Ever had a week like this: Sunday- go to church, sing joyful songs of praise, hear an encouraging and challenging sermon about fighting sin, leave with renewed resolution to obey God and beat temptation. Monday- make time to read the Bible and pray, fight with sin going well, feel close to God. Tuesday- managed to scan over a Bible passage before running for the bus, feel flustered but still trying to live whole-heartedly for God. Wednesday- busy day, no time to pray, feeling weak. Thursday- give in to temptation, feel like a rubbish Christian.
And so it goes on.
In this commentary, the person constantly measures their spiritual success by their own achievements or failures. If they made time to pray, they feel good about where they stand with God. If they mess up, they feel ashamed. To them, the way God sees them fluctuates like a spiritual barometer. When they're doing well, He's smiling. When they're not, He's angry.
Terry Virgo's book 'God's Lavish Grace' is a fantastic smash-down to this way of thinking, which ensnares so many Christians today.
Virgo's main point is that Jesus has obtained a place for us to stand in grace, a place of total acceptance and security. He goes through the book of Romans to demonstrate that 'they which receive abundance of grace... shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.' Rom 5:17
Therefore your daily walk with God is not about your spirituality or performance, but about your position in Christ.
Christ's unchanging righteousness is yours every day and is not in the least dependent on your feelings or your performance!
God has not called us to a life of slavery but one of overcoming. We need to KNOW that the blood of Christ is sufficient to cleanse us from every sin (past, present and future); the cross is ENOUGH for us to be forgiven. We can't earn God's approval by our 'good deeds'. On the cross, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' (John 19:30) He dealt with our sin completely. All that is left for us to do is to rejoice in the fact that we are totally accepted by God through Jesus, and then live a life liberated to serve Him, with the empowering help of the Spirit to fight sin.
Virgo's conversational style is engaging and uplifting as he opens up the life-changing truth of God's Word in this book. He shows us how susceptible we are to rely on our own amazingness rather than God's amazingness. He calls us to stop making excuses about human nature and start beating sin out of our lives, because Jesus has given us the freedom NOT to sin. As Christians, we have to believe in that freedom. We can't be fatalistic. We need to sort out sin so that we can properly live up to our status as God's children, and get out there to spread the message of God's lavish grace to a world that desperately needs to hear it.