The vitality and genuineness of corporate worship is to a large degree dependent upon the vitality of our individual private worship. If we aren’t spending time daily worshiping God, we’re not apt to contribute to the corporate experience of worship. If we aren’t worshiping God during the week, how can we expect to genuinely participate in it on Sunday morning?
Our love for God, expressed through obedience to Him, is to be a response to His love, not a means to try to earn it.
Now God sometimes allows people to treat us unjustly. Sometimes He even allows their actions to seriously affect our careers or our futures viewed on a human plane. But God never allows people to make decisions about us that undermine His plan for us. God is for us, we are His children, He delights in us (see Zephaniah 3:17). And the Scripture says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). We can put this down as a bedrock truth: God will never allow any action against you that is not in accord with His will for you. And His will is always directed to our good.
HT: Reformed Quotes
Having experienced God’s grace, we are called on to extend that grace to others. The evidence of whether we are living by His grace is to be found in the way we treat other people. If we see ourselves as sinners and totally unworthy in ourselves of God’s compassion, patience and forgiveness, then we will want to be gracious to others.
We are not just dependent on Him [Christ]; we are desperately dependent on him. Because we so often equate Christlike character with ordinary morality, we fail to realize how impossible it is for us to attain any degree of conformity to Christ by ourselves. But if we take seriously the long list of Christlike character traits we are to put on, we see how impossible it is to grow in Christlikeness apart from the sanctifying influence and power of the Spirit in our lives.
To live by grace means we understand that God’s blessing on our lives is not conditioned by our obedience or disobedience but by the perfect obedience of Christ. It means that out of a grateful response to the grace of God, we seek to understand His will and to obey Him, not to be blessed, but because we have been blessed.
Ironically, the law of God, viewed as commands to be obeyed, should actually promote promote living by grace. When we view God’s commands as optional — or think that as God’s children we are no longer under the law as a moral requirement — we subtly slip into a works mentality. If obedience to God’s law is optional, then in our minds we begin to accumulate merit or extra points. “After all, we didn’t have to obey, so we must gain some voluntary obedience.”
But the person who knows that he is required to obey God’s commands, even as a child of God, will see more and more how far short he comes in obedience. And if that person understands the biblical concept of grace, he will be driven more and more into the arms of the Savior and His merit alone.
Under grace, obedience is a loving response to salvation already provided in Christ, and the assurance that, having provided salvation, God will also through Christ provide all else that we need.
The grace of salvation is the same grace by which we live the Christian life. Paul said in Romans 5.2, ‘We have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.’ (emphasis added). We are not only justified by grace through faith, we stand every day in this same grace…. [We must] be so gripped by the magnificence and boundless generosity of God’s grace that we respond out of gratitude rather than out of a sense of duty.
original emphasis, Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1991), 75.