A.W. Tozier, in his classic work The Pursuit of God, begins by introducing the doctrine of ‘prevenient grace’. He kindly simplifies the doctrine to “before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man”. I could not agree more. Ephesians 1:4 clearly states that we were chosen before the creation of the very earth on which we find ourselves. Romans 8:29-30 reiterates the life altering, deep, pulse raising truth that we were wanted/desired, called/beckoned/invited, justified/forgiven/made-righteous, adopted and betrothed. On top of that there is also a future that awaits us where we will perpetually bask in the glory of our Bridegroom’s presence. This is beyond awesome! And then, when we ponder the cost behind all of this, we are left staggering, intoxicated at the shimmering truth that all this was motivated by love – for us! It ALL begins and ends with God’s grace. Yoked soundly to grace is the incredible reality that the very faith to receive God’s pursuing grace is also a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9).
So, here is my question. Why do we move from the beauty of grace to the tyranny of works? Please don’t misunderstand me, we are to be involved in “good works, that God prepared” (Ephes. 2:10). By the way, it says that God prepared, not others, but that is a topic for another day J. I also get that we are we are to “work out our salvation” (Philippians 2:12), which I think means give place to it, embrace the deep truths revealed by salvation, allowing it to form and shape our very hearts. But the very next verse reminds us “for it is God who is at work in you”.
Paul expresses his exasperation for the believers in Galatia. He graphically says their thirst for the law, traditions and works, versus the grace of Christ, is a different or perverted gospel. (Galatians 1:6-7)
As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him (Colossians 2:6). So here is the deal; we received Christ through grace-given faith, therefore our journey with Christ is to continue through grace-given faith. Nothing more, nothing less. We never move beyond grace. I believe that He is behind every desire I experience to want to know Him, love Him, serve him, follow or obey Him. He is the beginning and the end. It ALL begins and ends with Him.
That is why I can look in the mirror and say to me and also say to you “I am confident of this very thing, that He (God) who began a good work in you will perfect (complete) it until the day of Christ Jesus. Now my friend that is good news!