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One of the greatest gifts that I have received from the ministry of Pastor Chuck was his emphasis on the grace of God. Not just the grace that saves, but the grace that upholds and sustains.

Returning to Why Grace Changes Everything

I frequently come back to these paragraphs from his important book Why Grace Changes Everything.

“One of the most tragic errors the church can make is to emphasise the work that believers should be doing for God. How many times have you heard heavy, condemning sermons that tell you, “You ought to be praying more! You ought to be giving more! You ought to be witnessing more, or reading your Bible more, or serving God on some committee more!” How often do you go to church looking for encouragement only to hear about your failure and how disappointed God must be with you?“

The last thing I need is for someone to lay a heavy burden on me about my failures. I know I ought to be doing more. No one needs to tell me that I don’t pray enough or read my Bible enough or give to God enough. All I get from such messages is a huge guilt complex. My frustration increases because I really want to love God more, to pray more, to have a deeper fellowship with Him. When we place our emphasis on areas of failure, we end up creating defeated, discouraged Christians who give up and drop out of the race.

What a different message we see when we turn to the New Testament! It highlights not what we ought to be doing for God, but what God has already done for us. What we can do for God can never be enough. Our efforts at righteousness are always marred by our imperfections. What God has done for us is perfect, beautiful, complete, and fantastic. How sad that we have reversed the equation and constantly harp upon our responsibility instead of God’s wonderful grace! This is why we see so much of the church on the verge of dying out. We don’t need someone to remind us of our failures as much as we need someone to show us the way out of our predicament. We need grace, not guilt.

Believing in God’s Promise

God has given you one simple responsibility: to believe in His promise. You can enjoy the blessing of a relationship with God even though you may not pray enough, or give enough, or sacrifice enough because of your faith in what God has already done for you.

God made Jesus to be sin for you that you might be made the righteousness of God through Him. Jesus imparts to you His righteousness when you simply place your faith and trust in the work He has done for you. His work is all of grace.”

The Simple Truth

How often do I myself need to be reminded of the simple truth that God is graciously and kindly disposed towards His children, not based on what we do for Him, but because of what Jesus has done for us!

Mike Neglia is the lead pastor at Calvary Cork, having moved to Ireland from Fallbrook, California, in 2003. In addition to pursuing a master’s degree at Western Seminary, Mike serves on the Calvary Global Network Executive Team and hosts the Expositors Collective podcast.