|Posted on April 5, 2018 at 12:05 AM|
But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raise us up with Christ and seated us with him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-10
I have heard many definitions of the word “grace” over the years, but all of them seem to fall short. The problem is that there is no formal definition of grace anywhere in the Bible. To further complicate matters, Jesus rarely himself rarely mentions grace, he simply demonstrates how to live it.
Grace as an outrageous gift given by an extravagant giver who expects nothing in return and chooses to give to those who deserve exactly the opposite. What I like most about this definition is that it focuses on the merits and attributes of the Giver. God gives us grace because of who he is, not because of who we are. We are saved by grace and seated in heavenly places not because of anything we have done. In fact, we have earned exactly the opposite because there is not one of us who is righteous.
I believe that self-righteousness has turned more people away from the church than anything else. In a world thirsty for the outrageous gift of grace, the church should be the fountain of living water for the thirsty. St. Augustine said that grace is a gift that must be received with empty hands. Thus the doorway to receiving God’s grace is a simple one: we need to recognize our own sinfulness and our need for God’s grace. The distance between us and God’s grace is the distance between our knees and the floor.
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Mow what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis for accusing him
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, if any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. John 8:3-8
Grace is a gift that must be received with empty hands. If we are holding stones in them, ready to judge another, then we cannot receive grace because our hands are not empty.
We all need God’s grace in our lives, for salvation, for redemption, for our children, for our marriages, for our finances, for our world.
To him who is thirsty, I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this and I will be his God and he will be my son.-Revelation 21:6-7
If you have never received the outrageous gift of God’s grace in your life, I urge you to do so now by praying this prayer.
Father, I accept your grace as demonstrated through your son, Jesus. I know that I am a sinner and I ask for forgiveness for my sins. I accept Jesus into my heart as my Savior. I believe that he died for my sins and was raised from the dead. I thank you that you seat me in heavenly places with your Son, Jesus. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.
If you are already a professing Christian and in need of God’s grace, remember that sincere repentance signified by a true change of heart is the doorway to receiving grace. Make sure your hands are empty. For only then can your receive God’s outrageous gift of grace.
-Pastor Sherri Falco