Acts 20:24–But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
What is this gospel of the grace of God? Grace is a gift. The gospel is a gift. We receive this gift through faith. We walk in this gospel through the Spirit. This sounds plain and straight forward. However, the enemy tries to divert and subvert the grace part of the gospel. He was doing this with the Galatians and Paul strongly confronted them. The enemy has been defeated and yet the he still attacks us. If he can divert us away from His grace, even in a small way, he is leading us to a partial grace gospel or a gospel without grace. Grace is at the heart of the gospel so it is no wonder the enemy attacks and tries to lead us away from and blind us to His grace. Galatians 1:6–I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—
Paul had taught them about the gospel of grace, but some entered into their midst to teach a distorted version of the gospel. The gospel becomes distorted when grace is removed or lessoned. Paul felt strongly about anyone who would teach a gospel without grace or a mixture of grace and law. Galatians 1:9–As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Paul was called by grace. He knew grace in a personal way. Grace was a vital part of the gospel that saved Paul. Galatians 1:15–But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,
We cannot earn His favor through religion or our own efforts. Even though the Galatians put themselves back under the old law, we face similar attacks/temptations today when we mix grace with our self-efforts. Justification is a gift/grace. There is nothing we can do to add to our justification. Galatians 2:21–I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Grace, faith and the Spirit go hand-in-hand. We are saved by our faith in a gospel of grace and then walk by the Spirit in His grace. Galatians 3:2–Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?
Once we have faith in the gospel of grace the enemy tries to lead us away from a grace walk and from being led by His Spirit to a walk based on our own efforts or a mixture of the Spirit and our own efforts. He will throw guilt and condemnation at us that threatens our faith in His sacrifice and our justification. Galatians 3:3–Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
God has redeemed us from the law. We have been set free from the law and are now under grace. He wants us to trust that the sacrifice of His Son has done it all. Galatians 5:4–You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. Romans 5:1–Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:2–Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
If we do not have a law to guide us, how do we follow Him? How do we deal with our flesh without laws, to keep our flesh under control? If we believe in salvation offered to us by the sacrifice of His Son, how do we walk in this grace gospel? We do not need laws to deal with our flesh. Galatians 5:16–But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
We believe in a gospel of grace by faith. We do not live by laws but by the Spirit. Often times we tend to mix His grace with our efforts. I will try hard in 5% of my life, God, and trust your grace for 95%. Or, more likely, I will work hard at 50% of my walk and trust your grace for the other 50%. Unbeknownst to ourselves, we are diluting His grace much like the Galatians. He wants us to be 100% dependent on His grace, walking by and led by His Spirit in faith. The gospel of grace and a walk in His Spirit are inseparable. We are saved by His grace, justified by His grace. Then we walk in this grace through the leading of the Spirit, not through our well intentioned, self-effort. He is in the driver’s seat we are in the back seat. Galatians 5:18–But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
What about our weaknesses? How do we deal with those and walk in a gospel of grace? 2 Corinthians 12:9–But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I have been walking with the Lord for 50 years as of last month. For the last 20 years I have been searching the scriptures to learn more about the depths of His grace. One thing I have learned is how many teachings I have allowed into my heart and mind that focus on what I have to do, my self-effort. Over the years these teachings have been sort of packed into my heart, in some ways hammered in especially in a few more legalistic churches early in my walk. It is these very teachings that have made it difficult for me to comprehend His grace. I have read scriptures about me being justified but just read over them not really understanding. When we have these teachings that focus on what I have to do instilled in us it makes it very hard to comprehend His grace ie. that I am justified. And our justification is just one of the many, many aspects of His grace. A repeated focus on what I have to do, can harden our hearts impeding our understanding the gospel of grace and have the same impact the law had on the Galatians, leading us away from grace. A law gospel is basically trying to live by our self-effort or by the strength of our flesh. A gospel of grace is living by faith in His strength, trusting that He is in us and will live through us. And then there is the mixture or partial gospel, living by the strength of our flesh mixed with His grace/Spirit. Grace and the Spirit are inseparable. A grace gospel is totally dependent on His Spirit, trusting that He is in us and will live through us, sans self-effort. Romans 8:2–For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Paul was admonishing the Galatians to get back to a gospel of grace. Galatians 5:4
You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. Galatians 5:5–For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. I no longer receive a mixture gospel teaching or anything into my heart and mind that is not based on His grace and a total dependency on the leading of His Spirit. When we mix our efforts with His grace, we are diluting grace.
Lord may you protect us from the enemy who wants to lead us away from your grace that our walk with you may be 100% grace and zero per cent us. Open our eyes that we may comprehend Your gospel of grace. May You soften our hearts and remove any teachings that have been planted that divert us away from Your grace and a faith walk led by Your Spirit. May we finish the course and ministry that You have given each of us that we may testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Galatians 6:18–The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.