Grace is undeserved, unearned, unmerited favour. If there is an iota of human effort involved in our getting right with God, receiving from Him or inheriting eternal life, it is no longer grace. See Romans 11:6— “And since it is by God’s grace, it can’t be a matter of their good works; otherwise, it wouldn’t be a gift of grace, but earned by human effort.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
“Salvation” here is not just being saved to go to heaven; it is deliverance from the molestation of enemies and redemption from all earthly ills (anxiety, depression, sickness, lack, stupid mistakes, etc.) It covers being saved from the penalty, power, presence and pleasure of sin. The word used in the original Greek text of the New Testament is Swthria (pronounced soteria) and it encompasses all these meanings. If one can earn salvation from all these ills, even sins, by human effort, it is no longer grace.
We live by/are under God’s grace when we believe Romans 3:27— “Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.”
To be under grace is to believe that, because of the finished work of Christ for us, we get to escape the punishment that we deserve and get to enjoy the good that we do not deserve because Christ took our punishment and gave us His righteousness as a gift.
Did you mean to ask “How do you see others abuse grace”? Grace cannot be abused or misused. See Ephesians 1:7–9:
“7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,”
God’s grace is lavished on us in all wisdom and prudence, not so that we could misuse it. A rich person who does not have the wisdom of God might be gracious enough to give an unlimited amount of resources to a poor person but that poor person could abuse the money by using it to fuel a drug addiction; but the Grace of God is given to us in all wisdom and prudence.
Grace is a Person and His name is Jesus Christ. Titus 2 says of Him:
11 “God’s marvelous grace has manifested in person, bringing salvation for everyone. 12 This same grace teaches us how to live each day as we turn our backs on ungodliness and indulgent lifestyles, and it equips us to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age. 13 For we continue to look forward to the joyful fulfillment of our hope in the dawning splendor of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus, the Anointed One. 14 He sacrificed Himself for us that He might purchase our freedom from every lawless deed and to purify for Himself a people who are His very own, passionate to do what is beautiful in His eyes.”
Grace is our teacher, not the law that many are so desperately trying to obey in order to get right with God. He frees us from every lawless deed, purifies us and makes us passionate to do His will. Nothing to do with our efforts at trying to be godly (be like God) by obeying the Ten Commandments. Adam and Eve tried to be like God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a picture of the law according to Paul’s typology in Romans 7:8-12 (MSG)—
“Don’t you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of “forbidden fruit” out of it….”
And death reigned through Adam because he tried to be like God by human effort when he was already made to be like God. The letter kills. Today, due to wrong teaching, many are still trying to be like God the Righteous by eating from the same tree that kills when Romans 5:19 tells us “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
We see from the above verse that committing acts of sin isn’t what makes people sinners. Sinners are made sinners through the sin nature inherited from Adam by all mankind. So sinners produce sin. Likewise acts of righteousness cannot make anybody righteous before God, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands…” Romans 3:20. Believers are made righteous before God by Christ’s obedience. So the righteous by faith get to produce fruits of righteousness.
Christ came to rid us of the sin nature inherited from Adam: see Colossians 2:11 — “When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.”
Also see 1 John 1:17— “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.”
As Christ is, so are believers in this world; and all because of His sacrifice, but many who profess Christ are still striving to be godly by obeying the Ten Commandments and doing good works which Isaiah 64:6 describes as “a menstrual rag” in God’s sight.
Such are cut off from Christ: “For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” Galatians 5:4.
Such reject the grace of God: “I refuse to reject the grace of God. But if a person is put right with God through the Law, it means that Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:21
Such are under the curse: “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.”” Galatians 3:10.
Such are under the dominion of sin: “For sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under Grace.” Romans 6:14. Sin strengthens its grip over those who try to obey the law in order to gain right-standing with God.
To be under Grace and not be transformed to right living is as impossible as jumping into the sea naked without getting wet. This is the wisdom of God and it seems illogical to many. According to 1 Corinthians 1:18— “For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God…..21 For since the world through all its [earthly] wisdom failed to recognize God, God in His wisdom was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached [regarding salvation] to save those who believe [in Christ and welcome Him as Savior].”
God hates sin, so He sent His Son to save us from our sins. See Matt 1:21 — “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Some people think that they are “still okay” and can stop themselves from sinning. Peter’s three-time denial of Christ shows us that given the right circumstances, the one who swore that he would never steal will do so profusely. The arm of flesh will fail. The flesh that is in a pastor is the same flesh in a paedophile. The potential to steal/commit heinous crimes aka the flesh is in everybody and given the right temptation or testing, all will fail.
God sees this potential and how favourable circumstances can make some people boast in their non-existent power over sin. We see only outward actions.
The reason that we are not committing particular sins is because we have not been tempted beyond what we can bear in those areas. If a big enough trial came our way and it was up to us to save ourselves, like Peter, the best of us will fail woefully. In Christ, we are transformed by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18) so much so that we UNWITTINGLY live a life that is in line with and even exceeds the moral excellence that the law demands, yet not us but Christ in us.
Remember Abraham lied about Sarah to save his own neck after God had declared him righteous. God still saw him as righteous, even referred to him as “a prophet” during his lie; as He still sees us as righteous in Christ when we sin. But Abraham went on to do a work that is referred to as a standard of faith by many today. The world might not see the the fruit of God’s abundance of grace and His gift of righteousness in the lives of some believers in Christ yet. The world might judge such believers by what they see, but God is transforming His children to bear fruit. Everyone who abides in Christ will bear fruit. See John 15:5 — “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Those who say they are under grace and use this to justify their sins are under something else, definitely not grace. Believers are under Grace not so that we can go on sinning sprees. Under grace, we’re married to our Saviour Jesus Christ so that we can “produce a harvest of good deeds for God” Romans 7:1-4. Grace is the Way out of sin.
The Law is righteous, holy and unbending. None can be made right with God by doing its works. The Law was given to show us how sinful we are, not for us to keep as our standard of righteousness. Romans 3:19-20 says “Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”
1 Corinthians 15:56 says “…..the strength of sin is the Law.” The Law gives sin its power over those under Law. But Grace stops sin.
Every true believer is taking absolute advantage of God’s grace. In fact, the problem with many in the body of Christ is that many are not taking advantage of God’s grace enough. Many are still trying to keep the law in a bid to get into God’s good books and so sin has dominion in their lives (Romans 6:14.)
Many who profess Christ believe that Christianity is all about “Now that I am born-again, I have to do my best to keep the law and do right so that I don’t fall from grace.” But this way is exactly how to fall from grace: “For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” Gal. 5:4.
God gave Grace so that we can take absolute advantage of grace. Under grace, sin shall not have dominion over you. Grace cannot be abused but He can be rejected- by trying to be righteous through the law (Galatians 2:21.)
Those who are still wallowing in sin and say it is okay because they are under Grace are under something else; definitely not grace. Yes, there are some who try to replace the grace of our Lord with sheer license to sin. These people are not under grace but under the control of the devil. Jude spoke of these scoundrels in Jude 1 and described them as spots in our love feasts, greedy and rebellious. See Jude 1:4—
“I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
These people are not of Christ and their behaviour should not make anyone try to “help God” by introducing the Law to keep New Covenant believers in check. Sarah (GRACE) did not need Hagar (LAW) to raise Isaac (The Church). Grace is enough.
Good works are evidences of salvation, not conditions. God works His salvation in us and these good works come about “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13.
Don’t fret over when or how these evidences of your salvation will manifest. See yourself as a little child whose father has a long, full beard. Imagine the child worrying that he is not the child of his father because he has no beard! In time, as he grows and matures, he will grow a long, full beard, just like his father. And it will grow without him straining or doing anything to make it grow. He was complete, beard and all inside him, on the day he was born; just as we were made complete in Christ when we became born-again. But some people try to make you feel that you ought to grow a long, full beard and start driving on the day of your birth:) Notice that the child wants to grow a beard with all his heart but can’t. But those who preach a perverted grace message (not grace) feel no regret or remorse but revel in their sins.
For the believer who is still struggling with sins and addictions, Christ saves from sins. The world may not see the evidences of your salvation yet and so judge you and accuse you of “taking advantage of grace,” just as they would have turned up their noses at Abraham when he slept with Hagar to get a child and lied about Sarah to save his neck. But the one who is abiding in Christ (under Grace, knowing Christ and having Him as “The Lord our Righteousness”) is being transformed and will bear much fruit. Christ said so.