Grace is one of the most misunderstood concepts in Christian theology. There is a perception that grace embues anyone who desires grace with a license to engage in any and every act they choose, confident that they have absolute immunity from the spiritual consequences. If each person were to act in accordance with this belief, mayhem would exist in our world in a manner that far exceeds the current chaos.
Grace is an understanding of the weaknesses of human nature, and a desire to enable individuals to move beyond their mistakes. That is how God perceives grace. It is pardon for an accidental violation of spiritual law. It is not a blanket immunity that extends in perpetuity to all acts. In between God's extension of grace, there should be an open acknowledgement of the sin, a request for God's forgiveness, and a genuine, heart felt desire to repent (1 John 1:5-10; 2; 2 Corinthians 7:8-11).
Of course, this process of acknowledgement, repentance, and forgiveness of sin applies to those individuals who have come to an acknowledgement of God, who understand the need to adhere to spiritual principles, and who have received the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit, any attempt to live righteously can become an exercise in futility (Romans 7:14-25). For this reason, many religious leaders as well as Christians have determined that God's standard is impossible to attain. The missing link is the indwelling Holy Spirit who alone can enable and empower them to be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
When we begin to understand the devastation that is wrought on our bodies, our souls, and our spirits each time we violate spiritual law, we also begin to understand the context within which God's grace exists. We begin to see him as perhaps the car repairman who, through his shed blood, dutifully fixes every dent and every scratch and every malfunction so that we once again can be made new. We also begin to experience an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
The concept of cheap grace to which many ascribe would visit an unimaginable cruelty on the cross of Christ. He was crucified because of deliberate sin and violation of spiritual law for which the penalty is spiritual death, and everyone who comes to Christ has as opportunity to have washed away the penalty of death for each deliberate sin they have ever committed. Every new deliberate sin committed after their enlightenment and acceptance of the indwelling Holy Spirit would require that he be crucified again and again (Hebrews 6:1-8). When you understand that there is one sacrifice for deliberate sin, you are propelled toward God's perfection.
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