Remove the Wrappings

Friday, Apr. 3

“We don’t generate grace; we allow it to happen.—Doug Burch. This is an novel way of acknowledging that grace is a gift to be received, not something that we can produce. It’s a fairly obvious statement, but yet we often miss out on grace. Yes, when we accept the gift of salvation we appropriate grace. We “let it happen.” But we are also given a lot more grace after conversion, which is where we miss out. Paul writes a magnificent description of the spiritual riches that are poured out on us in Ephesians 1. Most of the rest of the epistle is exhorting us to use those gifts to advance the process of sanctification. Clearly, we have a choice in the matter. We can either try to become righteous by our own efforts or by relying on God (in particular, the Holy Spirit) to accomplish it. So there is a bit more to it than “letting it happen.” We don’t just sit back and expect God to pour it into us like a funnel. We need to be active about it, while at the same time realizing that it is God doing it. I’m reminded of Rom. 12:1-2. Here we are told to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We don’t transform our own minds, we allow it to happen. It is clear in v. 1 that we have to take action before the changing and renewing takes place. We are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. I think that this is a daily if not moment by moment thing. Paul says that this is our act of service, something that we need to do. I think of the riches of grace as the tools. We either use the tools or we don’t. In either case, sanctification will be fully complete only when we leave this life. But sanctification is important in this life, because becoming like Christ is critical in being a witness to unbelievers, the job that God has called us to do.
So accept the gift, but unwrap it, embrace it, and use it. Nice thing about God’s gifts. They don’t wear out!

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