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“Deliverance from sin is not deliverance from human nature.” Oswald Chambers

There is a difference between human frailty and sin. It is essential that we learn to distinguish between the two. Accepting our frailty (ie need for divine power) does not give us permission to stop waging war against the darkness.

Jesus did not come to save us from our humanity, he came to save us from our sins.

So many closely held religious views create cognitive dissidence (“the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change”) because when tested, they don’t hold up to real life experience. I’ve talked to so many people who have given up on Christianity because they were either not taught or did not come into a proper understanding of the concept of grace.

Grace is not mercy. Titus 2:11-14 gives a pretty clear definition of what grace is

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, eager for good deeds.

The reality of the gospel is this: Jesus died and rose to accomplish for us what we could not accomplish for ourselves. We did not just need forgiveness and rescue from eternal consequence. We needed rescue from our bondage to our own flesh and sin. Without grace, freedom is impossible.

When we finally understand that it is the mercy of God that gives us the grace to enable us to begin living our lives in the way he intended for us to live them, the entire gospel story from creation to revelation actually makes sense. And is doable. The gospel holds up to any and all life circumstances.

If anyone sins, we have an advocate.

If anyone prays for help to overcome, they will always receive it (this does not imply the help will make overcoming especially easy).

If anyone needs light or life or comfort – Jesus, our grace, is all of these things.

It is because of our humanity, our human frailty, not in spite of it, that Jesus came, suffered, and rose. And it is because of that same frailty, not in spite of it, that he gifts us grace and fills us with his spirit, “causing us” to live in the manner he intended for us to live. Fully alive. Completely dependent on him.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
 ~ Ezekiel 36:26

The gospel of grace does not condemn the sinner beating his breast and pleading for mercy. Nor does it offer tolerance. It’s not as though God doesn’t see your sin anymore. He absolutely does, he is just not holding it against you. He sees it and loves you anyway—and he wants to free you from it.

The gospel of grace is the love of God moving toward humanity to offer the gift of grace. Grace does not heal superficially but deeply—and fully. When we are in Christ we are made alive—the rest of our human journey is no longer from a journey from {spiritual} death to death, but from {spiritual} life to life. We’re given new hearts, he renews our minds, and fills us with his Spirit. His Holy Spirit that “mightily works” within us as we cooperate, transforming us every day, moment by moment, from image to image and glory to glory.

We cannot.
But he can.
And he knew that.
So he came.

Rest in grace today.

Stephanie Staples

Author Stephanie Staples

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