“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Paul, in his letters to the churches, spoke often of God’s grace. So first, let’s look at what grace is. “Grace may be defined as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God to those who are under condemnation.” (Paul Enns in the Moody Handbook of Theology) We are all “under condemnation” (as the descendants of Adam and Eve) and don’t deserve God’s grace; but it is a gift offered to us all. We could never earn it, or work hard enough for it, or be worthy of it on our own. But God gives us the gift of grace through His Son, Jesus. In many places in the New Testament, the “Grace of God” is a used as a synonym for Jesus.
So first, we have this totally undeserved favor from God; grace, the chance to be reconciled and have a personal relationship with God. Next, through our faith, belief in God and Jesus, we now have the chance for eternal life with God. Lastly, we are offered salvation as the last gift in this amazing “God Plan”. Wow! And it is all free and for the taking. So why don’t we?
Well, if you’re like me, the fact that I deserve nothing from God; that I am the ultimate sinner, how can I expect anything good? How can I really be given grace? How can I really grow in faith? How can I be saved? Who would really want me? God would! And that, my friends, is the heart of it all! It is God’s gift of grace, a part of His never ending love for us! A gift, given, but not earned, offered with no “catch”, granted even though I should get “coal in my stocking”!
God loves us all, period. He wants to be close to us, just like He was close to Adam and Eve before the “fall”, before sin entered into the world. God’s plan has always been to be close to the humans he created “in His image”. And because of his loving kindness and grace, we can have just that.
When I was young, and even after I accepted Jesus as my Savior and “became a Christian”, I was awed by God. He seemed unapproachable, far away from me and my small world, too holy to be near, too awesome a God to care about me. But I was wrong. His grace looks past all of my shortfalls, all of my sins, all of my past mistakes, and all of my doubts and fears. He looks at me and offers the grace that I (sometimes still) have a difficult time accepting, but embrace wholly! He is my God!
Grace may be one of the hardest gifts to accept; but is by far the most valuable. God’s grace encourages me to read His word and believe in His wonderful plan. It allows me to have faith in His promises and His word and His Son. And finally, it offers me the greatest gift of all, salvation, the gift of life eternal with God. He has accepted me into His family. I am His child!
The last amazing aspect of God’s grace that I want you to realize is that just like a sunrise, it is fresh and offered anew each and every day. No matter what our yesterday was like, no matter our doubts, no matter our anxiety, no matter our rejection, God’s gift of grace awaits us with each new day.
This week, take time to submerse yourself in grace. Feel God’s acceptance and ignore your own doubts. Surround yourself with His grace, your faith in Him, and His salvation through Jesus. Stand tall as a child of the most high God who loves you unconditionally. I really didn’t understand “unconditional” love until I had children. It helped me to understand God better. I would do anything and give anything and endure anything for my children. I am blessed to be God’s child of grace!
Thank you for joining me this week and I wish God’s grace for all of you!