Characteristics of a Grace Believer

By: Peter Youngren
From: March - April 2014
Found in: The Gospel of Grace
There is an array of misinformation about the meaning of God’s grace. What does it mean to be a ‘grace-person’, or a ‘grace-church’? Here are some characteristics:

1 - The finished work of Jesus Christ is in focus

What we need for ‘life’ and ‘godliness’ has been provided by the death and resurrection of Christ. Just like Adam and Eve had everything they needed in the Garden of Eden, so Jesus has provided all for us. Our response is to “open” our eyes to see the riches of the inheritance we have.

Just like Adam and Eve had everything they needed in the Garden of Eden, so Jesus has provided all for us.

2 - The cross divides the Old and New Covenants

In the Old, believers looked forward to that which would come, while in the New we look back at what Jesus Christ has already accomplished. Believers before the cross were involved in spiritual activities in order to receive God’s blessing. New Testament believers pray, worship, give and serve because the blessing is already provided.

3 - A new love for the Old Testament

Jesus instructed, “all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures”. Grace preachers value the Old Testament, and preach from it much like the apostles and early Church Fathers — to discover beautiful truths about Jesus Christ. The study of the Old Testament becomes a “treasure hunt” to know Christ better.

4 - A recognition of the true power of sin

Some suggest that grace makes ‘light’ of sin, but the opposite is true. Sin is so powerful that no effort, discipline or struggle can defeat it. Our only hope is in believing that Jesus took all sins - past, present and future - “once for all”. Victory over sin happens by yielding to the indwelling Christ. The good news is that our sins cannot stop God’s grace, but grace stops sin.

The good news is that our sins cannot stop God’s grace, but grace stops sin.

5 - True repentance

The Greek word ‘metanoia’, translated repentance, means to “change one’s mind after”. Repentance happens when we turn our thinking from “dead works” [Heb 6:1], — our religious efforts. Realizing the futility of our own struggle against sin we turn to Christ, who alone can save. The Book of Acts calls this ‘repentance to life” [Acts 11:18].

6 - Faith that Jesus Christ is at work inside believers

In a grace-based church, pastors are not trying to micromanage people’s lives, but trusting that God’s grace is at work in each one. When we let Jesus live big in us, true holiness will result.

7 - The Law of Moses was for a purpose

It was not to make us holy, but to show our inability to become holy by our own effort. By the law every mouth of self-righteousness is stopped, and it becomes clear that God’s grace is our only hope.

8 - The law was until Christ [Gal 3:24]

As of 2000 years ago, Christ has come, and his coming was “the end of the law for righteousness.” Now all God’s promises have their “Yes” and their “Amen” in what Christ has done.

9 - Righteousness instead of sin-consciousness

When we focus on sins, those sins get a stronger hold, but when our attention is on Christ-righteousness, sin’s power is broken. The New Covenant promises “no more consciousness of sins” [Heb 10:2], “for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” [Rom 6:14].

10 - Resting in Christ

To rest in faith means that we have ceased from our own works [Heb 4:10], and rest in what God’s grace has provided. Our focus is on allowing Christ to express Himself through us.

Our focus is on allowing Christ to express Himself through us.

11 - Holiness is by grace

God’s grace teaches us to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts”, and to “live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age” [Titus 2:11-12]. Not only holiness, but spiritual maturity, miracles, prosperity, healing and the abundant life are all by God’s grace [Gal 3:2-5].

12 - Preaching Jesus, instead of lessons of morality bring real results

The preachers who lived before the cross focused on the sins of the people. Those after the cross, like Paul, Philip and John, preached the finished work of Jesus. Morality is important, but good morals do not come from lessons of morality but from Christ’s power in us. Corinth was a particularly immoral city in ancient times. No wonder Paul preached nothing except Jesus Christ crucified [1 Cor 2:2].

13 - Paul is important

He received the message of grace from Jesus Christ, so there is never a contradiction between Paul and Jesus. Christ is the source of Paul’s revelation of the mystery, previously hidden, namely “Christ in us”. Paul taught this revelation to the other apostles, and they added nothing to what he had received [Gal 2:6]. More than looking to past revivals and movements, a grace-based Christian looks to the revelations of the New Covenant given by Jesus, Paul and the other apostles.

More than looking to past revivals and movements, a grace-based Christian looks to the revelations of the New Covenant given by Jesus, Paul and the other apostles.

14 - Passion to reach the world around us

A grace church is not lazy or passive but instead the grace of God causes us to “labor more abundantly” (1 Cor 15:10). Our ministry is to give the word of reconciliation to the world that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself” [2 Cor 5:19]. Therefore, we implore people, “be reconciled to God” [v.20].

15 - A new way to live

Once the demand for Bible reading, prayer, church attendance and giving because you have to do it is over, we discover a new way to be a “Christian.” It’s not by constraint or compulsion, but because we want to.

By: Peter Youngren

As founder of World Impact Ministries, Celebration Bible College, Way of Peace and the Celebration Churches in Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara, Canada, Peter is committed to equipping believers to fulfill their purpose before the return of Jesus Christ.

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