Can we fall short of God’s grace?

Published 9:42 am Friday, May 5, 2006

By Staff
The writer of the New Testament epistle to the Hebrews warns us in Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 15, that we should be “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God.” If there is a warning, there must be the possibility.
The grace of God is God's provision for us. Everything God has for us comes through His mercy and grace. We survive because of His mercy (Lamentations 3:22). We benefit through God's grace. It is possible to be living at the mercy of God and neglect the grace of God. Many people are in survival mode and never taste the grace of God.
Grace must be entered into. Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 16, declares that we should “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We must volitionally come to God for grace. The epistle of James, chapter 4, verse 6, tells us, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The needy seeker gets grace.
Falling short of the grace of God certainly includes those who neglect the salvation of their souls. God freely gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. The sin debt was paid and God gloriously raised Jesus from the dead. Whoever believes on Jesus Christ will not perish, but will have everlasting life (John 3:16).
The writer of Hebrews was addressing believers in chapter 12. He spoke of the race we must run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1). This is the race of life. The key is keeping our eyes on Jesus Christ.
Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 2, exhorts “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus is our example and tells us in Matthew, chapter 5, verses 11-12, that we can expect persecution.
Somebody said, “Life is hard and it will not get any easier.” Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 3, tells us to “consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
The grace of God is His provision to lift us above our circumstances and help us live in victory.
Falling short of the grace of God begins a downward spiral. It starts with discouragement. If we do not apply grace to our discouragement, we develop a root of bitterness. According to Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 15, a root of bitterness springs up, causes trouble, and defiles many.
Bitterness is an inward, seething, slow-moving, temper tantrum. Bitterness destroys our capacity for life and robs our soul of vitality. Bitterness is all about payback. We desperately want to hurt somebody because we have been hurt.
The ultimate focus of bitterness is against God. We somehow believe if we mistreat ourselves, we are getting even with God.
People consume alcohol, take drugs, cut themselves and involve themselves in soul-destroying, sexual practices all because they are deluded into thinking that self-destruction gets to others.
Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 16, tells us of Esau, the brother of Jacob. Esau fell short of the grace of God. He allowed bitterness and the desire for revenge to destroy him. Scripture declares, “. . . lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.”
Esau went so far from God in his bitterness and self-destruction that we are told in Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 17, “he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”
How do we keep from falling short of the grace of God? We must keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2-3, 15). We must keep crying out for grace to help us in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). Times of need are times life pressures us in any way at any time.
God has plenty of grace, and by nature of grace, He wants to freely dispense it.