Through whom (Jesus) we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.… (Romans 5:2).
Along with Paul’s teaching that justification by faith leads to peace with God, he continues the exposition of the benefits of receiving Christ with the statement that we now “stand in grace”. I’m personally convinced that this is a spiritual reality most of us fail to fully comprehend. Because of what Jesus has done, we no longer are in a relationship with God that is based on performance. God always relates to the man or woman who has been justified on the principle of grace.
I would suggest that many of us come to grips with the fact that we can do nothing to earn God’s favor in relationship to salvation. But even embracing that truth, the human tendency to drift back into a performance mode kicks into gear for many of us in our daily relationship with God. I love the expression that says it is impossible to make points with someone who is no longer keeping score. I believe this is what it means to “stand in grace”. When you receive Christ, God no longer keeps score. He always relates to us with grace, because of what Jesus has done.
Does this mean that it doesn’t matter how we live? Not at all. In the coming chapters of Romans Paul is going to teach us how to live in a way that pleases God without being trapped by a performance mentality. But that operating system won’t work as long as we keep putting ourselves back under the principle of performance.
I believe the reason it is so hard for so many to grasp this truth (myself included) is that many of us grew up in families where love was conditional, or was experienced by our childhood minds and emotions as conditional. We have been performance conditioned to think love and acceptance are the result of doing something. Some have an even tougher time experiencing grace if along with being under a performance mentality, that dynamic was accompanied by a sense that no matter how well we performed, it was never good enough to please our parents. No one pulled us aside and let us know, “Your parents are crazy! You can never please them!” As kids, we wouldn’t have had the ability to know what they were talking about.
God is not crazy. He isn’t like Pharaoh who demanded more bricks with less straw. He isn’t like our parents. He did everything on the cross to enable him to always relate to us on the principle of grace. If justified, we stand in grace. When you “get it”, this truth will set you free.
For more on this subject, check out: http://www.highlinecc.org/go/index.php/teaching/recent-videos