Not only are we SAVED by grace and through faith in Christ, but we also SERVE by grace and through faith in Christ!
That means that there will be times (many) when you’re having a “bad spiritual hair day” and an opportunity presents itself to minister in some way or another and you will be tempted to back out as you feel like you’re being a hypocrite as you’re not in a “good place” at that particular moment. Those times when you feel like you suck at being a Christian!
Well, you weren’t in a particularly “good place” when Jesus saved you (Rom 5:8), that’s why it is by grace and through faith in him (Eph 2:8) and not your ability to clean yourself up so you could be in a semi decent state in order to possibly qualify to be saved. The same grace and faith actually applies to our service and good works which is seen quite clearly throughout scripture.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8–10, ESV)
Think about Jonah, he sort of sucked at being a prophet! It’s amazing how God didn’t pull the plug on Jonah knowing full well what his selfish, self-righteous reaction would be to God’s call to minister to the evil Ninevites. Jonah certainly didn’t deserve the powerful preaching and prophetic ministry he was graced with!
We don’t deserve the spiritual gifts that God graces us with either. On the one hand that should keep us humble and help us remember that we are mere stewards of God’s power working through us for God’s glory, our neighbours good and our own joy. There is no room for “flashy super star Christians” in the upside down kingdom of God!
On the other hand, we must avoid our “works righteousness” default thinking that seeks to disqualify us from being used by God as ministers of his grace, because we think that we haven’t been very “spiritual” lately. You know, how you lost it with the kids today, or were critical of your spouse/neighbour/boss. Or you haven’t prayed lately other than “HELP me God” and the dust is so thick on your bible that you can’t find it.
It is God’s prerogative to still use us despite our glaring weaknesses and ongoing struggle with indwelling sin (I.e we more often than not suck at being a Christian). That’s what grace does. Where sin runs deep – His grace is more (Rom 6). It doesn’t look at us to see whether we measure up, it looks at Jesus and sees that he does measure up. Then it goes to work though us to bless others with Jesus power and goodness.
Jesus is the only human who was ever perfectly righteous, a pure and clean vessel whom the Spirit was upon without measure and worked mightily through (Isaiah 61). We don’t look to our “average spiritual performance” over the past month to see if we are “good enough” to minister, we look to Jesus, crucified and risen in our place and place our trust in him, in his obedience and spiritual performance, not our own. (Col 1:15-23. Esp vs 22)
Seeing how pure and holy HE IS, we can then go and minister with confidence in HIS NAME, not ours, knowing that all ministry that the Spirit works through us in his name is pure and righteous. Freely we have received his gift of grace, so freely we pass it on. Not only are we SAVED by grace and through faith in Christ, but also we SERVE by grace and through faith in Christ! He is now our Holy, Exalted, Righteous, Redeemer King and we best not argue with his grace!