When Charles Wesley experienced the grace of God, he could not keep it to himself, so he wrote: “Oh, that the world might taste and see the riches of His grace! The arms of love that compass me would all mankind embrace.”
Such excitement over God’s grace is puzzling for some. We may remember our first experience of grace when we were born again, but after life settles down, we often lose our enthusiasm for God’s grace.
Sadly, many believers have little understanding of the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7) and how it sustains them just as fully after they are saved as it did in turning them from “darkness” to “the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13). So, they begin to live a Christian life they think is “normal,” full of activities often performed in their own strength. If these believers were honest, they would admit they are often bored with their Christianity. They think grace applies only to those who have not yet given their lives to Jesus as Lord.
However, this is totally unbiblical. We need to know how grace applies throughout our lives. Maybe the following story would help.
John, a Christian, sits in the packed conference hall listening intently. “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” the speaker exclaims. “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphant procession in Christ! The Father has called us to reign in life; it is in His word.”
Around the hall people nod and say, “Amen. Praise You, Lord! Hallelujah.” But John sits quietly and thinks, “I’m supposed to be a conqueror, so why are circumstances always on top of me? Why don’t I experience victory over temptation, sin, and condemnation? Why do I always seem to be letting God down?” The idea of “reigning in life” is like a far-off mountain peak—beautiful to look at but totally unattainable.
John returns home feeling condemned but convinced that if the Bible says he is a winner, then it’s time he started winning. He begins by writing down all the things he should do. Then he commits himself to pursuing Christian disciplines: prayer, Bible study, and witnessing. After about a week of successful “reigning,” John oversleeps and misses prayer time. The following morning, he must read two portions of Scriptures in his daily notes. This means he doesn’t have time to pray for as many people as he had planned. He feels guilty but can’t do anything except perhaps catch up later in the evening. At the end of three weeks, he is days behind on study, has 27 people he hasn’t regularly prayed for, and has given up on the whole “reigning” process!
John soon hears another preacher declare, “We reign in life!” John immediately feels wretched for no longer “reigning.” Full of remorse, he plunges himself into fervent activities to rid himself of the guilt associated with not trying hard enough.
Although the Bible encourages John’s attempts at a disciplined life, he is crippled by the activities that he thinks are needed to be victorious. We are taught from the early days of our Christian life that prayer, Bible study, fellowship, and evangelism are requirements to be right with God. We assume that once we receive the free gift of salvation, we “reign” by working hard at the “evangelical laws” of Christian behavior.
Those who reign in life joyfully and securely in God are not those who strive to do better, but who received God’s saving righteous and accept His abundant provision of grace for daily life, motivated by the Holy Spirit to please Him in their words and actions. I urge you to study the following passages:
It is God’s intention that we not only receive His grace for salvation, but that we live by the same principle. It is an amazing process—a walk with God in the will of God and energized by His grace.