I recently read Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges. In it he talks about the two different kinds of bankruptcies: Chapter 7 and Chapter 11.
Chapter 11 is a temporary financial reorganization that keeps a company’s creditors at bay until it can get back on its feet financially. Chapter 7 is a total and complete erasure of all debts, with no further requirement to repay, nearly always leading to the dissolution of the company.
What’s the comparison to the Christian life? Grace is a Chapter 7 experience, but many believers treat it like Chapter 11. We make the mistake of thinking that the mercy received at salvation is a temporary reorganization of the mess we have made with our lives, providing relief only until we’re able to live in the strength of our own goodness.
That’s not how it works. We’re saved by grace and we live by grace. The same grace. It comes through faith, and this not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. We live the Christian life the same way we begin it: by grace.
For this reason, rather than promising again and again to do that which we are incapable of doing, it’s better to start each morning with a simple prayer, requesting that the same grace which saved us will sustain us throughout the day, so that by this grace we may grow closer to Jesus in all we do.