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I want to take a moment to focus on the Heidelberg Catechism, a reference I snagged from Rachel Miller, just one sentence that says “It is impossible for those grafted into Christ through true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.”

“It is impossible for those grafted into Christ through true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.”

That one sentence has jumped out at me so many times in the past couple of days, and it really speaks to an issue near and dear to my heart. Ephesians 2:8 says, “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God..”

I’m used to the internet, it is often hostile territory full of offense and debate. Just the same, I’m rather overwhelmed by the number of Christians stuck in this “works based faith” idea, where grace does not abound anywhere. It’s as if everyone is perceived as doing it wrong, bad, a heretic, a sinner in desperate need of our discernment ministry and chronic rebuke.

Maybe it’s always been like that and I’ve never seen it, but good grief, that’s ugly.

Some people don’t share my beliefs but I am a “once saved, always saved” believer a “nothing but the Blood of Jesus” believer. Grace, grace, grace.  Yes, that does mean I could be horribly defiant, chronically disobedient,  and really go off the deep end, and still be born again, claimed,  redeemed.

Once born, one cannot be “unborn.” Once claimed always claimed. God never said, “obey me or I’ll reject you.” He did say,  “if you love me, you’ll keep my commands,” but that is a conventual relationship. It is not a contract dependant on my ability to comply. God’s end of the bargain never changes because He is Holy, perfect. It is His love that draws us in, and makes us want to keep His commandments.

Also, He is the Author and Finisher of my faith. He knew Peter was going to deny Him before Peter ever did. A God who can see the future is not going to gamble with us or make us responsible for our own salvation. He’s certainly not going to enter into a contract with us. We’re far too flaky.

Our “works are but filthy rags,” “there is none righteous, not one,” we cannot earn God’s love, or  prove to Him how good we are because we aren’t good at all. He already sees us and knows us.

“It is impossible for those grafted into Christ through true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.”

I hold those words tightly, I believe them, I affirm them. Impossible. We who follow Christ are compelled to produce fruits of gratitude. We need to trust in that and to understand that the Holy spirit  does not need us trying to do His work for Him….in other people who are already saved.

The thing is, grace makes you want to be pleasing, it makes you want to obey, it makes you desire His favor. It is impossible to have received grace, to know forgiveness, to have been washed by the Blood of the Lamb personally, and not produce fruits of gratitude.

What really bothers me here is that it is also impossible to have received grace and not want to extend it to others.  I’m bothered by the number of people who don’t seem to have learned this, who don’t seem to be hearing it all in the places they should be. I’ve lost track of all the famous, (and infamous) popular pastors who aren’t teaching it at all. Worse, some are actually teaching the opposite, “Salvation through obedience and good works.”  “Salvation through proclamation and affirming all the right creeds.” “Salvation by buying all my books and CD’s.”

I keep saying there’s only one gospel, it’s the gospel of grace. Please don’t leave out the part about grace, that’s kind of the whole story.

…….and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…..