A Lifetime of Second Chances
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Paul used a beautiful phrase to describe the believer’s position in Christ: “We have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand ... ” (Rom. 5:2, emphasis added). This is no puddle of mercy that barely wets the toes, but rather a mighty ocean. The Lord’s kindness wraps around us without regard for our past mistakes and failures.
God’s grace is an essential concept for believers to understand. He freely offers His favor to mankind because Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross purchased forgiveness and salvation for anyone who believes. However, many people think they are enjoying God’s kindness when what they are really trying to do is earn it. If we have to purchase, merit, or work for grace, then it is not a gift (Eph. 2:8-9). The Lord is very clear that works cannot save us—in fact, He compares our good deeds to filthy rags (Isa. 64:6).
On the other hand, God’s grace is not license to be lazy; Christians are called upon to serve the Lord every day. From the outside, it is usually impossible to distinguish between works and service in someone else’s life. But God knows the motivation of every heart. He is pleased by the things we do to show Him our love and to express appreciation for His countless blessings. Such actions bring glory to His name.
Keep in mind that serving God in order to earn His favor or ensure that He continues blessing you amounts to thwarting grace. You can do nothing to deserve the Lord’s kindness! He pours it upon believers freely, so the only thing you can “do” is receive it.