Perhaps you heard grace explained using the acronym
and it is certainly true that we receive the abundance of God’s riches—His mercy, love, etc.—through Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. Without Jesus, we are children of wrath separated from God. Through Jesus, we are adopted as God’s sons and daughters and become heirs of His Kingdom.
However, I think there is another acronym that is equally appropriate.
The grace that saves us is also the grace that transforms us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV) We are a new creation called to live a new and different life. We are no longer slaves to sin but have been set free to live righteous lives in obedience to God.
Unfortunately, segments of the church have lost this. In Romans 6:1 Paul writes, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” For some, the answer has become a resounding, “Yes!”, which is the opposite of Paul’s, “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Instead of God’s grace expunging and expelling sin empowering us to live righteously; it has become an excuse to go on sinning. Jesus died to justify sinners not to allow sinners to justify their sin. The wages of sin is still death.
We are not called to make people on “death row” comfortable in their captivity; we are called to set them free. Christians, and the Church, need to rediscover and reclaim the power of God’s grace to overcome sin and slavery to it. Instead of remaining conformed to the world, we need to cooperate with God so we are transformed into the image of His beloved Son Jesus.
The grace that saves is the grace that transforms. Not some watered down version that makes sinners comfortable, the real thing that confronts us in our sin, justifies us with God and empowers us to live the life God has called us to. Don’t settle for anything less.