‘I do not set aside the grace of God’ (Galatians 2:21)
Strangely, the person who was setting aside the grace of God (the free grace of God) was the Apostle Peter. And he had to be rebuked by the Apostle Paul. (See Galatians 2: 11 – 21) Peter, through fear of influential Jewish Christian leaders, had fallen from free grace back into legalism. (And, if he can so “fall” as a foremost apostle and Pentecostal believer, don’t we all need to guard ourselves and guard our understanding of the Gospel?)
We can set aside the grace of God in any number of ways: Our failure to believe that God is gracious and is kindly disposed towards us; that He is ever longing to save us from sin and self and the power of Satan. That is one way. Our determination to better ourselves by our own proud, self-efforts is another way.
But let us now believe what the Bible says in a thousand different ways: God loves us in our broken-ness and in our loveless-ness and His heart is full of generous, kindly thoughts towards us. This is His grace – the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ – the free and limitless grace of the Cross.
Yes, grace fully recognises God’s hatred of sin and evil, but grace is God’s tremendous kindness towards men and women caught in the snares of Satan and enslaved by the deceits of sin. (Is the Holy Spirit speaking to you, dear reader?) God is gracious towards us! Let us allow His grace to reach into us – into all the sick, sore, sinful, Satan-enslaved places – and bring salvation: Jesus’ saving grace!
Rev. James Todd,
Airth Parish Church