Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't Nullify the Grace of God

Many mornings when my alarm goes off early enough to allow me enough time to spend time in the Word before work, I groan, turn it off and sleep for another half hour. But each time that happens, I go through my day feeling guilty that I slept rather than woke up. And honestly if I do take the time to read and pray later, I usually do it to somehow maintain the Lord's favor - clearly if I chose sleep over Scripture then He must not be happy with me. And I struggle with this in so many areas of my life - I obey the law because, even though I know that I am saved, God is more pleased with me when I do those things.

In the weekly Bible study, we've been discussing the book of Galatians. It's been interested to dissect and consider the depth of Paul's argument for the gospel and most nights I have left feeling significantly more conviction than I anticipated. Last week we finished chapter 2:
19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
                                                                                                                                                   - Galatians 2:19-21

Did you catch that ending? "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose." For so long I skipped over this verse - of course I'm not nullifying the grace of God - I fully believe that I am saved by the blood of Jesus alone. But then I realized that even though I do not nullify His grace in salvation, I often do in sanctification.

Because of Christ's completed, finished work on the cross, there is nothing I can do that will make God love me more and nothing I can do that will make Him love me less. And when I read my Bible so that God will be pleased with me, I nullify His grace. When I don't do something because it make God love me more, I nullify His grace. It's not that those things are bad! But I ought to read Scripture because I love the Word and, more than that, the God who gives the Word. I shouldn't do something that I believe is wrong - that is honoring to the Lord. But I should do it because of who I am in Jesus, because I am saved by His blood, and righteous before the Lord, not because it gives me special standing with God.

My friends, may we never nullify His grace in salvation. But may we also never nullify the grace of God in our living. We are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3). When God looks on our works, He sees not what we have done, but what Jesus has done. And there is nothing that we could ever add to that. Praise God!


  1. I think you would love the book by Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace. Have you read it? It deals with such issues.

  2. I haven't yet, but I've been following the discussions on Tim Challies' blog and have been blessed. I need to get my hands on a copy... I also just finished Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges as well, and that was really helpful.