“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” - Romans 6:15
Is Grace Powerful Enough To Change A Believer?
Paul’s ministry to the church was an exclusive one. By that I mean this: the meaning of the new covenant given to Paul—and to Paul alone. He was instructed by the Lord Himself as to the veracity and power available to any man through faith in God’s true redemption plan.
When a person places his faith in who Christ is and what He accomplished for us at Calvary, God’s grace, the moving and operation of the Spirit, begins a miraculous work in his heart and life. In less than a moment, the Spirit regenerates him and causes him to become a new creation as he is baptized (figuratively) into the person of Christ (see I Cor. 12:13; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27). The Spirit then becomes the power source or “newness of life” spoken of in Romans 6:4. Therefore, by faith he receives the power to become a child of God through grace (Eph. 2:8-9).
Paul also taught that the means of salvation is the same means by which we are sanctified. In Colossians 2:6 Paul wrote, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” One aspect of the grace of God is the sanctifying work of the Spirit in the life of the believer. We walk in this new source of power by faith. Faith must be in Christ and Him crucified alone or God does not recognize it as legitimate faith. No legitimate faith equals very little grace of God for sanctification purposes. Much faith in the cross brings much grace for sanctification.
Having explained the routes to salvation and sanctification, we get to the big question: Now that I am no longer under law but under grace, is grace powerful enough to change and keep me? My faith is in the cross. Will I be able to stand and advance in my walk with the Lord? I’m afraid most preachers would say that faith and grace are insufficient. I teach that we are changed as a result of properly placed faith; faith that centers on the sacrifice of Christ. I fear they would state that change can only come when there is a lot of Christian disciplines and willpower. Sadly, these would put the believer back under law, if followed, which is spiritual suicide.
What About Christian Disciplines?
I am a strong advocate of Christian disciplines. By that I mean a believer has to discipline himself to take full advantage of all that God has to offer. Bible study is a must: “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (II Tim. 2:15). Prayer is a discipline that must be cultivated; it is work to establish a consistent prayer life. Attendance to a local church is mandatory. We are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. If there is no one who preaches the cross where you live, then join us on the SonLife Broadcasting Network until the Lord leads you to one. God’s grace places the desire for these things in our lives as well as supplying the power we need to accomplish them.
The danger in being disciplined is that we might begin to place our faith in those disciplines. When this happens, we are trusting in what we do and not in what God has furnished for us through Calvary. I choose to practice basic Christian disciplines as I know they will help me to better understand and believe all that God has done for me in Christ. I truly am complete in Him!
What About Moral Code?
Since God’s moral code was ensconced primarily in the Ten Commandments, am I free from moral code because I am no longer living under Mosaic law? God forbid! To be honest, you are more accountable than ever! Jeremiah 31:33 promises that God would write the law (moral code) into the heart of the believer who participates in the new covenant. In Hebrews 8, and again in Hebrews 10, Paul states (if he indeed wrote Hebrews) that the new covenant is a better covenant in part because of the Holy Spirit’s work of writing moral code into the fabric of your heart! For example, under the law one was told not to commit adultery. But under the terms of grace, the believer can’t even look upon a woman to lust after her, much less fulfill that wrong desire.
Grace can give the believer both the desire and the power to carry out the will of God.
Law told us what God’s will was but failed to supply the power to overcome the evil that resides in the human heart. Only by faith and through grace is that possible. And then it’s not about us working, it’s all about God working (Phil. 2:13) as a result of one’s properly placed faith. My friend, His grace is sufficient! Therefore, I discipline myself to learn and ever depend upon what God has done for me in Christ. I discipline myself so that I might be able to hear from Him and learn of what He wants done through my life. I am kept morally strong by keeping my faith in the cross and receiving grace from God on a daily basis. I am what I am by the grace of God!