Let me give you the heart of the true grace message: It is not a permissive gospel but one that teaches holiness!
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13, NKJV).

According to Paul, we are not walking in grace until we have broken from worldly corruptions. Unless we are endeavoring through the power of the Holy Spirit to lead godly and righteous lives, looking for the Lord’s coming in our every waking moment, we do not know God’s grace.

Many Christians want forgiveness, but that is all. They do not want to be delivered from this present world because they love it. They are attached to their sins, not wanting to give up the pleasures of this earth. So they cling to a doctrine that says, “I can live as I please as long as I say that I believe.”

They do not want to hear about obedience, repentance, self- denial, picking up their cross, taking on the yoke or burden of Christ. They simply want to be excused on Judgment Day and to have all their iniquities overlooked. They expect Jesus to open up the pearly gates, put his arms around them, and lead them down a golden street to their reserved mansion, even though they have never broken from the spirit of this world!
Paul writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). We are to break from this world completely and be conformed to Christ alone!

Jesus justifies us through faith for a purpose. It is to embolden and empower us to resist the devil and overcome the world. “[Jesus Christ] gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4).


My friend Eric had a very hard childhood. His father told him repeatedly, “You’re no good, and you’ll never amount to anything.”
As Eric grew older he turned to drugs. “I was a terrible addict,” he says. “I mixed together all kinds of things that could have killed me. I was even terrible at being an addict. My needle would break, or I would be short of cash to feed my habit. I felt like a total failure.”

Eric’s life became a complete mess. His addiction drained him of every penny, so he decided to rob a convenience store to buy more drugs. He pulled out a gun and shouted, “Everybody up against the wall!” The store was so crowded that all the people couldn’t fit against the wall. Confused, Eric ran away.

In despair, Eric eventually resolved to shoot himself with the shotgun he had used for the attempted robbery. However, he dropped the gun, and it misfired, wounding him in the side. As Eric drove himself to the hospital, he thought, “I’m such a miserable failure I can’t even kill myself.” After being treated for his wound, Eric walked the streets in total despair. Deep down, he cried out to God, “Are you there at all? Is there any reason for me to keep living?”

Eric heard a voice say, “I’m sending you a love letter.” Somehow Eric knew it was the voice of Jesus. As he sat on a curb with rainwater trickling along the gutter under his legs, he noticed a small booklet floating toward him. Picking it up, he saw that it was a tract entitled, “There is Hope for the Drug Addicted.”

The tract was published by a group called Victory Outreach. Eric found their address, went to them and gave his life to Jesus. Soon he was delivered from his addiction. He gave up every habit, including his belief that he was destined to be a failure. Jesus made Eric a new creature in every way.

This young man had thought his life was over, but it had just begun. He had been blind to the resurrection life that Jesus had been planning for him all along. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV).


“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall”(Matthew 7:24-27, NKJV).

Jesus is saying that only things established on a rock foundation will hold up in the coming storm. One man built his house upon a rock “…and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:25).
The builders of these houses represent two classes of Christians in these last days: the wise and the foolish. They built two different kinds of houses and had two very different experiences when the storm hit.
On one hand, it is encouraging to know there will be a body of believers who will not fall. They will be able to withstand every onslaught that comes out of hell when the storms rage. Jesus wants us to know from this parable that a person who builds his house upon a rock will survive everything that is coming.

Sadly, there will be another group of Christians, people of whom Jesus says, “Their fall will be great.” This means a total, complete, devastating collapse of everything.
At this point, you may be wondering, “What does it mean exactly to ‘build a house’?” It is important to know that the house Jesus is talking about here is our walk with him. We are building a foundation of getting to know Christ, of understanding his ways. We’re building into our faith certain characteristics that will determine how we react under pressure.


The book of Daniel mentions several benefits for those who have a repentant heart. Indeed, for all who acknowledge their sin, God does the miraculous. One such benefit is a new and clearer image of Jesus. Read what happened after Daniel’s repentance prayer in Daniel 10.

“I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision…” (Daniel 10:5-7, NKJV).

Who do you think Daniel saw in this vision? It was Jesus! What a wonderful benefit the Holy Spirit opened to Daniel when he confessed his sin. He was given a clear, unobstructed view of Christ in all his glory.
Please understand that Daniel was not looking for a vision. All he was doing was confessing and mourning over his sin. Jesus took it upon himself to come to Daniel; he initiated it. When we repent and make things right with God and others, Jesus will manifest himself to us.

Daniel had friends who were also godly because he walked only among the righteous, yet scripture tells us none of them saw the vision he did: “The men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone” (Daniel 10:7-8).

A truly repentant heart never has to hide from the Lord because there is no longer any fear of judgment. If you acknowledge your sins with godly sorrow and make restitution, you can look confidently into the master’s face. You do not have to quake with fear when you hear reproof. All you will see before you is Christ in all his love and glory.


How do we most often view God? Everyone struggles with having a slightly one-sided view of God. We tend to assume that he most often shows one certain trait. That trait tends to be based on how we were taught to view God overall. What if, though, an infinite God reflects all of his traits fully at all times?

It’s hard to get our heads around the idea that God is the essence of the words used to describe him. He isn’t merely just, wise and holy, he is justice, wisdom and holiness. He is the source and embodiment of those words.

The first words of the Bible are, “In the beginning.” We’re being welcomed into the mind of God. “Before we even begin,” he is saying, “draw your eyes upward to me. I am the source of all things. You will find all that you want and need in your life in me.”

We’ve all struggled with reconciling justice and love. Today’s headlines cause outrage in our spirits. “How can a just and loving God allow such misery to happen to innocent people?”
My life’s work in studying the attributes of God and sharing his love with people has never once provided me with pat answers to life’s big questions. What I’ve learned instead is this: The point of life is not being in a place of pure comfort and satisfaction. Life is about reaching for and knowing God, the giver of life.

Each of God’s attributes goes back not just to the beginning of man’s journey, but all the way to the birth of time and space. He welcomes our questions and our seeking to understand his ways, but he longs for more. His heart is for us to spend time with him and with his word so that our hearts are engaged with his. As we develop a relationship with him, our perspective changes. Rather than merely analyzing God from a distance, we savor the joy and richness of his presence. This is when we truly begin to understand him.

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” It is when we are in his presence that we begin to see the wonders of who he is.


Most Christians don’t listen to God. They go to him only to talk! The scriptures reveal that any person who was ever used of God learned to remain in his presence until they heard from him.
Scripture makes it clear that the Lord wants to talk to every one of us. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21, NKJV).

I heard of a little girl suffering from leukemia who was struggling with the thought of dying. One morning when her mother came into her room, the girl was all aglow and happy. “What has happened to you?” her mother asked.

The little girl answered, “An angel came to me and said I was going on a trip. God came and took my hand and walked with me through a beautiful garden. He told me, ‘You’re coming here tomorrow to be with me.’“
God spoke to that little child and took all the pain and fear from her heart. When she left to be with him the next day, she had total peace.
When you are intimate with Jesus, do you receive direction from him? Does he tell you what to do and when or how to do it? Some Christians don’t believe God does this, but Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice…and they follow me” (John 10:27).

In your trial, get alone with Jesus and cry, “Lord, you’re the only one who can help me. Only you know the way through this trial, so I’m going to stay here ‘till you tell me what to do.”
This is the kind of praying that is pleasing to God. It means stopping all activity. Only then will you hear him speak clearly to your heart: “You must make things right with this person.” or “Just stand still till next week. Don’t get in a hurry. Sit in my presence and trust me.” He will give you clear directions.