Grace: A delicate balance between legalism and lawlessness

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Happy New Year! What a great morning it has been and an exceptional start to a brand new year. Going into 2023, I have renewed purpose to continue blogging on this site in addition to my Forward From 50 platform.

My church was closed today for the New Year’s holiday, but a friend invited me to attend Calvary Phoenix with her family. It was refreshing to see the service packed with believers anxious to start a new year, and seekers hoping 2023 will be better than last year.

There was something noble, right and honorable about meeting with other believers on the first day of a new year. It was an opportunity to praise God, thank him for what he has already provided, and seek direction on how to best serve him in the year ahead.

Pastor Jordan Taylor delivered an inspiring message to lay a solid foundation for 2023 by reminding believers that God’s grace in truth is a delicate balance between legalism (feeling you must earn God’s approval) and lawlessness (seeing God’s grace as a license to sin). While the pendulum of our hearts often swings to one side or the other, our goal is to remain right in the center of God’s grace.

It’s impossible to be sinless, yet we can strive to sin less and less each day. Pastor Taylor offered a profound insight. While Satan wants you to believe that because you continue to struggle with sin, that’s proof you have not been saved; however, the fact you do struggle is actually proof of your salvation. Why? Because worldly people don’t really care when they give in to the temptations of sin.

Remember the reassurance in Proverbs 24:16, “…though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” As believers saved by Christ, our goal should not be to wallow in the muck and mire of our sin by thinking “I’m already dirty, so what’s one more time?”

Rather, we must rise again, dust ourselves off, immediately confess our sin to Jesus and rely on his grace to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Philippians 1:6 encourages us to be confident that he (God), who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 42:3, one of my favorite Bible verses, proclaims, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.”

If you want a different year in 2023 than you had in 2022, then you must keep your eyes on heaven rather than on the minutia of issues and concerns our enemy will use to distract us from our God-given purpose.

Attending Calvary church today was such a wonderful experience, I’m going to try finding a church service every Jan. 1, regardless of what day that falls on.

I am looking forward to blogging on this site again. There is way more darkness in the world today than there was even six months ago. My primary goal for 2023 is to be the light. You can read more about that decision in my most-recent blog post at Forward From 50.

May you enjoy a happy, healthy, productive, challenging, but rewarding, adventurous, meaningful and memorable year in 2023.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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