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We Obey What We Love

Grace Transformation Motivation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-11-21

Scripture: Galatians 3:3 ; 2 Corinthians 5:17

Author: Mitchell Dillon
3

ILLUSTRATION

Paul tells us that when we become Christians we become “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), that we “put off the old self with its practices … and have put on the new self, which is being renewed” (Colossians 3:9-10, ESV).  Like a butterfly that rises from its cocoon, we emerge as renewed creatures.

Before, we trusted in good works for salvation, now we trust in the finished work of Christ. Before, we lived in fear and shame, now we live in light of God’s perfect love and forgiveness. Before, we resolved to do better by conjuring up the mustard to overcome bad habits and sinful behaviors, now we resolve to do better by conjuring up the mustard to overcome bad habits and sinful behaviors.

Wait a minute!! That last one didn't sound any different than what we were doing before our salvation. How is it that grace has transformed everything about us except the process of transformation itself? Could it be that we are failing to turn to grace at this strategic point and are relying on old habits instead? Seriously, how is the approach most of us take to overcoming bad behavior any different from how we exercised self-control before we came to faith in Christ?

APPLICATION

It is important to take note that in all of the ways that grace has affected a change in our lives there has always been a transition from relying on human effort to relying on divine provision.  With that all-important point in mind, we fool ourselves if we think that we have transitioned to grace in our efforts to overcome sin if we are, in fact, still relying on human effort.

This was Paul’s point when he asked the legalistic Galatians, “After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). They began their Christian experience by relying on God’s provision for salvation but they attempted to go on to maturity not by grace but by continuing to rely on human effort. Sound familiar?

The real solution to chronic issues of disobedience isn’t more effort but more love. To turn to human effort to solve a problem that was created by human effort is nonsensical, as Paul pointed out.  What we need, instead, is to love God more than the things that tempt us away from Him.

Here's the central point: We Obey What We Love.

We yield to temptation because we love the things that tempt us. We overcome temptation by loving God more than anything else. But search as we may, this love won't be found in our flesh. To find it, we must turn from ourselves and ask God to fill us with more of His love.

So, when you find yourself failing to be obedient to God over something, don’t resolve to do better or try harder next time. Instead, ask God to give you a love for pleasing Him that’s greater than your love for that sin. When it's more love for God that provides the victory, then you can rest assured that you have not only begun your Christian journey in the Spirit but that you are learning to finish it in the Spirit, as well.

"Work Makes Free"

Grace False Hope Works Salvation

Source: A Sermon entitled "The Great Rescue"

Contributed By: John Reed | Date Posted: 2021-11-01

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8

Author: Johnny V. Miller
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ILLUSTRATION

Johnny V. Miller delivered the following message:

When I was a teenager, I became fascinated, appalled, and grieved by the literature of the Holocaust … One scene that haunts me is a picture from Auschwitz. Above the entryway to the concentration camp were the words, Arbeit macht frei. The same thing stood above the camp at Dachau. It means, "work makes free"—work will liberate you and give you freedom.

It was a lie—a false hope. The Nazis made the people believe hard work would equal liberation, but the promised "liberation" was horrifying suffering and even death.

APPLICATION

Mr. Miller adds:

Arbeit macht frei. One reason that phrase haunts me is because it is the spiritual lie of this age. It is a satanic lie. It's a religious lie. It is a false hope—an impossible dream for many people in the world. They believe their good works will be great enough to outweigh their bad works, allowing them to stand before God in eternity and say, "You owe me the right to enter into your heaven."

But it's the love of God that liberates. It's the blood of Jesus Christ that liberates. He died in my place, and I am free.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Grace Is Just Too Easy

Grace Salvation Skepticism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-04-22

Scripture: Romans 6:23 ; John 3:3

Author: Illustration Exchange
7

ILLUSTRATION

Those who work hard to earn their salvation often respond to the message of grace with, “If that were true, if it really were a free gift with no strings attached, I’d accept it and then do whatever I wanted.”

What such a response reveals is that serving God isn't what they don't really want to be doing; they're only doing it to appease God.  

Of course, such a reaction fails to comprehend the nature of the gift itself.  The gift isn't a license to do whatever we want but a deposit of love that brings with it a whole new set of desires.  Those who receive this gift are energized by the presence of the Holy Spirit to love God as freely as they have been loved by God.  The gift of eternal life isn't replacing legalism with license, it's replacing legalism with love. 

APPLICATION

The lack of self-awareness among those who feel this way is truly astounding.  Without realizing it, they are freely admitting that without the threat of God’s judgment, they would lack the motivation to please God.  They are of the opinion that they need fear in order to keep them from going off the rails.  What they don't realize is that God doesn't want their fear, He wants their love.  

Just doing what we want isn’t love.  Serving God after receiving salvation as a gift is love. 

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again'" (John 3:3). 

Call Me Daddy

Dependence on God Maturity Grace

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-09-05

Scripture: Galatians 4:6

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Be Perfect!

Grace Religion Works Salvation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-05-28

Scripture: Matthew 5:48

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Simon the Leper

Forgiveness Grace Mercy

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2020-01-13

Scripture: Matthew 26:6

Author: Thomas Bevers
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Debt Canceled

Forgiveness Grace Debt

Contributed By: Charles Schuyler | Date Posted: 2019-09-15

Scripture: Romans 6:23 ; Ephesians 2:8

Author: Charles Schuyler
4

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If You Pay For Anything, You Pay for Everything

Grace Works Salvation Atonement

Contributed By: Allen Snapp | Date Posted: 2019-06-07

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8 ; Romans 11:6

Author: Allen Snapp
10

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George Wilson Must Die

Grace Condemnation Pardon

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2019-05-19

Scripture: John 3:16 ; Colossians 2:14

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Heaven Series--Surprise #7: The People We Will Find In Heaven

Heaven Series Grace Paradox

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-24

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8 ; John 3:3

Author: Mitchell Dillon
8

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