Grace: No Longer By Works
Romans chapter 7 through 10 continue to expound on multiple themes like a Mozart symphony. The word “grace” next appears in chapter 11.
Romans 11:1-6 “1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah–how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
My journey to learn the grace of God continues with a simple, profound point: let grace be grace. I work because of grace, not to earn grace. I live no longer by works. I live by grace.
Elijah worked hard for the Lord. Yet all his hard work only led to depression, and failure to see God’s chosen remnant of 7,000. When I lived by works, I came to the point, like Elijah, where I thought I was the “only one left”, the only one who really worked for the Lord. When I let the flood of grace enter my heart, mind and soul, my eyes were opened to see God’s chosen remnant.
I share the following prayer from John Piper’s sermon:
“O Lord, grant us grace to see and understand and savor the freedom of your sovereign grace. Help us to feel our helplessness without it. Help us to see our sin and our bondage to sin – our sinful nature. Help us to realize in the depths of our soul that we are slaves to pride and that without grace we are hopeless and lost. So humble us before you and before each other. And grant us to trust in the fullness of what Christ purchased for us – the riches of your grace, the fellowship your suffering, and the everlasting joy of your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
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