articlesqa October 31, 2016 sufficient grace
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of

I have of­ten won­dered why I am not al­to­geth­er saved. I mean I be­lieve in Je­sus and the Holy Spir­it lives in me but why am I still sus­cep­ti­ble to sin? Have I not died in Christ and now alive in Him? If so, then why am I not so dead to tem­pa­tions so that I must still flee these youth­ful lusts? Why didn’t He just take away every bad habit on the day of my sal­va­tion? For there are sins that He has ground to dust un­der my feet and vic­to­ries He has so thor­ough­ly won. But then there is still the oc­ca­sion­al anger that be­comes fuel for my pride. So why is this even this pride still around? This ques­tion an­noys and an­noys me. Some­times it’s me. Some­times I get weak from a lack of de­vo­tion to the Word, the prayers and the fel­low­ship Acts 2:42. But some­times, even while, do­ing these things, I still find my­sef in spir­i­tu­al bat­tles for my soul. To the point where I have thought to my­self, “If I can­not over­come this sin once and for all then am I real­ly saved?”

Now there are many shades and de­tails to this anx­i­ety over sin and the prospect of sin. We should be­gin by say­ing the very fact that I’m in a fight means I have not been con­quered, that I am free from sin. You may speak more to your pas­tor about this. To­day we are con­cerned with the Wis­dom of God in fight­ing our bat­tles. Let us no­tice first that Chris­tians are odd crea­tures. All Chris­tians, to vary­ing de­grees, should be suf­fer­ing from post trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der. For there is no trau­ma greater than sin and every sin­gle day, we bat­tle against our­selves and the world along with its pow­ers and prin­ci­pal­i­ties. Yet in my­self, sur­pris­ing­ly, right along side sor­row and weari­ness from this dai­ly fight, I find joy and strength to keep go­ing on. It is an odd com­bi­na­tion. I am NOT quiv­er­ing in the cor­ner afraid to sleep Psalms 127:2, haunt­ed by all the things I did wrong and lament­ing all that could have been. In­stead, amidst this dai­ly grind of vic­to­ry and flight, I re­joice. I am as David, be­set on every side, and yet I have the time and the heart to sing a psalm Psalms 34:1-5. Glo­ry be to God in Heav­en, His Grace does not fail me. Glo­ry be to God in Heav­en, His Grace does not over­whelm me. Glo­ry, glo­ry, as the tears well up, glo­ry be to God in Heav­en. His Grace is suf­fi­cient for me.

God our Gen­er­al

Be­fore en­ter­ing the promised land, God said a cu­ri­ous thing to Is­rael. In Deuteron­o­my 7:22, God es­sen­tial­ly promised that He would NOT wipe out their en­e­mies be­fore them all at once. He said that He did not want His peo­ple to be overun by the beasts of the land. God is so wise. In one sin­gle sen­tence He ex­press­es what our math­e­mat­ics would call a dif­fer­en­tial equa­tion. In a sim­i­lar way, when you are saved, God will not just free you from every sin­gle sin. Some you will be freed from so that you for­get you ever even strug­gled. But oth­ers will take a lot of fight­ing. Why?

For the same rea­son as He gave to Is­rael. Read the Deuteron­o­my 7:22 again. As an anal­o­gy, think of your sin and strong­holds as the na­tions of the land. Much as I would love to be free of these im­me­di­ate­ly, what about the wild beasts? What about the chaos my life would be­come when these struc­tures that “held me up” are pulled away? Would my life not col­lapse into such dis­ar­ray that I might be­come again prone to seek­ing oth­er gods to wor­ship? There are many ex­am­ples of this. When some­one is in a car ac­ci­dent, it is not al­ways good to pull them out. Some­times the twist­ed met­al is the only thing hold­ing their body to­geth­er.The dan­ger from with­in (sin) and the dan­ger from with­out (per­se­cu­tion) are the tools God uses to hold the church to­geth­er. Hence the weak­ness of the West­ern church. We en­ter into coun­tries and leave them bereft of gov­ern­ment so that af­ter we leave, the end of the peo­ple is worse than the be­gin­ning. Je­sus warned against this ex­act same thing in Matthew 12:43-45. God does not fight wars like we do. He does not cre­ate pow­er vac­cu­ums that He does not come in to fill. Were God to free us from the evil that be­sets us, with­out first en­sur­ing that we would sub­mit to Him in that area of our lives, He would leave us open to chaos or a deep­er slav­ery.

Ah, so am I say­ing that you shouldn’t fight to be free from your sins? Af­ter all, those are the things keep­ing your life to­geth­er? NO! And a re­sound­ing NO! That would be to make the same mis­take again. My prob­lem, our prob­lem, is that we would love to fight sin ac­cord­ing to our own wis­dom. I am show­ing you a glimpse into the depth of His Wis­dom which I have not even be­gun to see. I am show­ing you that in this fight against sin, you must go at God’s pace. He is the Gen­er­al and He de­cides how fast you must fight and what vic­to­ries will be sure. If you refuse to en­ter and fight at His Word, then you will wan­der in desert and die like Is­rael Deuteron­o­my 11:4-6, 16-17. If you go ahead of Him (al­though you lack the pow­er) then you will ei­ther make al­liances with sin like Is­rael did with GibeonJoshua 9:4-6, 14-15 or you will clear out the prin­ci­pal­i­ties too quick­ly and be­come open to even more slav­ery. Are you smarter than God? No? Then re­lax. Pray fer­vent­ly for di­rec­tion, read the Word and trust in Him. With all your might, fight the good fight He has told you to fight to­day. Die the death you must die to your­self to­day Luke 9:23, 1 Corinthi­ans 15:30-32. To­day’s bat­tle is suf­fi­cient for to­day Matthew 6:34 and His Grace is suf­fi­cient for to­day’s vic­to­ry over sin 2 Corinthi­ans 12:9.

Suf­f­i­cent for Grace

We have said else­where that grace is only for the hum­ble, for the weak and for the naked. The proud have no need of grace since they are too busy dy­ing. Now God ex­plains how this works in 2 Corinthi­ans 12:9. In this verse, we find more math­e­mat­ics. This time an in­verse pro­por­tion. “My pow­er is made per­fect in your weak­ness.” The weak­er you are, the more per­fect His vic­to­ries over sin in your life. This also means that God can­not do as much in the lives of those who claim to be strongPsalms 78:41. In His Wis­dom, He has de­cid­ed that His Grace shall be suf­fi­cient. Not less than suf­fi­cient and not more than suf­fi­cient. Now it is your turn. You must be­come suf­fi­cient for grace. As you ac­knowl­edge your weak­ness and hunger and as you stop pin­ing for Egypt­ian foodNum­bers 11:5 and “in­ner” (idol) strength, then you be­come suf­fi­cient­ly weak for grace. Then sud­den­ly, God’s Grace that seemed in­suf­fi­cient, be­comes suf­fi­cient and and even per­fect.Or as prophet Goldilocks once said in the house of 3 bears, “This por­ridge is just right.” This is why Je­sus said, “Blessed are the poor in spir­it for theirs is the King­dom of God.” Matthew 5:3 Grace is not so weak as to be un­able to keep you. Grace is not too strong so that you are at risk of be­com­ing a gib­ber­ing shell of your vac­u­ous for­mer self. Like man­na from heav­en, His Grace is suf­fi­cient for you. The ques­tion is this: are you suf­fi­cient for grace?

For this rea­son the Chris­t­ian church must not be so ea­ger to grow that they for­get to re­quire hu­milty and faith. We must not con­quer the world with pol­i­tics or by oth­er forms of our own wis­dom. By these means we be­come too strong for grace. Yes, the world is per­ish­ing and we must save those who will be saved. But we must help to save and not de­stroy them. Why cast one de­mon when we lack the pow­er to keep the rest of them out? Let us wait on the Lord. Let us re­buke and ex­hort in His Holy Name and at His Com­mand. Pray, preach and do the Word and wait for the Spir­it. The one who is tru­ly saved will nev­er be lost. The one who is hur­ried­ly saved, well, God have mer­cy. At worst, such peo­ple will wreck church­es. Let us not end up like Saul who lost the king­dom be­cause he could not wait and there­by of­fered the sac­ri­fice of dis­obe­di­ence!?1 Samuel 13:8-14 Obe­di­ence is bet­ter than con­verts.In re­al­i­ty, we are of­ten not af­ter con­verts but com­fort. Since life would be eas­i­er if every­one act­ed like we did. Are we not then too busy re­mak­ing men and women in our own im­age. How shall God be pleased? If His Grace is suf­fi­cient, then we can wait and pray.

There are things I am wait­ing for from the Lord. Things I wish He would have giv­en me yes­ter­day. Yet His Grace has been suf­fi­cient to pro­vide me with oth­er things. Yes­ter­day, I was hun­gry on the bus and I praised God for the knowl­edge that my hunger was tem­po­rary be­cause I had food at home. It has not al­ways been this way and there are many who hunger and also suf­fer be­cause there is no prospect of food. Yet isn’t it strange that great gifts be­come worth­less when your heart longs for some­thing else, some­thing that seems more? Watch the news and see the mil­lions who are dy­ing from the dis­eases of the Egyp­tians, af­fluen­za Deuteron­o­my 7:15, 28:60. Oh they will give it var­i­ous names (obe­si­ty, smok­ing, di­a­betes, war and so on). Most of the time though, is it not that we are slow­ly, trag­i­cal­ly be­ing crushed un­der the weight of “more”? So shall I cry and mourn over that which He will give or shall I re­joice and praise Him for what He has pro­vid­ed with­in His Suf­fi­cient Grace Phillip­i­ans 4:4-9. I sup­posed the choice is mine Deuteron­o­my 30:19-20.

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“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3