In Spite Of . . .

If someone was to ask me, what word I would pick that encapsulates the reality of Christianity, I would have to say GRACE. And it’s not just grace as it applies to who I used to be, it also pertains to who I am now, outside of Christ and in Christ. I know that I have been born again. I know that God’s Holy Spirit lives within my spirit. I know that I am a new creature in Him. I know that. But I also know the me in me.

I personally believe that the Apostle Paul addresses this reality in Romans 7:14-25. I may no longer follow through with things that I used to do, I may not voice thoughts that I used to say, but they are still there, they do at times come to my remembrance, as options I might exercise. I just don’t always give into them like I used to. And the reason for that is actually simple. Even though there is a remembrance, even sometimes even a desire, the desire to do God’s will, in a good number of instances, has become greater, than me exercising my own bodily will.

I wish I could say that these decisions I make cover the full spectrum of my thoughts and activities, but it does not. IN SPITE OF the changes that have taken place within my mind, heart and spirit, this body that I live in, is still prone to wanting at times, desiring at times, to revert to my former ways. The thought to strike back, use harsh words, or demonstrate in some manner, my superiority. Elements of my self pride still live within me. I think this was true for Paul too.

That’s not to say that there aren’t others that are smarter or more kinder and giving or more talented than me, because there certainly are. I know that.

Yet, as I have learned through many hard lessons, what stops me, many times, is the acknowledgement of my own inferiority. And that inferiority pertains to Jesus. If Jesus is to be formed in me, if my thoughts are to be taken captive, then I really need to take these choices I face seriously.

I think it’s how Jesus followed His Father’s will, that has the most influence on me not exercising my own desire and will. God asks us to be holy like He is holy. That means our every thought, our every purpose and our every desire. Have you ever seriously tried doing that? Can we truly even conceive what that is? Fail in just one aspect of the Law and we have failed it all. Just one. I don’t personally think that we can comprehend perfection, or being holy, like God the Father, Jesus the Son or God’s Holy Spirit is holy. But to help us with that perception problem, what did God do?

God sent us His Son. God in the flesh. Not only did Jesus speak the will of the Father, but He perfectly followed the will of the Father in literally everything that He did and everything that He said. Because Jesus was in the flesh, like we are, Jesus knew His own will. He just never followed it, when it conflicted with the will of the Father. “Never the less, not My will, but Thy will be done.” The will that Jesus had was not tainted like ours because there was no sin nature residing in Jesus. Then, on top of that we have, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” Honestly, that just boggles my mind.

I see in Jesus, what I in this body, can never be. Sin resides in this body that I live in. That is a reality. And that is why God has decreed that it shall die and to those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus, they shall be given a new body, that is no longer subjected to the sin that resides within us.

And although it is indeed true that I don’t sin near as much as I used to, I strongly suspect that we’ve barely scratched the surface. And why is that you ask? Because we’re talking about a spectrum that is much larger than what we comprehend and we’re talking about depths of sin within us that we barely recognize. God is holy, holy, holy. There is only one reason and one reason alone that I could be called “holy” and that is because of the Spirit of Christ that lives in me, while I am yet in this body. That is the only reason, plain and simple.

And that righteousness that is imputed to us, is given to us, is because of the will of God our Father, expressed and demonstrated through the perfect obedience of God the Son, in the power of God’s Holy Spirit, to the credit or glory of God. That’s God’s holiness and righteousness, perfectly executed in the person of His Son, not my holiness or righteousness at all, not even close. And that faith or trust in God is fore-pictured in Abraham, when he believed and trusted in God and his faith was credited to him as righteousness. (Romans 4:3) And that, once again, is due to God’s sheer GRACE.

How else could that gap between the unholy and holy possibly be bridged? Tell me if that isn’t beautiful!

John 3:16 NASB
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”

That’s God’s love being the source, us receiving the given Son by faith (belief/trust), then us being the recipients, by grace, of eternal life through the demonstrated credited righteousness of the Son.

Forgive as you have been forgiven. -no contest-
Show mercy because we have been shown mercy. -no contest-
Do not return evil for evil. -no contest-

Galatians 5:5 NASB
“For we, through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.” Jesus is our righteousness.

That’s in spite of me, not because of me, and that’s grace.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!


  1. The older and the more I understand of Gods Grace and on top of that imputed Holiness, the very concept and reality of Grace is a massive bridge way more wonderful and strong than ones imagination can even go.
    I so agree…Grace.
    The moment I attempt any explanation, I dummy it down.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So true, Bruce. The choices we make end up making us. Case in point, at some time during the pandemic I started stress eating and it began to show around my middle. To get back to a healthier weight I had to choose to quit snacking when I’m stressed. Blessings, brother!


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