I have heard many reports of great discussions in the past 5 weeks as Life Groups have discussed the GraceWorks sermon series. For many people it may have been the first time they have heard Grace described in this way. That it is Jesus and absolutely nothing else that saves us and keeps us saved. I know if I had heard this series of sermons 15 years ago, I would have had a 1000 questions and demanded a meeting with the Pastor! In fact, about 15 years ago I did have a 1000 question as I began about a 2 year journey of changing how I viewed Grace, which was actually how I viewed sanctification. I knew I wasn’t good enough to save myself, (justification), yet somehow I thought I was good enough to keep myself saved(sanctification). After much study, prayer, many discussions, a number of debates, (and by debate I mean “intense fellowship” to quote Josh Olson) and writing a 15 page paper for a theology class, I came to the conclusion that depending on myself to ‘keep myself saved” was going to end poorly for me. It wasn’t a light that switched on in an instant, but a process, one that required me to deal with one of my deepest sin issues, pride. Admitting that I am not good enough and cannot do enough good things, and that only God “can save me and keep me saved”. Admitting that you aren’t good enough can be very difficult, we all want to contribute in some way to our salvation. Did this change how I lived my life as a Christian, did I suddenly begin to live a life of sin, no, but it did change my motivation for serving Jesus Christ. It felt like a huge weight was lifted and I could follow Jesus out of love, instead of out of fear, fear that my next sin might doom me to hell. I actually practiced a forgiveness prayer I could repeat really fast if I ever got in a situation where I thought I was going to die! I actually used it more than you would think!!
I know there are many in our church hearing Grace described in this way for the first time. This is a theological issue that is very important to Shadow Lake Church, one we feel very strongly about. We insist it is grace plus nothing!! That is my GraceWorks story. I would love to hear yours.
Pastor Roger Graber
Shadow Lake Community Church