Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Christ Alone. That’s how the Christian is saved, it’s classic reformation theology, and it’s the best news ever. Man, that’s something to make you joyful, as it levels your pride and leaves you, humbled, in the dust.
But here’s the thing – twice in the last couple of months I have had teachers say “But wait, there’s more.”
Before you hasten away to your heresy bell, or call down the heavens to smite me, it’s not that these things aren’t enough. God’s grace is enough. Christ is most certainly enough. Even a childlike faith, or one the size of a mustard seed, is enough for you to have the Spirit, and thus salvation.
You are saved by grace, but there’s more.
Phillip Jensen, at NTE last year said this to us, as did Rory Shiner at the same conference. To say we are saved by Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, is true. But if we are happy to say that we are saved, and thus what we do does not matter, we are pouring contempt upon grace, insulting Christ and perhaps need to question if we are wearing the grace that we think we are.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” – Titus 2:11-14
This was the passage referred to by the third preacher to expound the idea at hand. Tim Blencowe (who, incidentally, is a great teacher and someone whose words were the Spirit at work, rebuking me and at least some of my friends) was direct; the grace of God saves, but it does more – if we like the idea of salvation by grace, but don’t like the idea of putting in some effort, we are trying to USE Christ. It is trying to con the guy for whom everything is from, through and to. This is the guy who stepped forward to take your hit for you, went to the grave to give you everything, and you are trying to cheat Him.
Here’s just a couple of the things that Tim said, that were MEGA helpful;
- Grace is not a card you keep in your pocket. It’s not a security pass that is hidden except when we need to whip it out in order to attain entry into heaven
- Grace is like a cloak God gives us that hides our sinfulness. That doesn’t mean we ARE sinless, but it is as if we were. But if you are cultivating sin underneath the cloak, allowing things to grow and fester and infect, like mould, we are ignoring the transforming power of grace
- If the cloak of grace is not changing you underneath then you are, quite simply, wearing the wrong cloak.
- We are holding fast to Christ, fixing our eyes on Him. That is, the white-hot, burning, blazing GOD you are grasping. Are you shaking in your boots a little? Because you should be, or else you don’t really get who He is.
- As a result, this is serious stuff. Under that cloak of grace, you are being renewed. Otherwise, why the heck did he give you the cloak? (Read the last 2 lines of the Titus passage. I reckon Tim’s spot on with this, but we often forget it).
- Because of all these things, we had better have a plan for dealing with anything icky hiding under this cloak.
“Don’t you DARE mock all that God has done to call you his child.”
That’s what we do when we don’t go into combat with our sin or live with a fear of God.
As Tim said, the Spirit is obviously hard at work in us, if he is doing all those things. What a Father we have. Don’t doubt his commitment to you.
I hope you guys found this helpful. God used Tim’s words to smash me, and to get me excited about living his way. What a Father we have, that he would save AND transform us by his eternal grace. Amen.