Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Biblical Term 'Grace'

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast." 

Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

When I think of the Biblical term 'grace', the thought that automatically crosses my mind is the fact that we have it better than what we deserve.  The very fact that we are living and breathing air is better than what we deserve.  What is grace?  It's God's unmerited favor extended toward fallen man.  It's God who grants us the opportunity to hear the gospel so we can turn from sin, repent and believe with our hearts unto righteousness.  With grace man is given the opportunity to make the choice whether to choose to serve God or reject him.  Joshua 24:15 tells us we're to choose this day who we are to serve.  God has given us that choice through grace.  Because of grace man doesn't have to live in a fallen state.  All men are born sinners but God through his marvelous grace has granted us the opportunity to get saved and serve him or to reject him and remain in a fallen state.

John Newton, who penned the old hymn, "Amazing Grace" knows what it was like to be under the bondage of sin, but one day while he was on ship he called God and the Lord saved Newton by His marvelous grace. 

God's grace is amazing because we're so unworthy of God even taking the time to consider us.  Why would God send his Son to die for depraved mankind?  Man has proven that he's unworthy of God's grace.  But that's what's amazing about God's grace.  You can't explain it.  He extends his love toward us when we're the most unworthy to experience it.  But it's not about man's worthiness.  The fact is God loved man and he was willing to send His Son to die on Calvary's cross to save wretched mankind.  I'm thankful for that.

I was thinking about the passage in John 8 where a woman was caught in the act of adultery by the Pharisees.  They wanted to stone her.  They were trying to trick Jesus into saying something so they could accuse him.  But Jesus wrote in the sand and he looked and made the statement, "He who is without sin cast the first stone."  There wasn't a Pharisee who didn't have sin and they left one by one.  God extended grace and mercy to the adulterous woman.  However, he didn't condone her sin nor grant her license to continue in her sin.  He told her that her wins were forgiven and that she was to go and sin no more. 

One thing we need to remember is not to associate 'grace' with 'license'.  There are people who desire to experience God's grace but they want his grace so they can continue living in sin.  That doesn't work that way.  God's grace demands that we repent.   God's grace is all about repentance.  He extends grace to sinful man to give to give him/her the choice to repent of their sins and follow God.  God's desire is for us to repent of our sin and turn to God for salvation and live in the newness of life.  That's what grace is about.  It's not about allowing us to continue in sin.  Sin leaves you in bondage.  But he's about delivering us from sin and the effects of it.

In closing, not only should we desire God's grace for ourselves, but we should desire to extend grace to others.  There aren't many Christians who have experienced God's grace for themselves have that same desire to extend it to others, which is tragic.  None of us deserve God's grace in our life.  The fact that God's merciful towards us means we should be merciful towards others.  None of us deserves God's goodness in their lives.  It's all by grace.

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