Posted by: austend | Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Discipline of Grace Ch. 1

Chapter 1 “How Good is Good Enough?”

We are not saved by works.  We are saved by grace alone through faith alone.  Most Christians know this, but they then forget that we also now live by grace.  We do not now live our Christian lives by our works.  We live by grace!

“God’s blessing [in our daily lives] does not depend on our performance.”  Because we have a bad, sinful day does not mean that God is “angry with us” and will make our day miserable.  Yes, sin grieves Him, but when we “mess up” we do not forfeit that day’s blessings from God.  Likewise, when we have a good day when we are “on fire for the Lord” we do not receive extra blessings.  God only relates to us through grace—giving us what we do not deserve.  Our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, and our good works are eclipsed by the good works of Jesus Christ.  How we live is not the determiner of God’s blessing on us.

“Through Christ [God] is now our Heavenly Father who disciplines us only out of love and only for our good.”  He does not punish us out of a grudge because we violated His commandments yesterday.

Oftentimes in the Christian life we experience guilt.

“We have been exposed to the disciplines of the Christian life, to obedience, and to service, and in our hearts we have responded to those challenges.  We haven’t, however, been as successful as others around us appear to be.  Or we find ourselves dealing with some of the sins of the heart such as anger, resentment, covetousness, and as judgmental attitude.  Perhaps we struggle with impure thoughts or impatience, or a lack of faith and trust in God.  Because we have put the Gospel on the shelf as far as our own lives are concerned, we struggle with a sense of failure and guilt.  We believe God is displeased with us, and we certainly wouldn’t expect His blessing on our lives.  After all, we don’t deserve His favor.  Because we are focusing on our performance, we forget the meaning of grace: God’s unmerited favor to those who deserve only His wrath.  Pharisee-type believers unconsciously think they have earned God’s blessing through their behavior.  Guilt-laden believers are quite sure they have forfeited God’s blessing through their lack of discipline or their disobedience.  Both have forgotten the meaning of grace because they have moved away from the Gospel and have slipped into a performance relationship with God….the only way we can relate to God is through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.”

“No matter how much we’ve stumbled and fallen today, God does not count our sins against us (Romans 4.8).”

“Christ died that we should no longer live for ourselves but for Him (2 Corinthians 5.15).”

“Duty or guilt may motivate for a while, but only a sense of Christ’s love for us will motivate us for a lifetime.”

Material including all quotations taken from:
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2006). {here}

This is part of a series of posts {here}.

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