Despite its central place in the gospel, many of us fail to comprehend God’s grace. As a result we end up striving for holiness on our own accord, rather than allowing His grace to flow freely into our lives.
Dr. Bryan Chapell explains the performance-based mentality of many believers today.
“The reflex of almost all of us is we open our Bibles and we look for two things on the page of Scripture we’re reading: duty and doctrine. What duty is here and what doctrine is here? The reason I’m supposed to open my Bible is I’m supposed to increase my knowledge of doctrine, and I’m supposed to increase my goodness of behavior. I open the page and I say, how do I increase my competence? How do I increase my performance?’”
Dr. Chapell encourages us to look beyond our own abilities and see God’s grace for us in-between the lines.
“What if, beyond just increasing my competence or increasing my performance, I am looking for how great God’s provision is for me? What is the relationship that He is establishing with me out of His own hearts affection, out of His pure grace on my behalf?”
“When I know that, there will be a reason for my performance and there will be a basis for my competence.”
Grace isn’t something we can earn through our own good works. It comes to us through our relationship with Jesus Christ. Dr. Chapell teaches us how to make the shift from a performance-based mentality to a love-based mentality.
“I have to deeply and profoundly feast upon the grace of Scripture that is unfolding His love for me and His relationship with me.”
“Now I’m serving Him; not trying to earn His favor and not trying to earn His affection, but responding to His affection. Doing so with a heart that is actually much more motivated by the joy of the Lord that is our strength, than by the sense of ‘God is going to get me so I better do better.’”
“We have to say, ‘I am living for the God who loves me.’ That is what gives me strength for the Christian life.”
God’s grace is unlimited. It knows no bounds. Instead of putting up the barricades of our own misunderstanding, we can freely receive God’s gift of infinite grace today.
Bryan Chapell (PhD, Southern Illinois University) is senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Peoria, Illinois. He previously served as president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Chapell is the author of a number of books, including Holiness by Grace and Unlimited Grace: The Heart Chemistry That Frees from Sin and Fuels the Christian Life.