Galatians 1:6-9 (NASB)
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
I believe that all believers respond to the circumstances of life from either a grace heart or a law heart. I will truly know about my heart only if I put it to the test.
Test it out, (each day as you encounter situations and circumstances of life). Who are you trusting with those situations and circumstances? Do you approach these with a law or grace mindset? With a law mind set you might be tempted to think, what did I DO wrong? What DO I need to DO in order for this to change?
With the grace mind set our mind set may be something like this. “Lord Jesus, I have something on my plate that I don’t have human resources to DO something about it. I also know that this could be because of choices that I have made. However, I do know that it is not a result of my performance in my relationship with You.”
Who are we trusting when life circumstances and situations “test” us! My self, a law mind set, (uh oh, my performance has not been up to snuff so I better right the ship”!), Or Jesus? His performance on the cross and being raised from the dead is enough to convince me that He is not out to GET ME!! He grace is sufficient and His mercy is brand new every second of my life. Circumstances and situations, not withstanding!!!
As a young believer, I would have failed this grace test. I was taught, not necessarily overtly but covertly, that behavior was primary in a believer’s life. I was so focused on my behavior I completely lost sight of my relationship with Jesus. I don’t ever remember verses being taught to me like John 15: 5. I am the vine you are the branches (enter your name), whoever abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing.
Reread this verse. It was spoken by Jesus, Himself. This is not second hand information. Do you find the word “behave” or “perform” in that verse? No, I didn’t think so. Abiding in Him, in its simplest form means remaining in Him. When someone is trying to pull you into a “right behavior” mindset, don’t fall for it. Remain in Him! Keep trusting in Him and He will keep you in perfect peace!
Being focused on my behavior brought a lot of frustration for me. I felt guilty when I did not live up to someone else’s imagined, or self-constructed behavior standard. And when I thought I had hit the mark, I became judgmental and condemning of those who didn’t. Then one day I read Galatians 1:6.
Galatians 1:6-7 (MSG) I can't believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head.
This passage became more than information to me that day. The words of that long sentence became more than printer’s ink on the page. It became revelation! “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him (Jesus) who called you by the grace of Christ for another gospel, (performance for acceptance), which is really not another, only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ;”.
And what is this gospel of Christ? In a sentence, Jesus plus nothing! No additives! His life in us is sufficient for our every need, every situation, every circumstance.
Do you want to know if you are abiding in Him or abiding in your performance? Then take the grace test. Answer truthfully and then it is up to you. If you fail, do something about it. “What should I do,” you may ask. Quit trying and start trusting in Jesus instead of yourself. Otherwise you will continue to live and abide in your performance and continue to be frustrated with yourself and others as well. I have never met a happy, contented, and restful law abiding believer. Something is always wrong, and or somebody is always wrong and messing up.
Take the test. It is for you and you only, to know the results Jesus already knows!
Now for the grace test:
People around me feel accepted by me, especially my immediate family.
T or F
I live a life generally free of guilt and shame.
T or F
1 Corinthians 6:8-11;
I am overwhelmed with God’s love for me.
T or F
1 John 4:16;18;
I relate to God as a child relates to a loving dad, rather than a slave to a master or a student to a teacher.
T or F
Romans 8:15; Hebrews 2:15
It is important how we relate, because how we relate is how we operate.
The word ‘rest’ would describe how I am on the inside most of the time.
T or F
Hebrews 4:3 - describes ‘rest’.
Hebrews 4:9-11 - It is when we are striving to earn our acceptance from God we are not resting.
When I explain the gospel, people sometimes ask “Does this mean I can go out and sin?”
T or F
Titus 2:11& Romans 6 - covers this question completely.
I realize the 10 commandments are not for the Christian, but for the non-Christian.
T or F
I realize more and more I can do nothing without the indwelling Jesus Christ.
T or F
For me to live is_______________. You fill in the blank. It is either “Christ” or “law” that goes in that blank. Philippians 1:21
I believe the deepest desire of every Christian’s heart is to please God.
T or F?
The marks of a Christian disciple are: 1. They love Jesus (depend on Him). 2. They love one another.
John 13:34; John 15:9;
How did you score? If you mark the majority of your answers with a “T” then you live the majority of the time out of a grace heart. Coming full circle, no matter how you scored remember, apart from Jesus, you and I can do nothing!!
So, how about you? Do you find yourself trying to DO all of the right things and still feel frustrated and defeated? At Crossway we love teaching people about the good news of God’s grace and how it brings us rest. Give us a call or click on the Counseling button below, we’d love to hear from you!