What Does Grace Actually Mean?  from Paul Tripp Ministries

Last week I wrote about the two identities we live with: sinner, and child of grace. The identity we assign ourselves is critically important, because it impacts everything we think, say, and do.

Let’s unpack what it means to live out of our identity as a child of grace, when the rubber hits the road of our street-level Christianity.

Grace enters our life in three powerful forms:

1. The Grace of Forgiveness

It’s inconceivable to think that all our sins of the past, present, and future have been completely covered by the blood of Jesus. We don’t have to work to excuse what we’ve done or make our conscience feel better by blaming someone else.

No, we can stand before God just as we are, without fear, because in Jesus Christ we’re fully accepted!

The grace of forgiveness not only gives us confidence and assurance; it mobilizes us for ministry. When we’ve experienced God’s forgiveness, we want others to know the joy, rest and hope we have.

Finally, the grace of forgiveness makes us want to obey. In our gratitude for the One who has forgiven us, we desire to think, do and say things that are pleasing to him (see Luke 7:36-47).

2. The Grace of Enablement

Because of forgiveness, we can live without fear of God’s judgement. But a new fear should grip us: the fear that we don’t have what it takes to live as we should.

Sin not only leave us guilty; it leaves us unable. It cripples our ability to be what we’re supposed to be and do what we’re supposed to do. Along with daily forgiveness, we also need daily power.

In grace, God gives us the only thing that can truly help: himself. The Spirit of God unzips us and gets inside us, enabling us to desire, think, do and say the things that fit within the boundaries of his plan and purpose for our lives (see Galatians 2:20 and Ephesians 3:20).

God will never assign us a task without first giving us the grace to accomplish it. He animates and strengthens us with his presence, so that we can say “no” to sin and “yes” to the call of his kingdom.

3. The Grace of Deliverance

One day, sin will die and we’ll live forever, permanently liberated from the tyranny of sin. It’ll be the only funeral we joyfully accept the invitation for!

Until then, our dissatisfied Redeemer Father won’t rest until every microbe of sin has been eradicated from every cell in our heart. Moment by moment, he wars on our behalf to deliver us from the sin that still remains.

To summarize, grace means that we’re never alone in our struggle with sin. God doesn’t grow discouraged, tired or weary. He never leaves us alone to deal with the temptations and realities of life in a fallen world.

Our gracious Father is resolute in his determination for us to experience the complete spoils of the victory he gained over sin and death through his crucifixion and resurrection.

Now that’s a reason to get up every day!

God bless,

Paul Tripp

Reflection Questions

  1. Read Luke 7:36–47. What is one lesson that you can apply to your own life in light of the grace of forgiveness?
  2. How did you provide empirical evidence last week that you are unable (on your own) to live a righteous life?
  3. Find a different example from last week week of how God’s enabling grace allowed you to say “no” to sin and “yes” to his kingdom plans.
  4. Identify one area of your life where you still need the grace of deliverance from sin. What practical steps can you take this week to stand under the fountain of God’s grace (i.e., spend time in prayer, study the Word, reach out to the body of Christ, etc)
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