This new year, live by grace – Part 1
The New Year presents everyone the opportunity for a new beginning, and a better life. For those who have hitherto lived outside the commands and dictates of Jesus Christ, it brings an opportunity to start afresh with Him. For those who have known Him, it is a chance to get more intimate with the Lord. And this can only be done through the grace that God bestows.
The Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Colossian brethren began with grace and ended with grace. All that it reveals to us from chapters one to four is the expansion, explanation and the work of grace. The acronym ‘GRACE’ stands for God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Everything that believers enjoy in Christ Jesus is by grace, not on the basis of merit or good works. Our redemption and preservation in the Kingdom is by the grace of God. God’s grace works supernatural wonders in the life of His children.
The entire book of Colossians reveals God’s provisions for believers through His grace, mercy and love. Also, it highlights Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross for the redemption of mankind. By God’s grace, believers’ needs are met, their prayers are answered, they enjoy divine visitation and obtain the Christian experiences that make them walk in godliness and be ready for heaven.
Man’s redemption was at Christ’s expense. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” It is obvious that no one can obtain the inheritance, which God has prepared for His children without cleansing in Christ’s blood. Redemption means that Christ purchased us from the slave market of sin through His blood, pardoned and cleansed our sins. Although history chronicled the acts of some famous and heroic men, none of them qualified to redeem man from the bondage of sin. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). God’s promise of man’s redemption was fulfilled through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. To receive pardon and forgiveness, and qualify to enter God’s holy kingdom, sinners must recognise Christ as the only Way, confess and forsake their sins. We can only enter God’s great and glorious kingdom through the door of grace.
Apart from the miracle of healing, deliverance, fruitfulness, provision, promotion, etc., which believers enjoy, the origin and climax of God’s visitation is redemption of humanity from the bondage of sin. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed His people. To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins.”
Our redemption in Christ Jesus is by faith. Therefore, people who attempt to obtain salvation by their good works or by being religious cannot experience the forgiveness and peace of mind that God’s grace brings. Redemption through Christ takes away the burden and guilt of sin. We must, therefore, accept, believe and confess our redemption in Christ, which qualifies us to enjoy other blessings of the Kingdom.
Some believers do not understand the difference between the righteousness of Moses and the one that comes through Christ. Because a breach of any of the Ten Commandments would attract severe punishment, the children of Israel tried to obey them through human efforts. They were helpless as great prophets and leaders like Elijah, David, Moses, etc., could not help them to keep God’s commandments. But Christ brought the gospel of righteousness to the world promised to abide in any believer who lets Him in through the door of his heart. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Christ’s presence within empowers us with the grace to live a righteous life. This is the power of God in man.
Further Reading (King James Version): Colossians 1:1, 2; 4:18; Colossians 1:14; Romans 3:23,24; Luke 1:68,77; Titus 2:11,12,14; Colossians 2:6; 3:16,13,14,15,17; Romans 1:16,17; Colossians 3:1,2; 1:13; Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 4:2.