Several people told me how God powerfully spoke to them last Sunday morning in the truth that the grace of God is both necessary and sufficient and that a culture of focus on the cross will stir people toward pursuing joy in Christ through holiness. The simple way I said this is captured in the phrase, “It’s okay not to be okay, but it’s not okay to stay there.” This is certainly not a phrase I made up (I’m not that clever). This is something I have heard Matt Chandler from The Village Church in Texas say for the last 7-8 years as He faithfully proclaims the Gospel and points men and women to the cross (I highly recommend Chandler’s preaching and writing. God has used him as a great shaping influence in both my life with Christ and my development as a preacher. I often refer to messages Chandler has given as I study Bible texts and prepare my own messages). For access to his online sermon archive go to: http://www.thevillagechurch.net/resources/sermons/#preacher-sort_matt-chandler.)
Chandler’s words in this area have consistently been helpful, but he is by no means the only person who has recognized and proclaimed this truth. Another pastor who has influenced me significantly, John Piper, returns to this theme from the Scriptures regularly, often under the banner of what he calls “future grace.” Yet, it is not only these men; there have been countless more throughout history, starting from Jesus, Himself, and the Biblical writers. Paul, Peter, the writer of Hebrews, and others have passionately declared that we are all in need of God’s grace and in Jesus He has already assured you of it, no matter how conflicted your past has been. Read the following quotes from some of the Biblical authors, Chandler, and Piper.
“…to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” –Jesus speaking to Paul in Acts 26:18
“…for then [Jesus] would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” –Hebrews 9:26
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” –Colossians 2:13-14
“He [Jesus] himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” –1 Peter 2:24
“The biblical role of past grace—especially the cross—is to guarantee the certainty of future grace: ‘He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all (past grace), how shall he not with him freely give us all things (future grace)?’ (Romans 8:32—parenthesis [Piper’s]). But trusting in future grace is the motive and strength of our obedience. The more we trust in future grace the more we give God the opportunity in our lives to show the glory of his inexhaustible grace. So take a promise of future grace and do some radical act of obedience on it. God will be mightily honored.” –John Piper
“If you create an environment where it’s okay not to be okay, you create an environment where the gospel is breathed in and out constantly. . . We want to constantly drive people back to the cross.
You come in feeling ashamed, you’re feeling dirty, you’re feeling overwhelmed? [God] knows! The whole point of the cross is you being where you are right now—so that you wouldn’t have to be there tomorrow if you submit your heart and life to the sovereign God. So it creates an environment where it’s okay to struggle.” –Matt Chandler
May you know the riches of the truth that God’s grace is both necessary and sufficient for you and that it is yours freely through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
For the sake of His name,