In reflecting on the failure of many believers floundering recklessly in their faith, I am not surprised at their plight because they have shipwrecked while sailing through reefs, rocks, and routes that the Lord has warned them of in Scripture. Grace has been quenched in their lives because they have left the fountain from where it flows. Grace flows through a yielded and obedient vessel. The source of this grace is Christ Jesus and it is available to all those who are in Christ Jesus.
In II Timothy 2:1 we see young Timothy’s mentor, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, admonishing Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ”. The Greek word “strong” used here can be translated as strengthened or empowered. It is passive imperative; a command to access the grace that is being dispensed to us by Jesus Christ. This grace is divine assistance that empowers the believer to desire and do God’s pleasure. It aids us in the way of holiness. It strengthens us against trials, temptations, flattery of the world and the devil. It keeps us steadfast in obedience to God. We “are kept by the power of God through faith”. I Peter 1:5
What about fellow believers who are failing miserably in their walk with Christ? Let me share an illustration from the classical work written by John Bunyan. In Pilgrim’s Progress, Little Faith was traveling along the way to the heavenly city. On the way, he happened to sit down and sleep in Deadman’s Lane, a path coming from the Broadway-Gate of destruction into the Narrow-Way on the way to the heavenly city. Deadman’s Lane is a dark lane where intruders can assault the soul. While asleep, Little Faith was awakened and assaulted by three sturdy rogues named Faint-Heart, Mistrust and Guilt. He was robbed and clubbed on the head by Guilt, knocked to the ground, bleeding and looking as if he was dying.
This is a picture of the believer with little faith who has drifted into a dark lane. He has wandered into sinful ways, compliant with the wind of the world, neglecting his duty of obedience. Subsequently, acting contrary to his conscience, he contracts guilt. By neglecting the means of grace, he becomes faint-hearted, mistrusting, and unable to grasp the promises and faithfulness of God. He then proceeds further down the dark lane to relieve himself by means which God has forbidden…drugs, alcohol, etc.
It is only grace, the kindness and love of God for Little-Faith, that helps anyone from self-destruction. Self-destruction is the result of quenching the grace of God by willful sin, disobedience, unbelief, mistrust, and living under the clouds of guilt. These are the “Private Ryans”, behind enemy lines, who have been bombed, shelled and machine gunned by the world, the devil and their own conscience.
In Pilgrim’s Progress, the three rogues trembled and fled when one called Great Grace showed up on the scene. Great Grace’s face had scars and cuts demonstrating his battle wounds from fighting the good fight of faith. In Acts 4:33, we read of the apostles being empowered with “great grace” and giving witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, seeing many who have believed in Him.
My fellow believers, hopefully you are not quenching the grace of God that is in you. The end of quenching God’s grace will be a season in the dark lane where you will be filled with a faint heart, mistrust and guilt. If you are there and want out, repent of your sinfulness, waywardness, and disobedience.At the cross there is Great Grace waiting for you in the person of Jesus Christ. Come to Jesus. He weeps for you, He loves you, and He will rescue your soul. Then one day, down the road, you will be one of His, with scars and cuts on your face bearing the name of Great Grace, having fought the good fight and won.