Wednesday, 09 March 2011 08:56

From the Publisher - March 2011

Written by  Jason Watson
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What should one’s day-to-day life look like as a Christian? When I first became a Christian this was on the forefront of my mind because I had never given much thought to what a life lived for Christ should look like. In the past I lived for my glory – not His, so now, as one bought by His blood, I wanted to bring glory to His name. Like most new believers, I created a mental checklist of certain sins and tried my hardest not to do them. Plus, as an added benefit to all my Christian friends, I gladly pointed out all the sins they committed that were on “my” list, too. This went on steady for about two years until I finally wore myself out from trying to maintain my legalist faith. When I finally gave out, my moral pendulum swung all the way to the other side and I fell head long into sin.

 


Believe it or not, God used my foolishness (as He often does) to help me understand more about His plan for my life. I knew that God saved me by His grace, but I thought I needed to maintain my good standing with God by my good works. Like the initial thinking of the Prodigal Son, I expected to be chastised by God when I returned, but, like the father in the parable, amazingly, I was met by God’s unconditional love. God’s grace goes beyond my point of salvation because even as His child I continue to sin. We aren’t just saved by grace, we live each day through that same grace. Our position before God is only secure in what Christ accomplished for us by His life, death and resurrection, and we strive for holiness only through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Still, there is a sinkhole that even believers who live by grace can fall into and the Apostle Paul addresses it in Romans 6. After explaining the grace we have in Christ in the chapter before, Paul poses the question, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” If our works don’t save us then we’re free to sin all the more because it’s covered by grace. Right? Wrong! Paul continues, “By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” I fear there are many of us today who have found ourselves using grace incorrectly and because of it we are comfortably living in sin.


There is a difference in sinning, and comfortably living in sin. When a Christian sins, he or she should, by the Holy Spirit’s conviction and power, grieve and turn from sin, daily remembering that it is for sin that our Lord suffered and gave His life. On the other hand, comfortably living in sin is an affront to Christ because it forsakes what He accomplished on your behalf. The German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his well known book, The Cost of Discipleship, labels this “cheap grace”. He wrote, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” This “cheap grace” he later contrasts with what he defines as “costly grace”. “Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


In this month’s issue, as is the case each month, we are sharing several articles that will echo God’s call for His children to live holy as He is holy. As you read these challenges, don’t run off and try to live a form of works based righteousness like I did in my early years as a Christian. And on the other side, don’t cheapen grace by excusing your sin as just part and parcel with being a sinner. God’s love should compel us to embrace His truth by faith and put on His armor, knowing the power and blessing of our faith, to live for His honor and glory. Consider how Paul ends Romans 6, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”


We pray this issue of River Region’s Journey will be a blessing to you and the friends you share it with. If after reading this month’s issue, you would like to talk with someone about faith in Christ and living under His Lordship, please contact me 213-7940 ext 701 or by email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Grace and Peace.
 

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 09:04
Jason Watson

Jason Watson

For nearly twenty years Jason has been discipling individuals and families across the River Region with the good news that Jesus has made a way for us to become fully human again - to live free from sin's curse now and one day to be fully restored in the New Heaven and Earth.  He served on the staff of Frazer UMC and Grace Presbyterian until he, together with his wife DeAnne, decided to devote themselves full-time to publishing River Region's Journey.  Jason now serves as an Elder in his church and publishes local faith and family magazines in several Alabama cities.

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