SAVED BY GRACE (WITHOUT OUR WORKS); KEPT BY GRACE (WHILE WE WORK)
Other entailments of Christian living include: wrestling (Eph. 6), resisting, fighting, running to win, chastening, suffering, a cross, being hated, groaning, daily putting on armour, hours in prayer, and, the list of teachings could go on and on. These are all Scriptural truths, about which we hear too little nowadays.
The grace that saves us from the guilt and penalty of sin, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is also sufficient to sustain us through the warfare of daily discipleship. Living the life for Jesus can be very costly. G.K. Chesterton said, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried." There is no such thing as an easy Christianity. If it is easy, it is not Christianity. If it is Christianity, it is not easy. But, as my friend Jim Sharp says, "The grace that saves us makes us WANT to follow Jesus. It replaces the "have to" of a legalistic Christianity." God saves us and then works ceaselessly in us even as we work out our salvation. We "want to" because of Christ's constraining love.
Paul instructs us of this when he says, "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). "For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died; And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake" (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). When it says "for the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us" the figure of a boat captain controlling the slaves at the oars comes into view. The captain beat out the rhythms by which he demanded the slaves to row. So God by love, not harsh coercion, encourages us to keep on keeping on for the Lord.
God by the strivings of His Spirit and His love incites in us the "want to." So, we must respond favorably to the work of God in us and challenge one another more faithfully along the lines of a disciplined discipleship.
We must take issue with what seems a current and rather pervasive Antinomian misunderstanding of grace (Rom. 6:1ff), that if Christ saves us we can either follow Him or continue to live as we've always lived, but still say we are Christians.
"What shall we then say, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!"