Set Your Hope On The Grace Of God
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Grace of God
Most of the established denominational churches that profess to follow Christ stress the grace and mercy of God. We are in desperate need of God’s mercy and grace, for without it, we would be subject to His judgement. God goes to great lengths to remind us that it is only by His mercy and grace that we are permitted to be alive, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Grace is very important to remember and dwell upon, for in our time of need (which is every second of every day), we need to rely upon God’s character – both mercy and grace – to carry us throughout the day. It is comforting to know that God is so generous with us because the other aspect of His nature – holiness – should give us great pause in how we view His grace and mercy.
The modern church often times stresses the grace and mercy of God as a way of living without the proper balance of the other portion of His character – holiness. And while we are aware that God is holy, when we solely rely upon His grace and mercy without considering His holiness and righteousness, we do both God and ourselves a disservice.
We are told to fear God (reverentially and humbly view Him through the lens of love since He is, by definition, the embodiment of holiness). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is foolishness to embrace God’s grace and mercy without embracing God’s holiness as well.
In order to embrace God’s holiness, we must first recognize that holiness is the abject hatred, scorn, and revulsion of evil. It is only through despising evil that we can remove ourselves from its very strong call even after being freed from its bondage. As beings with a predisposition towards sin, we are naturally attracted to and can easily embrace that which offends Almighty God. It is only after understanding God’s viewpoint of sin that we are able to align ourselves and identify with God’s position on it.
Without a profound revelation of how much God abhors evil, we won’t be able to view it in the same way that God does. And God understands that since we are predisposed towards sin, He offers us grace and mercy. It is only through His grace and mercy that we can be forgiven such great offense towards God. Until we are broken by our sin, we will eagerly embrace grace and mercy without the singular revulsion toward that which God so deeply despises.
As image-bearers of God, we have a sacred obligation to do that which we were created to do: to display the glory and holiness of God. As recipients of grace and mercy, we are given the tools to do this. Christ has broken the very strong hold that sin exerts in the lives of those who accept the free gift of God through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. In receiving this wonderful gift, we are not to abuse God’s grace and mercy:
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Living life completely dependent upon God’s grace and mercy without taking into account our own actions is to abuse God’s leniency. As we submit our lives to the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus Christ did, we will find that we more greatly desire the holiness of God and obedience to His word as we seek to distance ourselves from that which offends God. It is through the discipline of submission and obedience that we participate in the character of God, as Jesus modeled for us when He walked the Earth two thousand years ago. As disciples of Christ, it behooves us to carefully consider our every action, word, and thought, that we would better emulate the character of the One that created us in order to reflect His love – the balance between grace, mercy, and holiness.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I seeking the holiness of God to the same extent that I see His grace and mercy?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, I thank You for all that You have done to free me from the bondage of sin. Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that I may live. Thank You for Your grace and mercy when I fail to be who You created me to be. Help me to submit myself to You so that I can live in the manner in which You have chosen for me to live before the foundation of the world. Guard me and guide me in all my ways. May I live solely to please You as I seek to walk with Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to be the disciple that You so very much want me to be. Help me always to remember that You are holy, and to not abuse Your grace and mercy. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.