Instead of enjoying God’s ocean of grace, many Christians are still trapped—not by sin but legalism. Legalism with its layers of restrictions cuts them off from freedom and smothers them with shame.
The word grace is a short, simple word. But understanding the biblical depth and meaning of grace can take a lifetime of study and application. It's almost a shame that a word describing suppleness of movement or a short, quick prayer before a meal is the same word we use to describe God's unfathomable love for sinners. Nevertheless, it is grace that moves Him to offer us the free gift of salvation and forgiveness.
Grace is what compelled the Apostle Paul to write of a mystery never understood before (1 Corinthians 2:7-13). Grace is also what allows us to relax into another's accepting embrace as he or she gives us the freedom to discover our unique journey laid out by God. So relax as we journey together down the path toward freedom and the wonderment of the surpassing riches of God's grace!
Can you minister grace to people who don’t inspire you to acts of kindness? Let me suggest a good beginning. Stoop down and embrace them. Love that reaches up is adoration. Love that reaches out is compassion. But love that stoops is grace.
We want to be right (as we see it, of course) more than we want to love our neighbours as ourselves. At that point our personal preferences eclipse any evidence of love. I am of the firm conviction that where grace exists, so must various areas of grey.
Grace can mean unmerited favour—extending special favour to someone who doesn’t deserve it, who hasn’t earned it, and who can never repay it. Every once in a while, we come across a scene in Scripture and we stand amazed at such amazing grace.
I believe one reason we fail to exercise grace in our relationships is because we don’t view people as they actually are. Instead, we look at them through the lens of how they hurt us, or our prejudices, or past experiences.
God is never obligated to give us health and wealth, but the story of Joseph is an example of a man who was rewarded for his righteousness and kept his integrity intact. From him we can learn how to respond to those who prosper and those who suffer.
But, you see, that’s what brings about the joy of gratitude...receiving what we don’t deserve. When that happens, humility replaces pride. A thankful spirit cancels out arrogance. Mercy flies in the face of resentment.
Complete knowledge doesn’t exist here on earth. I’m going to have to learn to live with unanswered questions and choose instead to act with grace and live in faith that one day I will know the whole story.
This year, it’s this careful balance of guilt and relief I’m pondering. I’m contemplating the injustice of being saved from my sin without deserving it in the slightest.
This is grace at its best: when you’re able to say, “They have their lives. And that also means that my attention needs to be on my life.” Only One should be in charge of everyone’s lives...His name is Jesus.