2 Corinthians 1:12 “We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.”
What an interesting way to guide people in how to live. Instead of using “according to God’s grace” Paul could have said, “Do not live in sin but live in righteousness.” Or he could have said, “Let not your response be ungodly but according to God’s Word.” Living according to God’s grace gives a paradigm that most people do not understand, much less live by.
Not responding according to worldly wisdom is easy to understand - I do not respond in kind; I do not fight to win: I do not fight to exalt myself. “According to God’s grace” puts my responses and behavior on a totally different level.
To enter into this paradigm, you have to first understand what God means. Can you say as Paul said at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 1:12: “Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God?”
God does not want winning, correction, and over lording to be the goal of Christians, but rather salvations, obedience, and Godly character in full display. It is the later the opens the door for the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of others.
Living in this contrarian way does not come naturally, “but according to God’s grace.” We have to live first in the reality of who we are: Sinners who have received unmerited grace; sinners who are a work in progress; sinners who have been redeemed by Christ through no work of our own.
God’s incredible grace can quickly morph into a life that lives proudly outside of the grace of God. This pride could be reflected in a life that is comfortable in being redeemed, but uncomfortable in being transformed.
Living in the flesh (your ways) comes more naturally than being controlled by God’s grace and life. One who lives in the flesh has become comfortable with redemption while struggling with transformation.
This person reads the Bible, studies it, participates in groups, but gives little effort to the Holy Spirit’s convictions and leadings. You can spend hours reading and studying, but barely give a thought to allowing God to transform those truths in your life.
This is where the rubber meets the road for Christians. God’s transformative process requires God’s grace to challenge habits, relationships, needs, desires, and life patterns. Transformation happens according to God’s grace!
Christians can live more easily in God’s grace through these two principles: Humility and not clinging to things of this world. Both are rooted in pride or surrender.
James 4:6 shows how you can have more grace: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." You must be willing to let go, submit, be vulnerable, and even be hurt, so that by faith you are available to enter God’s work and power by trusting and believing in His grace.
2 Corinthians 8:9 further amplifies this principles of grace, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Entering God’s grace allows God to be God, but it almost always involves sacrifice.
Sacrifice is not pretty. In Matthew 26:30 we see Jesus double checking this principle with His Father when going to the cross to be certain it was God’s will when He asked, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will."
Trepidation in following God is not bad if done seeking God’s will. God’s grace is more than enough to carry you through all circumstances because Jesus has already paid the price. Live daily not only in the reality of God’s grace knowing your eternal destiny, but also in the reality of His grace concerning His love, care, and purpose for you.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
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