My son and associate Pastor, Frank Jr. are putting together a book on grace. The title will be; “And Then Came Grace”. This blog is the introduction to what we hope will be a very helpful, and encouraging book for all believers to read.
AND THEN CAME GRACE
Like so many, as a new Christian I understood I was saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8), but very quickly fell into a doctrine of legalistic works. This occurred, and continues to occur because when we first come to the Lord we feel so inadequate, and unworthy of salvation, which we are, that it opens the door to legalism. At this impressionable time of infancy in Christ I began fellowshipping with a group of sincere believers that followed a very legalistic doctrine. It is so easy, and almost seems natural after we are saved to believe our walk is now up to us as a work of the flesh. As we are told in Gal 5:7, as we began with grace we must not allow anyone cut in on us with a doctrine of legalistic works. This is exactly what happened to me. The denomination I became involved with as a new believer taught that when you are baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit it is possible to be sanctified to the point that you can live life without ever committing willful sin. I became so enamored with this teaching, and so convinced of its validity that I became a Pastor in that denomination. The problem I faced concerning this doctrine of sinless perfection was that no matter how hard I tried, and attempted to convince myself of its possibility, I always fell short. My own preaching, which was fire and brimstone, kept me under a bondage of guilt, fear, and inadequacy. I truly believed all the other Pastors, and even my parishioners had achieved this state of sinless perfection, and I was the only one who had not. The sense of hypocrisy, and self-condemnation I felt became so overwhelming that there were times I felt like giving up. “And then came grace.” I read Pastor Chuck Smith’s book; “Why Grace Changes Everything”, and it was as if fresh air was filling my spiritual lungs, it was like a soft gentle cleansing rain to my soul. My belief in the basic fundamental doctrines hadn’t changed, my love for the Word hadn’t changed, nor my desire to grow, but my walk changed drastically. I no longer walked in fear, or in a continual sense of failure, but in hope, peace, and joy. Let me share a simple analogy I have often share with my church. If you want to teach your child to hit a baseball, and you give then all the proper instructions on how to hold a bat, stand at the plate, keeping their eyes on the ball, but then say, if you miss when I pitch the ball you’re a failure and I will punish you. My friends that child will be so fearful of failing that they will never swing, and this whole learning process will be full of fear, and dread for them. This of course is like the Law, legalism at worse stunts a believer, and at best takes all joy from their walk. But, if give your child all the same instructions but then tell them; “I will give you all the chances you need until you hit the ball, and when you do we will celebrate together”. This my friends is grace.
True grace is never carnal liberty, but the very means by which we grow in our walk with the Lord. 2 Peter 3:18; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.