The Grace, The Groan, And The Glory
Many people are reluctant to be baptized into Christ because they are uncertain as to exactly what living a Christian life will be like. They’re not sure what all Christianity is about, and they’re not sure they can live the lifestyle of a Christian. A brief overview of Christianity can be seen under the heading “The Grace, The Groan, And The Glory.”
The Grace is God, in loving kindness and mercy, extending to us the opportunity to be forgiven of our sins and enter into eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. We were hopelessly condemned in the guilt of our own sin (Rom. 3:9-10; 23). In sinning, we left the pathway of faithfulness to God (Prov. 2:13-14). We turned from the light of righteousness to the darkness of sinfulness (1 Jn. 1:5-6). The consequence of sin is “death” (Rom. 6:23), ultimately eternal death (Rev. 21:8).
We were guilty, and there was nothing that we, on our own, could do to remove our guilt. We were down for the count, lost, doomed. But God stepped in and made the way for us to be forgiven and saved. He did not have to do it. We did not deserve it, could not expect it after having turned away from God. But God stepped in anyway and sent His Son to die on the cross to pay the price for the guilt of our sins (Rom. 5:8; Gal. 1:4; Heb. 9:26-28). Only by God’s grace were we offered the way out of our hopeless condition (Eph. 2:8; Tit. 3:3-7).
The Groan, for many people, is the very idea of having to live a Christian life. They see a righteous lifestyle as drudgery, one of commitment, restriction and obligation. In their mind it’s a negative. But any chosen course in life requires commitment and some degree of cost (Lk. 14:28-30, 33). While God expects our total commitment to Him (Matt. 22:37), He has already abundantly demonstrated His love toward us (Jn. 3:16). We will experience some difficulties along the way (2 Tim. 3:12). After all, the devil is our deadly enemy (1 Pet. 5:6-9). But God has promised to be with us and provide us victory over our enemy (Jas. 4:7-8; 1 Cor. 10:13). The real groan should be our longing to get to Heaven and be with God (2 Cor. 5:1-4).
The Glory is eternal life with God and Christ in Heaven! We endure here whatever difficulties might confront us, including those instigated by the devil, because we’re focused on eternal glory (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:16-18). In becoming a Christian we’re called into God’s glory (Rom. 2:7; 5:2; 1 Thess. 2:12). Being “in Christ” is the only way to true glory (2 Cor. 10:17). Nothing we could hope to achieve in this world begins to compare with the glory we can share with God in Heaven for eternity. At the same time, while still here in this world, we need to remember that the focus of our lives should be to bring glory to God (1 Cor. 10:31).
Christianity begins with forgiveness and salvation through God’s grace. It continues as we groan to be there in Heaven with God. It culminates in the glory of actually living with Him in Heaven. The grace, the groan, and the glory! Who, in their right mind, would pass it up for the fleeting pleasures of sin? (Acts 22:16; 2 Cor. 6:2)…
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Gary L. Hutchens