“Keep On Keepin’ On” – Living Daily By Grace Through Faith

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Last week we discovered that God deals with us through “grace alone”—really! However, the problem is, we talk about “by grace, through faith” constantly, but simultaneously believe that we must still do something—choose, decide, invite, obey, etc.—in order to “walk in the Spirit,” or “live by faith.” 

This is an indication that we still think we can “please God by keeping His law” successfully, which is not “grace through faith.” Since the Fall, we subconsciously see ourselves as the stars in this drama we call “our lives.”

Thus, we always think that we are the one in our life’s narrative who does the performing, the initiating, the changing. But, in fact, we are never the subjects in our story—we are always, unfailingly, the objects. The Triune God alone is the subject. Walking by faith means that we are never the actors but always the ones acted upon; never the initiators but always the responders; never the changers but always the ones being changed. 

Once I have experienced this gospel of the grace of God in my heart. Galatians 2:20 is a beautiful, biblical picture of that experience: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (by the Holy Spirit who permanently dwells there); and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (and I trust Him to live His life through me).

However, I immediately recognize the difficulty in continuing to walk this way in the world on a daily basis. My immediate temptation is always to “do something,” to help me keep all the injunctions God lays out in His Word to walk this new way. What can an object do to not fall into the subtle trap of still being the subject and continuing to live by a set of rules to follow?

One thing is that I can always REMEMBER my “objectness”—what Jesus, the subject, has already done and continues to do in my life. The only thing I, as the object, can do is to REMEMBER that fact!

 All of God’s instructions to His people in the Bible, both Old and New Covenants, are always based on the vision of what the Triune God has already done in my life. As I become more and more childlike in my faith, I see these laws as a vision of what my Daddy is causing me to become.

This message for me to “remember” is found frequently in Deuteronomy and the Psalms. In the New Testament, Peter, after enumerating a list of desirable Christian character qualities that our lives are demonstrating, says,  “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:9). If we are not following these injunctions, we have “forgotten we’re forgiven!”

 In these verses, and others throughout the Bible, we are asked to remember (“never forget, ignore or resist”) four facts—incidentally, the four courses we are taking in the seminary we are attending each week, “Theology for Dummies.” 1.) “What Is God Like?,” 2.) “What Am I Like?,” 3.) “How Does God Relate To Me?,”  4.) “Why Am I Here?” 

In these courses we are learning one overriding fact, encapsulated in Jesus’ last words from the cross: “IT IS FINISHED!” God has already forgiven all sin at that cross. There is nothing left to do but remember what God has said and believe it.

And He says some amazing things!

For example: “For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13) Here’s the rub: Do I really believe this statement of fact in God’s Holy Word? If so, this means that I can not only know what God wants me to do, in any situation, but also have the power to then do it. I need only to ask myself, “Robert, what do you want to do?”, and then attack!

As I grow and learn this new way to live, by faith alone, I find several things occurring in my life, NSU (naturally, spontaneously, and unconsciously). First, “God did this so that the righteous demands of the Law might be fully satisfied IN US (not “by us”), who live according to the Spirit, and not according to human nature (the flesh)” Romans 8:4). I find myself, NSU, without any effort, keeping God’s law, just as Pau tells us in Galatians 2:20 above.

Second, I began to notice more and more that I have a desire to “walk in the light” (1 John 1:5-10) about the wicked sin buried in my heart, and to look for ways to openly confess and repent of them: “Therefore, make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Biblical church provides the most obvious and convenient venue for this to occur for us all.

As we “keep on keepin’ on” walking in what God began in us, we have His promise that He will never give up on us: “Faithful is He who called you, who also (He Himself!) will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). How can we ever blow it?!

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