God’s grace is free but not cheap!

God’s grace changes a man, not from the outside to the inside but from the inside to the outside! It is the inside that determines the outside… Many times, we judge people from the outside not knowing that something great is happening on the inside! A little patience with them will give us the privilege of witnessing what is happening in their inside! No wonder, Jesus lamented on the case of the Pharisees in Luke 11:39-40, let’s look at it

But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness. 40 “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?…

What was Jesus trying to point out here? They keep the Sabbath, they do all the sacrifices, they do so many things the law asked them to do… But unknown to them, their inside is full of those things they think they are avoiding! Jesus was telling them that they are a product of their inside and not a product of their outside! Coming to verse 40, it was important that Jesus remind them that God sees both the inside and the outside! He made them! That also means that God can change the inside! When the inside is changed, the outside gradually begins to display what is on the inside. Speaking on this effect, Paul exclaimed

“For I know no man by the flesh!” 2 Corinthians 5:16

What was he saying? The worldly point of view doesn’t represent a believer anymore! A believer may actually not dress, walk or talk the way we expect, but we have to see them from the God’s kingdom viewpoint and not from a worldly viewpoint! We must avoid judging people using the standards of the world. Jesus said in John 8:15

“You pass judgment by human standards, I judge no one”

For instance, what we define as decency sometimes is based on what the world has defined and not from the bible perspective! Decency in Christianity is a thing of the heart… It flows to the reality where eyes can see it from where eyes cannot see it! So, decency begins from the heart! Jesus said in Matthew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

So you see that? The pure in flesh cannot see God… It is the pure in heart that can see God! When you are pure in the heart, your purity begins to reflect all right round! But when you’re trying to make your outside pure while your inside isn’t pure, you are still not pure no matter how good you become! Now James wrote in Chapter 4:8

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

First, James asked us to draw near to God… But he explains how we can do that. He explained that sinners must get their hands clean! How? Who are the sinners here? They are the unbelievers… And they can get their hands clean by accepting Jesus as their Lord and savior and believing He paid the price for their sins! Concerning the sinners being cleansed, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:11

“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

So, James didn’t mean a literal washing of hands! It is about something that happens to us when we get born again! So sinners can draw near to God by being born again! James also told the double-minded how they can draw near to God… Who are the double minded? They are believers who are either doubting their salvation or doubting God’s work in their lives! Because their heart is filled with doubts and fear, they will continue to produce the wrong fruit! But James didn’t ask them to try to live pure… He asked them to purify their hearts! Once the heart is purified, their characters are patterned to what is on the inside! How should they purify their hearts? Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 (NLT)

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

I wish this presentation isn’t getting any longer! But I want us to get this as clear as God has designed it to be… Paul began by asking us not to copy the behaviors and customs of the world… That is only possible when we let God transform us into a new person that we already are in the inside! We can only let God do that by changing the way we think! Some translations calls it “renewal of the mind”… That is how to purify the heart! A double-minded man will always copy the actions of the world but when we change the way we think and align it with God’s word, we are automatically letting who God has made us on the inside to shine out! So, our thoughts as believers matters a lot!

I will summarize by saying this; the problem of many people is not what we are tackling! We are bent on forcing people not to do this or that, we force them to wear something and not wear another! We force them to eat something and not eat another… All those are a matter of the heart! If we can allow people to just focus on Jesus, we will see them living like Jesus! We can only be what we look at constantly! We must stop judging people by what they did and start leading them to look unto Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our faith! Hebrews 12:2… The NLT says it better

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith”

It is Jesus who initiates and perfects our faith! That can only be possible if we are keeping our eyes on Jesus! God bless you. I am #GracefulGeorge

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