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The previous episode of this series was about God’s grace and its influence on sinners. In today’s post we are going to see what it does in the believer.
Grace and sanctification
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean…, John 13:10 (NIV)
What Jesus meant here was everyone who believe in him need occasional correction though they are free from sin as a whole. Jesus was referring to the doctrine of sanctification.
Sanctification is possible purely because of grace. There’s enough room to fall short of God’s expectations during our life on this earth even after accepting Jesus Christ as the Lord and savior. At such times, if I am still under the law I would have to start over (take a bath). But grace gives me a second chance to repent and overcome my weakness with the help of the Holy Spirit, (wash my feet).
In sanctification man and God corporate with each other to achieve the desired goal. Then repentance is essential. Therefore sanctification is made possible by grace only. Through it we can approach God in repentance with out the fear of being condemned. Hebrews 4:16 says,
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV)
Strength to resist temptation
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (NIV)
We are sinful in nature. We are fallen human beings living in a sinful world. Salvation sets us free from all sin but it doesn’t alter our fallen condition. We inherit it by birth (Psalm 51:5) and remains in us until death. This nature (also called desire of the flesh), pulls us back so much despite our will to obey God’s word, we end up in a spiritual tug of war. Galatians 5:17 says,
“For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (NIV)
The desires of the flesh are very strong and seeking to overcome them in our own will power is hopeless. Not even the most ambitious, pious Christian can overcome the lusts of the flesh in his own will power. It’s rather a joint effort for it takes two things to be an over-comer. My will power and God’s grace. Think about it in the form of a formula.
Me + My will power = failure
Me + My will power + God’s grace = victory
Self ego and God’s grace
Self ego always prevents God’s grace from flowing freely in us. It tricks us into believing that we are immune to failure (like some pastors do). Self ego feeds our prestige in such a dangerous quantity that in times of failure we are left feeling condemned. We refuse to be forgiven and demand punishment upon selves despite God’s desire to forgive and accept us back to the family. Peter was a man who was led by his self ego until he admitted the power of grace. Carefully watch the video clip below. Notice how Peter claims he doesn’t deserve God’s grace.
I can introduce at least 3 scripture verses that reflects Peter’s self ego.
1. “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8)
2. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” (John 13:6-8)
3. The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” (John 21:17)
Peter is significant in the Bible for many reasons. These same reasons fed his self ego.
1. He was probably the oldest of all
2. A man of extreme faith (Matthew 14:28), extreme views (John 13:9), extreme speech (Matthew 26:35) and extreme deeds (John 18:10)
3. A disciple privileged above others, (Luke 9:28-36 and 2 Peter 1:16)
4. The first disciple to whom God revealed that Jesus is the Messiah, (Mark 8:27:30)
We must remember that punishing ourselves for the satisfaction of our ego doesn’t fix the problem but brakes us to the point of denying God, his love and brings us to a place of walking away from his presence forever. We shouldn’t be embarrassed of ourselves upon falling short of God’s will. Rather turn back to him in repentance.