uncle enrolled into a two year carpentry course so many years ago. Wanting to
make something of himself
, he studied hard and finished top of the class that
administrator of the school asked him if he could pay some little money – a
small fraction of the tuition so that he could study the rest of the course
free of charge. My uncle was stunned! He ran to look for the money for it was
insanely little. After finishing the course, he found out that top performers
were entitled to bursaries.
he had paid for one. My uncle had paid for what was given to him free of
is the same with church, many Christians wake up to sermons about performance.
What can I do to earn a right standing with God? What steps can I follow to
attain God’s righteousness? We have based our relationship with God on what we
can do (for him) – our performance.
result is a list of tasks we need to perform in order to ‘win’ righteousness
and approval from God, lose weight, have our sins forgiven, receive divine
healing, win a promotion at work, and even nail that interview!
have put God in a little box, tucked Him away in the best seat of the theater
auditorium to see us perform – and the liberty we have given Him – is to nod
His head in approval (of us)!
is life by law. It’s easy. It makes logical sense to us. It keeps us in
control. It keeps the scientists in business. We love it because it allows us
to do what we do best – perform. But God did not send His son to die on the
cross so that we could perfect our performance. No. Paul, writing to church in Rome puts it like this:
And if by grace, then is it
no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then
is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work (Romans 11:6) [KJV].
see, life by law teaches us that our performance determines our relationship
with God. We work. The laborers of glory, they call us. We, in away think that
our performance will arouse a ‘divine attention’ in God’s heart of hearts towards
us. The pivot of this teaching is the life of the Christian.
Grace – the free gift.
under Grace, on the other hand, is different. It is not based on what we can
do, but what Christ did 2,000 years ago. In other words, it’s not about us. The
pivot of this message is the Christ.
is God’s unmerited favor to our undeserving souls. We don’t deserve it because
our best does not come close to God’s worst – our best is filth in God’s eyes (Isaiah
there is no currency in the world that can buy us God’s grace, and we are also
in a position of an undeserving receiver, God offers it to us free of charge. We
are wretched people looking for a savior to rescue us from our bodies of death
never measure up. We will never measure up. Our unrighteousness was great, but
the price Jesus paid was exceedingly greater – for it outdid our
why He offers his grace to us, free of charge. To His disciples, Jesus said, ‘freely
give, because you have freely received’ (Matthew 10:8). The gospel doesn’t ask
us to perform, to measure up to a certain standard (because after all we can’t). It instead emphasizes FAITH in God. All over the four
gospels, those people who were delivered by the miraculous hand of Jesus Christ
had one constant – faith. Jesus always said, ‘your faith has made you well.’
gospel of John, people moved up to Capernaum in search of Jesus, when they
found Him, they asked; ‘What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?’
Jesus in response said, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent’ (John 6:28-29) [Emphasis
is what the message of grace is about – believing in Christ alone. And it’s
through faith alone that we can be set free, and live fulfilling and victorious
grace is neither expensive, nor cheap, it’s free of charge.
May God’s amazingly free
gift of grace grip our hearts and set us free from the need to perform and do
it ourselves so that we feel relevant and appealing to God, ourselves and other