I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Phil 4:13

I have finally awakened to the PRESENCE of supernatural GRACE (“charis – # 5485”) in the new Maria.  What new Maria?  I’m referring to the new creature that I became when I was born again.  God’s Holy Spirit was deposited in me at that moment when I passed from death to life.  I am now a daughter of God the Father and equipped with a new nature and new rights.  As His child, He deposited faith in me and gave me access to all the grace needed to obey His will.  And if the HS was powerful enough to raise a dead Jesus to life, He can do anything in me that is His will.

Newly aware of the GRACE that is rightfully mine (according to the inheritance stipulations), I am sorting out logical implications.

What is this logic?  If God saved us by GRACE, can’t we now expect God to continue to provide us with GRACE to live faithfully day by day?  Why would we, once we began the life of faith, then revert back to living our lives powered by our own strength, skill, talent & knowledge?

To be honest, you & I probably were unaware that GRACE saved us, that it was not something we did ourselves.  (It might FEEL like we made a decision to follow Christ, but that only was possible once God made us alive in Him.  Dead men don’t choose God and we were born dead.)   A moment in time changed our status and destination forever.

And since that time, we are growing into mature Christians.  (If we are not growing, maybe we haven’t been born again!).  We are learning from Scriptures how we were saved by GRACE, through faith deposited in us by God.  Once aware of this GRACE as redeemed sinners in the process of being renovated, we have time to savor, to muse about this GRACE.

Understanding GRACE is important. Remember the silly Galatians?  Paul saves his harshest words for them.  He point blank asks them whether they intend to walk with God, powered by their own strength or in total dependence on God’s strength.   This is not a trifling point of doctrine.  Paul did not call them silly, but sinful.

The Bible is very clear that anything we do on our own, not relying on God through faith is sinful, disobedient and repugnant to God.  He calls all such works filthy, no matter how ‘good’ in the eyes of the world. (Isaiah 64:6)  In Romans 8, Paul calls deeds done on our own, ‘deeds done in the flesh’.  And what is done in the flesh God calls a hostile deed, leading to death and by definition SIN.  Further in Romans, Paul wraps up God’s view this way: “…. and everything that does not come from faith is sin?” (Romans 14:23b).  ‘Coming from faith’ means ‘done by/ powered by faith’

In conclusion, EVERYTHING we do in our own strength without relying on God’s supernatural, Holy Spirit is not even worth doing.  This morning I heard a pastor pray, “Lord, I have so little time left in my life at age 57 that I don’t want to waste my life doing anything that requires no faith”.  Francis Chan asks his readers in Crazy Love, something like, “What are you doing in your life that requires any faith?”

As we seek to avoid the sin of assuming we can do ANYTHING pleasing to God powered by human strength, let us not forget all we will be able to do in obedience to God IN/ BY/ THROUGH Christ.  This is reassuring and freeing.  We are like little one-year-olds, learning to walk.  Picture a daddy, holding on to both raised hands of his little one, ‘walking’ his precious child.  The child is being held up by his dad as his little feet move.  But Dad and all the family applaud warmly and with resounding ‘bravos’ as the soon-to-be toddler takes his first assisted steps.  This is how God wants us to be.  He gives us all the help we need to do His will and then praises us for depending totally on Him.  What a deal!

What’s the catch?  It feels costly, since it deprives our most precious sin of any food.  We can no longer boast that our deeds were due to us!  But, in both the long and short run, this is a small price to pay to please our heavenly father.