• Laurel Appel

The Other Half of the Gospel of Grace

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Are you tired of battling your sin? Are you drowning in guilt and worthlessness? You are a follower of Christ, but you are wondering where that abundant life is that He promised?

My friends, I was totally there with you until I discovered the other half of the gospel. I knew the first half very well as I had heard it many times. Basically, it’s the ABC Gospel: Accept I’m a sinner, Believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection, Confess Jesus is Lord.

Like me, most of you have this half nailed down and it will get you to heaven. But what about life now? Now that you are saved, are you to focus on being a better person, stop sinning, and work to obey the law of God? Or, is there something more than this endless and pointless cycle?

Yes there is more. There is the other half of the Gospel of Grace.

The Two Halves of the Gospel

Let’s look at what we do know first, then I’ll share a life-changing truth that transformed me from a fearful, anger-filled, self-abusing, shame-filled wreck to someone who now lives a life of joy, peace, and love that is inexplicable by worldly terms.

I’m sure most, or all of you, have heard the basic salvation message:

· You are a sinner and need to be saved because the penalty of your sin is death and eternity in hell.

· God loved the world, so He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross, rise again, and save you from your sin.

· You will be saved if you confess that Jesus is your Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.

Those are all great words of truth! Various versions might include verses that describe things such as how God is made known in His creation or there is no condemnation to those who believe.

But something is usually missing. What, you ask?

The Gospel is not only about salvation, it is also about righteousness.

Check out this verse in the book of Romans.

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom 10:10).

Notice the two parts? The Gospel is about salvation. As a believer you are saved and will live with God and Christ for eternity. Hallelujah! But Paul points out something amazing to us. He says that we “believe unto righteousness.” This half of the Gospel is not only necessary for us to be reconciled to God, but it also gives us a huge benefit while here on earth before our walk into eternity.

How does the fact that you are made righteous affect your everyday life?

If you don’t understand that you are made righteous, you are missing the life that Jesus came and died for. He died for and desires for you to have an abundant life while here in this world.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

The word abundantly means superior, extraordinary, surpassing or uncommon.

Wow! That sounds like a life we all want!

Note, an extraordinary life does not mean a life without trials and hardships. Of course, in this world you will have troubles, but the journey you take through them can be different than what most people experience. And on those other days, life can truly surpass all that you have ever imagined!

If you don’t understand that you are made righteous then you are missing out on the abundant life Jesus promised and, therefore, doing one or more, maybe even all, of the following:

· Battling your sin and leaving the grace of God behind.

· Struggling with feeling guilty.

· Feeling unworthy of God’s love.

· Walking in your flesh and causing pain, brokenness, and destruction.

Battling, struggling, and trying is exhausting and just when you might think you’ve conquered your flesh, it shows up and disappoints yet again. That relentless cycle produces guilt and worthlessness. Your life doesn’t have to be defined by these battles. Your life can be superior, extraordinary, surpassing and uncommon!

Life Without the Other Half vs. Life With It

Let’s look at each of these things people might wrestle with and understand how knowing you are made righteous in your spirit transforms you into a life-producing, love-spreading, abundant life-living child of God.

Battling Your Sin vs. Living in the Grace of God

Maybe you are so focused on your sin that you are missing out on living in the grace that Jesus has offered you.

I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain (Gal 2:21)

Simply put, if you leave grace behind and strive to be righteous through trying to fulfill the law, you will never achieve your goal. And, trying to accomplish impossible goals is tiring.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2).

However, if you realize that your righteousness comes from God, then you can stop the battle against your sin, rest in the fact that Jesus died for it, and put your focus on living and walking in Christ instead.

For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17).

But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter (Rom 7:6).

God’s grace means your sin shouldn’t be your focus anymore. Jesus made you clean and desires for you walk in the new life He has given you, with your focus on serving “in the newness of the Spirit” by loving Him and loving others.

Struggling with Guilt vs. Living in the Peace of God

Maybe you struggle with guilt about your past or present actions and can’t seem to find peace of mind.

There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 3:21).

You see, my friends, when you become a child of God, He doesn’t remove the filth of your flesh. Although you are saved, your flesh is still filthy, and that is why you might feel guilt. But, because of what Jesus did, you can have a good conscience toward God.

You can rest in the fact that God knows your flesh is bad and that you make mistakes. That is the whole point of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Now that your spirit is made righteous you can set your mind on spiritual matters, rather than focusing on your flesh and the guilt that it produces.

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom 8:6).

It is good to recognize when you fall short because you can recognize when you are in your flesh with its selfish and ungodly desires and, instead, turn your focus on walking in the spirit. Wallowing in guilt chains your mind to fleshly things that cause death (carnally minded) and keeps you from doing loving and life-producing things (spiritually minded). Recognize it, tell God you are sorry, then move your focus on to love and life producing things. Don’t wallow.

When you understand you are made righteous in your spirit, and that you have the ability to set your mind on spiritual things, then anything is possible. With the power of the Holy Spirit living in you, you can leave those guilty feelings behind, trust God that He doesn’t want you to be held down by that guilt, and move forward in confidence that He loves you even though He knows all you’ve done and said.

Feeling Unworthy vs. Knowing You are Loved by God

Maybe you have taken guilt and shame to a level that you just cannot imagine that God loves you and that you are special and have a special purpose.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8).

Your sin doesn’t shock Him. He knew about before He went to the cross. His love for you is greater.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows (Luke 12:7).

When you truly trust that God not only paid for your sins, but went far beyond that and made you righteous, you can let go of all that baggage that life has piled on you. Then, you can walk in confidence that He desires for you to move past your past and start to have hope for your future.

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jer 29:11).

God not only loves you; He likes you! He really digs you! He wants you to have hope for your future and He has a plan for your life.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10).

Without the baggage of feeling unworthy, you can set your mind on spiritual things and choose to walk in the spirit with the help and guidance of His Holy Spirit.

Walking in Your Flesh vs. Walking in the Spirit of God

God gave you everything you need to walk down the path that He prepared for you. Jesus died to forgive your sins but also to break the chains that your sin held you by. He renewed your spirit and made you a new person. He gave you His righteousness so you could put all that baggage behind you and start living the life that God always intended for you.

…and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:24).

When you put on that “new man,” that means you think and act in your new spirit. What do spiritually minded people produce? Look again at the verse in Romans.

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom 8:6).

Life and peace. When you walk in the Spirit you create life rather than death and peace instead of chaos. And when you walk in the spirit it is impossible to walk in your flesh.

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Gal 5:16).

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit (Rom 8:5).

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Rom 8:11).

Because you are made righteous by your loving God, the Holy Spirit dwells in you and helps to produce and bear righteous fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). When you yield to the Spirit and walk in love, then peace, true joy, and an abundant life will grow out of the compost of your flesh.

Love heals. Love forgives. Love reconciles. Love creates joy. Love creates peace. Love creates life in every situation it touches. God is love.

God is Sufficient

Yes, the Gospel is about salvation, but it is also about so much more that pertains to this life while we are still on planet earth. It is also about Him assigning His righteousness to you so that you can live a life that is far beyond and above anything you can imagine.

He gave you everything you need to be a “minister of the new covenant.” What are ministers of the new covenant asked to do? Don’t walk in the flesh with your focus on all those old things, rather, walk in the Spirit and set your attention on love.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:5–6).

When you love God and love others you create life all around you.

Faith Heals

Those of you who are believers, but are still burdened by shame, guilt, and the feeling that you are not good enough, I beg you, please, lay that all down at the foot of the cross, stop wasting your time and effort on feeling guilty for what Jesus freed you from and from trying to conquer your sin. Believe that you are clean, and that God really digs you. He made you unique, with talents and abilities, with personality, with a future.

You are special, beautiful, and valuable.

You have life to live, things to do, dreams to fulfill, and people to love. Have faith in the true and complete Gospel of Grace and allow God to stack the deck in your favor. Allow Him to give you rest and don’t leave the other half of the Gospel out of your life!

I encourage you to read all the books of the New Testament with grace in mind to achieve a great understanding of the true Gospel of Grace. You can also read through all of our posts on our website and soak in the whole truth about Jesus and His glorious good news.

If you have not yet asked Jesus to take your shame away and give you the goods to live a fulfilling and hopeful life, please ask Him! Talk to Him. He is waiting to hear from you.

May God bless you, my friends.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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