Several years ago, while living in Kerrville, Texas, I was sitting out on my back porch watching an amazing thunderstorm roll in. As the thunder sounded, the Holy Spirit began speaking to me. “What is that sound?” I heard in my spirit. “That is thunder Lord” I responded. “What does it mean?” He asked.

“ Well Lord, thunder is the sound that lightning makes”

I will never forget as long as I live, the next words spoken to me.

“Such is my Grace” He started “Such is the Grace of The Lord God Almighty” 

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Just as thunder is the sound of lightning, Grace is the sound of judgment”.

I was astonished, and a thousand goose bumps covered my arms.

“Please explain this to me Lord” I begged.

And he went on to explain. “ When you hear thunder, you think of it as an alarm; people swimming get out of the water, while people doing things outdoors begin moving indoors because ‘ a storm is COMING’. In reality, thunder does not mean lightning is on it’s way, but rather, that it is HERE.

Such is My Grace. Grace is not an alarm crying out that judgment is on its way, but rather that judgment is HERE!”

In 2 Corinthians 6:1 (NIV) Paul says

“As God’s fellow workers, we urge you not to receive God’s Grace in vain.”

Paul was talking to born again, Spirit filled Christians there, so why would he urge “not to receive God’s grace in vain”?

I would dare to say that 90% of Christians today have no idea what Paul was talking about, simply because they have no idea what grace truly is. And they have no idea what grace truly is because the church today is too busy teaching incorrect, ear tickling sermons about grace!

The church view of grace today is as a “covering”, or “The great cover up”. Grace today is taught as something we are ‘under’, or as a temporary ‘get out of jail free card’ handed out by God in all of his mercy, because as we all know, God has a plan for us , and it is to prosper us and to bless us!!!

How many of you today have heard someone say “We are under grace!!” or “ Thank God we are not under the Law, but grace!!” or “well, I know what I am doing is wrong, but hey, we are under grace!” What a crock doctrine this is!! Do people even read the Bible anymore??

So, am I saying that the blood of Christ does not cleanse us from sin? Absolutely not!! The blood of Jesus DOES cleanse us from sin, but do not confuse the work of Justification with the work of Sanctification!!

Justification is what happened the very moment we repented and gave our heart to God. That moment we said “from this day forward, I will follow Christ!” It was THAT moment we became justified into righteousness.

However, the Bible speaks of sanctification as “Working out” what was done to us on the inside. Holiness! When what was done on the inside of you works it’s way to the outside; when you are LIVING SAVED!!!

Hebrews 12:14-15 (King James) says (14) “Follow peace with all men, and HOLINESS, without which no man shall see the Lord: (15) Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” 

Pursue HOLINESS for without it, NO ONE will see the Lord!! It does not say “pursue Justification, or Salvation”

So again, What is Paul talking about? What is Grace??

Here is what grace is.

Grace covers us, yes, but much more than that, grace EMPOWERS us to do what TRUTH demands of us!!!

Hebrews 12:28 (King James)

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us HAVE GRACE, Whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:”

( the word ‘Whereby’ can be translated as ‘so that’)

Now we see, that it is GRACE that empowers us to ‘serve God acceptably’. IN HOLINESS!

Matthew 7: 21-23 (NIV)

Jesus Speaking:

(21) Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ (23) Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!’

In those verses, Jesus himself totally and utterly destroys the “we are under grace” doctrine that is being taught so recklessly in many churches.

On more than one occasion, while disciplining a member of leadership, I have heard it said that “We are not under the law or it’s legalism... we are under grace, and grace is freedom, and there is freedom in Christ!!” followed not long after that by the words “ does anyone want to go dancing and have a few drinks?” On another occasion while counseling a man caught up in sexual sin, I heard the words “but pastor, we are under grace, God knows I have a problem, but he loves me right where I am.” As if to say, grace has become a license to sin!

Oh I just pray that pastors will wake up soon!! Do they not know that they are responsible for preaching TRUTH??

Let us look at Grace and Law together. Let us go directly to the Word of God and see what separates the two.

John 1:17 (NIV) tells us where the two came from.

(17) For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Now we know , according to the Word of God that the law came through Moses, and that grace and truth came through Jesus. Moses represented the law of the old covenant, while Jesus represented the grace of the new covenant. I ask you today, which would you rather be held accountable to, law or grace? Before you answer that, I want you to check out what Jesus (Grace in human form) says about the difference between the two.

Matthew 5: 21-22 (NIV)

(21) “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ( under the law of Moses) ‘Do not Murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ (22) But I ( who grace comes through) tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca’, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Jesus goes on to say

Matthew 5: 27-28

(27) You have heard that it was said, (again, talking about the law of Moses) ‘Do not commit adultery.’ (28) But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Did you get that? Jesus said that under the Law you had to actually DO the act in order to be guilty of both murder and adultery. However, he points out that under grace, if you have unforgivness, or hatred, or even think about it beyond the temptation, you are guilty of the act!

So, which is a higher standard? Grace is the higher standard, because it empowers us to LIVE a holy life!

We are saved by grace, through faith. Not of ourselves, but through a gift of God, not through works, (lest any man should boast).

The law covered physical works, i.e.. the “dos and don’ts”.

Grace empowers us for spiritual living in holiness.

It covers the dos and don’ts that we can not do and don’t on our own so to speak.

No man, woman or child will ever be able to stand before God and say “My good works have earned me position in heaven and a place at your right hand!”

James 2:18 (and I paraphrase)

“Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”

It is grace that empowers us to be doers of the Word. Grace empowers us to do as Jesus commands. Grace empowers us to live holy.

Do not say that you are “saved by grace” if you are practicing sin!

The Bible says to ‘examine yourself to see if you are in the faith’

In Acts 26:20 , Paul preaches to the gentiles that they should “repent, and turn to God, and Prove their repentance by their deeds” (NIV) 

Timothy says that men will profess Christ, yet deny him by their lifestyle! 

Why would any church want to exist if it is not walking as Christ walked? And why are there churches today existing that do NOT walk as Christ walked?

Because Grace has been taught as a cover up and not as the VERY POWER that enables us to walk as Christ Walked.

When we find out what Grace truly is, we can no longer use it as an excuse to keep walking in the flesh, but rather as a reason and a blueprint to walk as Christ walked in the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 7:1 says “...Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Notice that says “perfecting” , not “perfected”

Holiness is a process. We are working out our salvation with fear and trembling, through grace.

Let us look at the Parables of Jesus. The Parable of the ten virgins, the parable of the talents, and the parable of the sheep and the goats. You will find that the ONLY difference between the people in each of these parables is what they DID and DID NOT do. They all called him Lord, and they all called him Master, yet they were not all allowed into the kingdom.

I leave you once again with Hebrews 12:14-15

(King James)

(14) “Follow peace with all men, and HOLINESS, without which no man shall see the Lord: (15) Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

Once we truly understand grace, we can see how and where we fall short in our walk. And we fall short when we do not use grace’s full potential by receiving grace in vain. 

Pursue Holiness, because without it you will not see God. 

Not in your life, not in your marriage, not in your finances (even if you tithe), not in healing, not in your walk on earth, and certainly not in the afterlife.

Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the glory of God.

I pray, and I urge you , as Paul did, Do not Take the Lord’s grace in vain. 

RickyRay Robertson
Senior Pastor, i-Church International