If you have been brought up in religious Christianity, then you come away with a sense that grace is received when certain things happen.
Religion says you get grace WHEN
- you get ‘saved’ – now you are experiencing God’s grace (and you get ‘saved’ WHEN you acknowledge you are a sinner, repent of your sins, ask God for forgiveness, ask Jesus to be your Savior)
- you continue to repent of future sins and ask for forgiveness
- you ask for grace in difficult situations – otherwise you won’t have enough
- you give grace to others, then you will get more grace
- you have obeyed/done all the things that supposedly give grace – e.g. pray, fast, tithe, attend church regularly, be involved in church work, evangelize
Religion also teaches there is a WHERE – certain times or circumstances to experiencing grace.
Religion teaches you get grace HERE and HOW
- especially flows during a church service
- in the midst of doing good works
- from lots of prayer and fasting
- participating in corporate responses – e.g. everyone fast because there is “grace on it”
Religion is also very clear in why you need grace.
Religion explains WHY you need grace
- because you are such a wretched person
- it will make you a nicer person
- it will enable you to do things for God
In fact, religion teaches – grace is so important, if you don’t get it, you are doomed to hell.
The religious mindset is – God has done His part, now you must do yours.
God’s part was sending grace through His Son, now we must do our part. Can you see how conditional religion has made grace?
Hey, religion does that with God’s love too. They preach that God’s love is unconditional, but next thing you know, they tack on conditions to experience it. Go figure.
- Hey, ever heard of this religious phrase? If you have ‘fallen away’ and ‘get right’ with God, then you will get “back in His good graces”. Does that mean God takes grace back or removes it when you sin? So, it is you and your sin that determines His grace? Is grace that conditional? Wonder what religion does with “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”? (Rom 5:20) How about “by one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many“. (Rom 5:15 emphasis mine) How many is many? In the Greek, it’s the same word for ‘many’. Hmm.
- Religion confuses us with their conditional . If God’s love is truly unconditional, then that would mean His grace is too. If you feel limited in His grace abounding to you, then just figure you have let religion do a number on you. It has turned you upside down, so you can’t see Grace right!
- Religion would say it’s a good thing Jesus came, otherwise we would not know grace. Wonder what they do with this verse – “…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus BEFORE TIME BEGAN.” (2Tim 1:9 emphasis mine) Hmm, looks like grace has always been.
P.S. Next we get into exploring His true grace!