heart, right now, and in this present moment in order for your concepts to do you any good. How do you do this?

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The Deeper Christian Life – How Does God Feel Toward You If You Sin?

We intrinsically know that bad behavior deserves fair and just punishment. It is part of God’s law that is ingrained in our flesh. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:24). If you do good, you are rewarded. If you do bad, you get what you deserve – some form of penalty or punishment. The cause effect relationship of good behavior vs. bad behavior and the results that both produce is similar to the law of gravity or the law of sowing and reaping. If you jump off of a building, the impact will kill you. If you rob a bank, you will go to jail. If you sin, the wages are death and separation from God.

However, the New Covenant has introduced an entirely different economy. Let’s look at an interesting verse in Romans 6:1.

Rom 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

The verse in Romans 6:1 is often quoted with the purpose of discouraging Christians from sinning. “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” Obviously, God does not want us to sin. A Christian is called to live and walk in righteousness, not sin. But notice a very interesting truth that is found in Romans 6:1. If we sin, grace actually increases. “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” The answer to the question is a resounding “Of course not!” But when sin increases, so does grace.

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Help Me Jesus

It is common for people to use the phrase “Jesus help me”. But can Jesus really help you? Will Jesus actually change your current situation in life?

Frequently, you may find yourself in a bad situation that you want to change. Sickness, depression, money problems, divorce, anxiety, and various kinds of suffering are all common problems we all deal with. What intensifies our negative situation is when we have no one to help us and we have no answers to fix our problems.

The problem is that people usually don’t need or want Jesus in their life until their circumstances take a turn for the worse. When everything is good and life is great, we don’t usually say, “Help me Jesus”. So here is the problem: Jesus Christ is not a “Santa Clause”. God’s ultimate purpose is not to fix your problems. God is not your geni or your personal servant boy that comes to solve your problems when he hears you calling.

God is a King. He is the King of all kings revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Although Jesus Christ came to serve and not to be served (Mk. 10:45), He came to save us of our sins, provide a way of escape from the punishment of hell, and invite us to know Him and share an intimate connection with God Himself. These things are first and foremost, not you getting your car fixed or God causeing your spouse to change their behavior.

 

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