GRACE is a wonderful and thrilling word. Although the word GRACE is small it conveys or paints an enormous picture of what God has done for us through His Son Jesus.
I have found it helpful to think about GRACE as an incredible GIFT which demonstrates overwhelming GENEROSITY. It is a GIFT offered to us freely. We cannot earn it or win it or buy it or attain it.
This unique GIFT gives us the choice to receive it or decline it. We don’t deserve in any way this GRACE-GIFT which is why it is often defined as “God’s unmerited favour towards us” or “love that cares and stoops and rescues” or simply put “mercy not merit”.
GRACE is radiant with GENEROSITY. For us to receive it cost Jesus everything- His very life. He couldn’t have given us any more. He died on the cross to take the punishment we deserved for our sins so that we could be offered forgiveness and freedom from condemnation, guilt and shame. Jesus rose again to prove once and for all that death had been conquered.
GRACE does not have any loopholes. Jesus has generously got every possibility covered.
GRACE. What a GIFT! What GENEROSITY!
I am impressed by the fact that the apostle Paul when he writes his letters to the early churches nearly always starts his letter as part of the greeting with something like – “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ”. He ends those letters with his farewell – “may the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you”. GRACE was so important to Paul that he starts and finishes his letters with GRACE.
Paul could never quite believe that Jesus “loved ME and gave himself for ME” (Galatians 2:20). He marveled at this GENEROUS-GRACE-GIFT and was profoundly thankful and grateful for GRACE.
I need to remind myself every day of what Jesus has done for ME and to marvel at what I could never ever have done for myself. That GRACE-FOCUS helps me to follow Jesus closely and to live a life of gratitude and obedience.
I have recently found it helpful to read the way Eugene Peterson in The Message has translated the word GRACE at the end of Paul’s letters to try and convey the excitement and real depth of GRACE.
“our Master Jesus has his arms wide open for you” (end of 1 Corinthians)
“the amazing grace of the Master Jesus” (end of 2 Corinthians)
“May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours” (end of Galatians)
“Pure grace and nothing else but grace be with all who love our Master Jesus Christ” (end of Ephesians)
“Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master Jesus Christ deep, deep within yourselves” (end of Philippians)
“the amazing grace of Jesus Christ be with you” (end of 1 Thessalonians)
“the incredible grace of our Master Jesus Christ be with all of you” (end of 1 Timothy)
“overwhelming grace keep you” (end of 2 Timothy)
GRACE needs to be the start and finish of each day –in fact the beginning and end of all we do. So let’s live lives that are GRACE-THANKFUL and may that grace pour through us to others that they too may be taken up with the marvel of GRACE.
I remember some years ago heading to a conference on Biblical counseling and pastoral care at which I was co-leading. I was driving down the M6 when I heard God ask me “What would you like me to do for you this week”. I responded by asking Him to help me with the teaching program that week and that those who attended the course would be blessed. God replied that I hadn’t heard Him right and that He was asking what I would like Him to do for ME that week. I was completely overwhelmed by a sense of His love for me as an individual and with tears rolling down my face struggling to come to terms that God would take such a personal interest in me. Now that was GRACE!
Clive and his wife Liz lead a Community called Liberton Vaulters which gives young people and their families the chance to interact with horses and learn an equestrian sport! Clive also is a key leader in our 9.15 Gathering.