Walking in God's Grace
Featuring Tom Kraeuter Posted on February 6, 2010
“How can I lead worship? I have failed God over and over again. I even know better and I still blow it. He could not possibly use me to bring people into His presence, could He?” I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have heard these thoughts from people involved in the ministry of praise and worship. It has probably been on the lips of, or, at the very least, on the mind of everyone who has ever aspired to lead God’s people in worship. Every one of us at some point in time has felt as though we have failed the Lord by our actions or words.
Of all the problems within the church today, I believe that the most prevalent is a failure to comprehend or fully believe the power of the gospel of Jesus. As I travel and talk with people, the thing they seem to despise the most is their own consistent inadequacies and failures before the Lord. There is no question that we have failed the Lord and will continue to do so. For this reason, God has made a way for us to find forgiveness and acceptance through Jesus’ atoning work on Calvary. When we confess our sins with a heart to turn from them, the blood of Jesus truly does wash away our sins and the accompanying guilt we feel. If we could begin to grasp this seemingly simple concept, I am totally convinced that we would see major changes within our lives and ministries.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes...” (Romans 1:16). The gospel does not just contain the facts about the power of God but it is the power of God—“...for salvation...” The Bible is very clear that salvation is far more than being saved from hell—it is the entire redemption (from sin, sickness, the curse of the law, etc.) which Jesus purchased for us on the cross. The gospel is the power of God.
In practical terms, this means that by realizing and walking in God’s grace each and every day, we will find far more power than by trying to live in our own strength. Beating on ourselves when we blow it yields no extra power to change. If we simply repent, however, and allow the mercies of the Lord to flood our being, we will find ourselves beginning to walk in His power, rather than in our own inconsistent strength.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Did the Lord call you into His kingdom? Did He forgive you when you were born again? Do you think that maybe, just maybe, He knew beforehand the failures you would commit after you became a Christian? Was He just toying with you then or is His forgiveness far-reaching enough to have effect even now? Obviously, even though He was fully aware of how you would fail, the Lord still called you into His kingdom. His grace is sufficient.
As you continue your walk with the Lord you will undoubtedly “blow it” again. It is not a question of living a perfectly sinless life. If we had the power to do that on our own then Jesus died for no reason. The real issue here is how we deal with our sin once we have committed it.
Our natural tendency is to act as Adam did when he sinned and try to hide from God. We know we too have fallen short, and we feel that putting distance between ourselves and the Lord is the best way to handle it. Isn’t that just like our sinful nature? We attempt to deal with the problem in a way that is totally opposite from God’s way. He would have us turn to Him in repentance, even like the prodigal son, and find grace and forgiveness from our loving heavenly Father.
The third chapter of Ephesians helps drive home this point: “...that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God“ (Ephesians 3:17-19). Being rooted and grounded in His love and knowing His love will cause us to be filled up to all the fullness of God. We are not filled up to all the fullness of God by working for Him more diligently. Even praying more or studying the Bible more will not fill us up to the fullness of God, although these will ultimately be by-products of knowing His love. We will be filled up to the fullness of God only when we comprehend and believe that God loves us as much as He does.
If we will learn that indeed His mercy can cover any failure, then it will be easier for us to continually believe He can use us. Seeing ourselves as holy and blameless in His sight will cause us to act differently. If we take the run-and-hide approach, we will find ourselves further from God each time we sin. But if, instead, we will run to the Lord, we will find a power that will make an ongoing difference within our lives and in our walk with the Lord.
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