Friday, December 19, 2014

Guest Post: Fruit of Grace

Today I have the privilege to share a post with you written by another very special friend of mine. Carrie-Grace M. is a fourteen-year-old homeschooler, and she gladly accepted the invitation to write for Facing the Waves. Her older brother leads ICBF--our Bible study group--and our families have known each other for about three years now. Thank you, Carrie-Grace, for your enthusiasm in writing this post!


“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” ~Philippians 1:6

God’s sovereignty in our sanctification is a rather knotty issue among Christian circles. After all, God is the One Who sanctifies us, but once we are saved there is still a working out of our salvation that we have to undertake. Faith is not based on works, yet Christians are commanded to bear fruit for God’s glory. No more can we live to the passions of our flesh, and we are held accountable when we do.

Romans 6 says this: “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

In this post, I wanted to look at the beautiful meshing of God’s sovereign grace and our obligations as Christian men and women. How do work and grace weave together to make one whole?

The answer to this starts in our restored relationship with God.

1. We are children of God
We were once alienated from God, strangers to Him without hope. But now, He calls us His friends. We are His brothers, adopted into His family through blood-ties. Through his death and resurrection, we have died to sin and now live to righteousness. The old is gone, the new has come. Our souls have been ushered into the throne-room of grace to have eternal fellowship with God. We work out our salvation as a gracious privilege, given to us from above. This privilege is not meant to hurt us or hold us back, but to free us to do the works that God has prepared for us. True, it holds us back from sinning, but it frees us from the death-grip of sin.

2. We are slaves of the King
In Philippians 2:7, Paul says that Jesus “took the form of a servant.” The Greek word for servant here literally means, “a bondservant, a slave, one devoted to another to the disregard of one’s personal interests.” Christ disregarded Himself when He came to earth. Instead of imposing on others, He served them with a selfless love. And He commands us to do the same. At the Last Supper, He washed the feet of the disciples to set the example for all believers. “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 3:16-17). We are to use our freedom to serve one another, not as an opportunity for the flesh (Gal. 5:13). Christ paid the ultimate price with His blood to buy us back to Himself.

I was doing an English report for school recently, on a few of the “I AM” statements of Jesus. One of the ones I looked up was “I am the vine, you are the branches (John 15:4).” In John 15:1, Jesus refers to God the Father as the vinedresser. I found an interesting point from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia that said that the vines required the constant care of the vine-dresser in order for the fruit to remain healthy. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). God alone is the One Who makes us fruitful and preserves that fruitfulness. Jesus tells us to abide in Him in order to bear this fruit, for through Him, and only through Him, can we thrive spiritually.

If Christ is the source of our work, then what is the work? Galatians 5:25 says this: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” In the next chapter, it goes into detail about how we are to live according to the Spirit: forgiving one another, bearing one another’s burdens, sowing to the Spirit, etc. John 15:10, 12 say, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love…This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus declares that our work is to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We do this by putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and obeying the commands in Scripture. This leads to the working out of our salvation.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

This is our calling. This is our mission. The grace of God works in us to this end.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

His grace toward us is not in vain. On the contrary, we work hard to bear fruit to His glory.

".... it is certain that the Christian does grow in grace.
And though his conflict may be as severe in the last day of his life as in the first moment of conversion, yet he does advance in grace--and all his imperfections and his conflicts within cannot prove that he has not made progress."
~ Charles Spurgeon


Carrie-Grace M. is a Scripture-memorizing cat-lover living in the Mitten of the USA. During the summer, she participates in the National Bible Bee, and enjoys spending time in Scripture there. She likes drawing, reading, and corresponding with friends in between school studies.  

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