How do we frustrate the grace of God in our lives?
Following on from last week’s post let’s explore what it means to frustrate the grace of God in our lives – some of these points flow immediately from Gal. 2:21 others in considering the subject in greater detail…. (If you have not read it, I do recommend you read the previous post)
1. In the immediate context of Galatians 2:21 it is most obviously attempting to be justified and live the kind of lives God wants us to live by law – trying to obtain it – that’s what the Galatians were doing – it was about performance (Note Gal. 3:1), adding something to what Jesus has done, doing our part and leads to judgemental, joyless and powerless Christianity.
2. Connected with that is unbelief – failure to believe that Jesus is everything – that we are righteous in Christ – remember we become what we believe.
3. The failure to receive. It is one thing to believe it it is another to receive it. There needs to be a daily reception of and living in grace.
4. There is nothing like fear to rob us of the blessings of God’s grace and keep us locked up in ourselves.
5. Living by our feelings – now there is a right place for feelings, but when we live by them we frustrate the grace of God in our lives by failing to walk in faith and trust God.
6. By neglecting the ‘Means of Grace’ – not referred to much these days, but needs to be brought to the fore again. There’s a whole list – the gospel/evangelism, baptism, Communion/the Lord’s Supper/Breaking of Bread, prayer, the Word, preaching, fellowship, church discipline, spiritual gifts, and therefore the church in which most of those activities take place.
7. A failure to obey when God has spoken – God gives grace for all that he asks of us.
8. When we choose darkness over light (1 John 1) the grace that comes to us from fellowship with God is hindered/frustrated.
9. Failure to deal with temptation – there’s grace to say ‘no’.
10. Failure to deal with sin.
11. Failure to forgive when we’ve been sinned against frustrates the grace of God in our lives.
12. The failure to recognise God’s dealings with us – “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Cor. 12:8,9
13. Speaking negatively/failure to confess our faith. Without wanting to buy into the whole confession approach there is in scripture clear reference to the way we speak and it’s impact on us. We need to believe and confess the truth regarding who we are in Christ and that’s what Paul was doing.
14. Unwillingness to sacrifice – it’s contrary to our world but it is a way God displays his grace in and through our lives.
15. When we fail to humble ourselves we frustrate the grace of God. James 4:6 “But he gives more grace. For this reason it says: ‘God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”
If we took seriously these points imagine what a grace flow there would be in our lives! And how as Paul says to the Galatians Christ would be ‘formed in us’ as we believe, receive, appropriate and live in the fullness of God’s grace.