In the first post in this short series, I explained that I’m working my way through a few posts on the topic of perseverance. But, I’m dealing with some different issues related to perseverance and the church, perhaps some topics that we don’t often deal with. For example, the first post dealt with persevering through temptation and the second post dealt with persevering through forgiveness.
In today’s post, I’m looking at persevering in grace. That seems strange doesn’t it. We are saved by Gods grace, and we live by God’s grace. So, why do we need to persevere in grace?
Well, let’s begin with something that Peter wrote:
By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. (1 Peter 5:12 ESV)
In this short sentence, Peter tells us that Silvanus wrote down his letter. And, he tells us why he wrote the letter: to exhort his readers to stand firm (i.e., persevere) in the true grace of God.
On the surface, you would think that the grace of God would be something that comes naturally to his children – much like forgiveness. But, Peter – at least – thinks it’s necessary for people to persevere in grace in the way they think and the way they live.
In ourselves, we slink away from grace and toward self-righteousness or works to try to please God. Grace is too easy, too forgiving, too powerful. We need something else. So, we add something else on our own, which makes us feel better about ourselves. But, that’s not grace.
Similarly, we often are willing to accept grace for ourselves, but demand something else for others. The grace that saves us and empowers us to live in Christ is the same grace that God offers to others. We must willing to allow others to live in that same grace!
So, Peter commands, “Stand firm in [grace]!” Check your motives; check your attitude; check your reasons; check your goals. Are you standing firm in the true grace of God? If not, move back into grace.
And, guess what? Peter is speaking in the plural here: Y’all stand firm in grace!
Of course, this is not surprising when you read through Peter’s letter and recognize how community-centered it is. Not just community, of course – a community that is centered in Jesus Christ.
We need one another (in Christ) to help us stand firm (persevere) in grace. We need to be willing to ask one another if we are living in the grace of God. We need to be willing to listen to one another if someone suggests we may not be resting in God’s grace. We need one another to help us persevere in grace, just as we need one another to help us persevere during temptation and to help us persevere in forgiveness.
Do you have any stories that you can share with us about how your brothers and sisters in Christ have helped you stand firm in God’s grace, or how you have helped others persevere in grace?