One of the most common questions that I receive in relation to the Gospel of Grace, is “so you’re saying that I have nothing to do; no part to play?” – and I understand that reaction. The Gospel of Grace in Christ is completely opposite to the typical message of religion, which says that we must constantly work hard, struggle and strive to earn redemption, please God, serve Him, and even work to love Him! Whereas the Gospel of Grace testifies that Jesus has done the work, made the final sacrifice, and we simply receive what He has done as a free gift.
Having said that, I do want to address this question and clear up any confusion, because you do have a part to play… though it might not be what you expect. So join me today as we examine what your part in the Gospel of Grace in Christ, actually is.
Now typically when “our part to play” is mentioned in reference to the Gospel, or salvation – people’s minds will immediately jump to their works – their thoughts go straight to their own efforts, and get clouded by the fog of religion. This really isn’t surprising because it’s what is typically taught in most church buildings. However as I mentioned in the opening, our part to play is not what you may be expecting, because it really has nothing to do with your effort, your works or your service to God, but it deals primarily with your belief.
Some people think that this is too simplistic. They say “there has to be more too it than that!” but such a reaction fails to consider how very important our belief actually is! Belief is actually extremely important! And one of the biggest traps that I see people fall into, is that they get so distracted with their own works, efforts and performance, that their belief falls on the wayside; and that is a classic example of failing to recognize the forest from the trees… together with flat-out focusing on the wrong thing.
Yes, I said focusing on the wrong thing.
This is the message that people need to hear: Your works, your efforts, your sacrifices are not the focus! They aren’t the point! And most importantly, they are not what saves you! Nor do they earn you any blessings!
Your blessings have already been earned by Jesus Christ. He has already sacrificed for you, and it is Him alone that saves you.
Please do not take my word for it – it is the most famous verses of scripture, John 3:16-18:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Take notice my friend, that it is belief (specifically belief on Jesus Christ) that causes a person to not perish and have everlasting life.
It is belief on Jesus Christ that causes a person to escape condemnation. And conversely, it is unbelief on Jesus Christ that causes a person to be condemned.
Now this is vastly different than what traditional religious thinking would suggest.
Religion says that you are condemned or not based on your sinful deeds, your works, and/or your service to God.
However what we see here is that it is purely your belief on Christ that is the deciding factor between condemnation and life. Between salvation and damnation. And this is the beginning of us seeing what our true “part to play” in salvation and the Gospel of Christ really is.
The typical thought of religion is that you rise and fall with your current performance level, as if you were on some kind of spiritual roller-coaster or a teeter-totter, and the lives of many people reflect this very same “hill and valley” mentality – Christians who are up one moment and down the next. But God doesn’t want us to live life in that fashion; it is not the abundant life that He suffered and died to give to us. The abundant life of one who has truly received Christ and lives in His New identity is not a life of being tossed around by the wind and waves of the world – remember that it was Jesus who stilled the raging storm on the sea and brought perfect calm to the wind and the waves. It is Jesus who is the source of perfect divine peace.
I mention all of this because when you are caught in the performance mindset of religion, thinking that you live or die by your own behaviors, perfect peace will always be elusive, because perfect performance is a weight and burden far too heavy for any member of the human race. This was the main point of the Old Covenant Law being given, according to Romans 3:20 and 5:20. The Old Covenant Law exposes your sin… that is its purpose. The Law was not given to be a pathway to salvation! Nor was the Law given to show you how to be a better person! In-fact, you will not find those claims anywhere in scripture! Yet there are millions of people trying to use the Law for exactly those purposes – and it simply does not work, because that was never the purpose or function of the Old Covenant Law! The Law was given to expose your sin.
Whereas Jesus was given to remove your sin!
“The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world!”
My friend, if we truly understood all that the title Lamb of God entails, and the full weight of what it means, then perhaps we would not find it quite so difficult to believe that Jesus has taken away our sins!
John exclaimed for the people to Behold the Lamb of God – to look at Him and see that He is the one who takes away the sin of the world.
But many people are not looking at Jesus as the Lamb of God. Instead they are looking at Him merely as a judge of their own performance, because they have bought into the lie of religion, that their part to play is to clean up their own sin. That they need to somehow please or appease Jesus by cleaning themselves up before they can be accepted into His kingdom and deemed worthy of salvation.
This is a form of spiritual bondage that seems right to our natural human mind and reasoning – and through clever words it can be made to sound very godly and righteous; but it is really the same lie of the enemy that was told from the very beginning… because it’s actually just the knowledge of good and evil, wrapped in a cloak of religion, and it’s still just as deadly today as it was back then.
My dear friend, your part to play in the salvation of God, is likewise the same today as it always has been: to simply believe on Jesus Christ… to believe His finished work for you, and receive His free gift, along with all of the blessings contained in it.
As usual, I do not want you to take my word for this, the Pharisees asked Jesus this same question, and He gave them this answer, in John 6:28-29:
“Then said they to him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent.”
This is the work that God requires. This is your part to play.
Keep in mind, that these were Pharisees, they knew the Law of Moses quite well! And Jesus could’ve literally said anything He wanted to here – including quoting the entire Law, or even giving them new Laws on top of the ones they already had!
Yet Jesus did none of that, and chose to focus on what was truly important: belief on Him!
Receive this truth my friend. It is the truth that will set you free, as your attention and focus gets moved off of the bondage of religion and back onto Jesus.
Now I say to you, be blessed.