Restoring Grace

There’s nothing like ending a study on some grace.

Let’s do just that. Grace is an abstract concept.

More grace sounds just like what we need in this New Life of Freedom. Grace pouring in from a Savior who pours out.

How do we bring grace into our homes?

How do we bring grace into our families?

How do we end conversations with grace?

How do we end each day with grace?

Paul teaches the Galatians and he teaches us well. Galatians 6:18 reads:

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

Freedom means all the grace, welling up, running over. Freedom in not holding out expectations, not holding in hurt and bitterness, letting God work where darkness once held us captive.

Let’s talk grace in today’s podcast, lots and lots of grace.

Find the final video lesson for Chasing Freedom here –

Freedom from “the Show”

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Freedom thru open ears: Tangible faith

One of my favorite Bible verses is Hebrews 11:1 –

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

The phrase “things not seen” is oddly comforting to me. We believe in something that isn’t right in front of our face. We believe in something too big to hold, too big to put in one place.

God commanded the stars into place and He holds up the Universe. Would we want to relegate God to what we can see or feel?

If we thought about it for a moment, I don’t think we would. Believing in what we can touch and feel is our default zone though. We are doubtful of things unseen, stories that don’t leave a trail of proof. It feels too much like rumors, distrustful, lacking evidence.

The Galatian believers had the same problem. They had fallen in love with the one true God, a God that not only offered righteousness, but worked justice through grace and mercy. Why were they suddenly so easily deceived by a message of law, of must’s?

Read Galatians 3:1-6 and I think you’ll find some answers about the Galatians, but also about our belief and unbelief conundrum as well:

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Works of the law, as Paul calls them – acts we can do, rituals we can perform, sacrifices we can touch – have a certain seduction, a bewitching:

It’s just easier.

And so often in life we just want something, anything to be easier.

While “do more,” “follow through,” “act this way,” sound harder, in reality they’re the default, the don’t-have-to-think-about-it choice. At our core, our sinful selves want an easier way that’s touchable, seeable, and absolutely tangible.

Paul gives a double-edged argument to the Galatians. He refutes the idea that God is in this tangible law of flesh while presenting the Gospel reality that God, while outside of what we can see, gave Himself as One who can be seen, who can be touched, who can be felt.

“It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ…”
“Did you receive the Sprit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”

Christ came as man into this world, a touchable Savior.

Christ performed miracles in the lives of those in the New Testament, and in our own lives, works that we can see.

Christ suffered and died on the cross and was laid in a tomb, as part of a written-in-ink, held-in-someone’s-hands, historic record.

Christ left His living and active Word, so that we can hold it, eat its hope, and breathe in its sweet life-giving breath –

tangible.

We haven’t even touched on the water that brings the Spirit alive in our hearts, flowing over our heads, the bread and wine that sustain our souls, or the people that hug us on any given day as part of His living tangible Body.

God in His grace is unseen -too big for our eyes and ears and hearts.

Paul’s point to the Galatians is the same as ours, “Why would you want it any other way?”

God in His grace is seen – giving us eyes to see His glory and ears to hear His mercy, firsthand.

Let us throw off the default, let it drown in our Baptism each day.

Read Galatians 3:2-6 again below, and answer Paul’s questions for yourself:

Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? When, where, and what stories and passages in the Scripture have had an impact on your faith walk?

 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? When has your flesh proved useless in this life, unable to do what you needed it to do and you needed to absolutely rely on God’s strength?

Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? When have you suffered in this life? How did or has God worked His grace in the midst of the struggle?

Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? What miracles, big or tiny, has God worked in your life? What passages of Scripture have you had the Spirit bring alive for you at a particular time?

God is at work, in the seen and the unseen. He’s not too big or too small for our restless, easily deceived hearts. He is so very faithful.

In our foolishness, He does some of His best work.

#lifetogether – Connect and send someone this week’s free downloadable Dear 52 card or order the whole set here

Discussion questions:

Choose one or more of the questions below to ponder on a journal page or as a group…

When, where, and what stories and passages in the Scripture have had an impact on your faith walk?

When has your flesh proved useless in this life, unable to do what you needed it to do and you needed to absolutely rely on God’s strength?

When have you suffered in this life? How did or has God worked His grace in the midst of the struggle?

What miracles, big or tiny, has God worked in your life? What passages of Scripture have you had the Spirit bring alive for you at a particular time?

We all do it: Chasing freedom from other gospels


One of my favorite things in life is when I see any of you face-to-face.

It’s mostly a rare treat. My favorite time ever was at an educators’ conference in Michigan, when I was walking down a hallway, completely lost, with no sense of where I was going, and a woman tapped my shoulder, “Are you Heidi Goehmann?”

Me: I am. (Mind scrambling – Do I owe someone money, need to move my car, or am responsible for children I forgot about somewhere?)

Kind woman: I read your blog. I just love your Bible studies. I want to say thank you. They were there for me when I was walking through darkness.

Me: (Mouth agape)

I was shocked. I really love the work I do, and I’m so thankful when it’s useful and hope-filled. But in the context of walking around, feeling like I was about to cry because I was so lost, having someone find me and know me was a level of grace I least expected in that situation. I was astonished.

Why does the Gospel always surprise me?

Why does God reaching into my life through the people of God always leave me amazed?

Why haven’t I begun to expect it?

There once were some other people who forgot about grace. Paul addresses the problem the people were facing, swiftly, in the first chapter of Galatians. Paul talks about his astonishment in Galatians 1:6-10:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

The Galatians had a group in their midst called the Judaizers. These Jewish Christians were demanding that the gentile converts (those of non-Jewish birth) be circumcised to participate in the grace of Christ.

The Galatians bought into the lies of the world, to a certain extent, but more specifically the part of the world that should have had their backs: those presenting the gospel to them. Someone had told them that grace wasn’t enough, their faith was incomplete, their church, their salvation wasn’t “enough.”

Oh man. If I had a quarter for every time the world told me I wasn’t enough.

Why do we buy it then?

What happened, to sweet, foolish Galatians?

I think it’s easy for us to believe that we aren’t enough. Satan works on our heart daily to ripen us for the moment when he can send us a “not enough.”

The Galatians are just like us. They have lives, and vocations, and jobs, and stories before this moment when we meet them. They probably desperately wanted to be enough for someone – their wife, their husband, their boss, their friend, their church, their neighbor.

Faced with the intrinsic reality that they weren’t enough, the Galatians had to think these Judiazers presenting them with an option to “just do this…” sounded pretty good. The Judiazers confused them, prevented God’s Word. It was sinful and wrong, wrong enough that Paul calls down curses on the situation, but that doesn’t mean it was necessarily obvious. Satan’s lies never are.

What Judaizers do you have in your life? Who or what makes you believe that you are not enough, God’s grace is not enough? What “other gospels” exist in this world that seem deceptively simple and more complete than the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Paul cuts to the answer swiftly as well. Read Galatians 1:10 again:

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. 

Who gets to say what is and is not enough?

Who gets to say what the complete Gospel is, what grace looks like?

God, and only God.

When we have questions about who or what is enough, we don’t look to man, but rather we look to God, and more specifically to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Many days, even on the good ones, we feel slightly lost in this world, just like me wandering around a big convention hall with thousands of other people bustling about. It’s easy to pick up a myriad of advice and suggestions, should-haves, and better-bes, but let us hold fast together to the True Gospel, the real and authentic astonishing grace of Christ, a savior who died, who rose, and who is enough.

Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone.

He is enough. No other Gospel necessary.


Discussion questions:

Across different commentaries and authors, I could identify four common gospels we struggle with particularly in the church today. Where do you see each of these at work? How do we gently argue against them? How do we continuously return to the True Gospel?

1-  Because we behave or act or dress accordingly, we are saved.

2 – Because we give our whole selves to Christ, we are saved.

3 – Because we believe the right doctrine, we are saved.

4 – Because we are good and loving, no matter what we believe, we are saved.

There is an ocean depth of difference between a fruitful Christian and a Christian who believes they are saved by what they do, think, act, wear, or even believe. Christ Jesus Himself tells us the simplicity of the True Gospel. Read John 3:14-17. What brings salvation? Why do you think the Simple Gospel is so hard for people to grasp?