Of all the Biblical topics to focus on, grace, for me, is one of the toughest and completely humbling ones to study. From Genesis to Revelation, we can see God’s abundant grace extended to us even before we realized we were in need of it. And while we live here on earth under God’s protection and mercy, we must realize three very important facts about grace:
- Grace is freely given, but not without a price
- Grace is for everyone
- We cannot have a healthy relationship with God without having a healthy relationship to grace
The New Testament book of Romans beautifully outlines the path one must take to receiving God’s grace. In the first four chapters, Paul explains how God reveals himself to us – his judgment, laws, and righteousness – through our faith. At the end of chapter 3, Paul quotes several Psalms alluding to the fact that we, in ourselves and by our own actions, are and can never be righteous. No matter our background or birth, humans are incapable of becoming worthy of God’s acceptance into his kingdom. So what, then, can we do?! In Romans 3:21-26, Paul answers this question by saying:
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier f the one who has faith in Jesus.
Grace is Freely Given
As a Christian, I know that I am not able to earn my salvation. There is not a thing a can do here on earth that would ever cause me to become worthy enough to spend eternity with God. The gift of eternal life is graciously given to me by the creator who wants me to choose him and return to him on the last day. However, I also know that because of God’s love and his sacrifice of Jesus’s blood, there are things I must do – and WANT to do! – in order to fulfill the law and obey God’s will for us as his children.
The “price” of grace is overwhelming to me because I know I cannot pay it. But it is because of this that I know my life must be spent in joyful, humble service to God doing everything within my scope to spread his kingdom. My faith in his righteousness brings me closer to him and I can be justified – made more perfect – so as to receive his gift.
Grace is for Everyone
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul is again writing about faith and how as Christians, we must spread God’s good news and shine his light through the way we live. In verse 15, he writes:
For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
As we put our faith in God and his righteousness, we must also – by the nature of our living – strive to spread the gospel and God’s gift of grace to everyone. Jesus’ purpose on earth was not to exclude people from God, but to extend God’s invitation to the whole of mankind. As his vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7-12) we have been called to a purpose. And since we have been given various gifts and talents (by God’s varied grace, 1 Peter 4:10), we are able to reach myriad peoples and bring them into his kingdom. The gospel, including God’s grace, is for all.
A Healthy Relationship with God, Via Grace
Lastly, the health of our relationship with God can be measured by our relationship with grace. In Ephesians 2:4-10, Paul explains exactly how we should see and accept the gift of grace, and not to assume we have done something to deserve or earn it. He says, starting in verse 5:
… even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
If we become lax in our relationship with grace – thinking of it as a free pass instead of a lifeline – our relationship with God will suffer. God is not handing out freebies. Grace exists because God knew a long time ago – before the foundations of the world were laid – that we would need a “support bridge” of sorts to hold our faith steady. God’s amazing grace is just that – amazing, astounding, mind blowing. It cannot be attained or understood. We can only trust that if we become and continue to be faithful children of God, we will receive his grace in abundance.
When I think about grace, there are so many songs and hymns that come to mind ( ahem, Amazing Grace 😀 ). I’d like to share one of my favorites with you. I encourage you to find your favorite recorded version of His Grace Reaches Me and, while listening, meditate on the words. Close your eyes and see the pictures the words create about God and how his grace “reaches” you.
Deeper than the oceans and wider than the sea,
is the grace of the Savior for sinners like me;
Sent from the Father, and it thrills my soul
Just to feel and to know, that His blood makes me whole.
His grace reaches me, yes, His grace reaches me,
And ’twill last thru eternity;
Now I’m under His control and I’m happy in my soul,
Just to know that His grace reaches me.
Higher than the mountains and brighter than the sun,
it was offered at Calv’ry for everyone;
Greatest of treasures, and it’s mine today,
Tho’ my sins were as scarlet, He has washed them away.
WORDS: Whitey Gleason (w. 1964)
Grace + Peace
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