By Grant Hawley
New believers in Christ are often so full of joy that they are almost floating through life. They share their faith with excitement and love fellowshipping with the saints. Almost as often, that joy melts away to some degree over time. This is because attacks from the world, from the enemy, and from ourselves, along with misinformation from popular culture and even from church leaders, confuse us about the nature of grace.
Accepting grace as a principle of life—keeping our minds wrapped around it—seems to be one of the hardest things for Christians to do. We know we have been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, but we go about the Christian life as if we are still in need of earning God's love.
Here's the key to getting it: "It is finished!" (John 19:30). This is what Jesus said on the cross immediately before giving up His last breath. It's done.
The Apostle John says that Jesus is "the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:2). Now, most people don't use the word propitiation in everyday life, so it can be easy to miss what this verse means. The word propitiation means a full and satisfactory payment. Jesus is the full and satisfactory payment for the sins of the whole world. He is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). There's nothing left to pay. There's nothing left to do to earn God's favor, because He has done it all.
The author of Hebrews said this:
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:14-16)
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (Heb 10:19-22)
Jesus was completely without sin, and He acts as our High Priest. Having offered His own blood as a sacrifice, He has paved our way in to meet God freely and without fear.
What that means is that when we approach God in prayer or in any other way, there is only one basis for coming to Him—the blood of Jesus. We can't come to God on the basis of what we have done. If we've had a good week with had some success in obeying the Lord, that gives us no more of a right to come to Him than we had before. If we've had a bad week and lived in disobedience, that in no way takes away from our right to come to Him—because, "It is finished!" God does not see our righteous deeds as a basis of coming to Him or our sins as a reason to keep us from Him. He sees the precious blood of Jesus. And that is enough for Him (it should be for us as well).
So brothers and sisters, know that you can always come to God and live in His presence on the basis of the blood of Christ alone. You don't need to hide who you are or what you have done from the God who sees all. He accepts you as you are because of what Jesus has done. Knowing this and resting in it is the first step in a fruitful walk with the Living God.
Part 2, coming soon, is a study of Eph 1:3 and the basis for our victory in the Christian life.