Grace – (n) a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior; the free and unmerited favor of God shown towards man; the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and sanctification; the condition of being favored or sanctified by God; an unmerited gift, favor, etc, granted by God
Grace is the kind of thing that only continues to baffle me more and more as I journey life. I’ve been learning infinitely more about this than ever before and it has not been a sugar-coated understanding of grace. I’ve been exposed to more of my own sin, brokenness and intolerance which has left me raw, more dependent on the Spirit and in greater awe and appreciation of my Lord and Savior. My thoughts, opinions and even my feelings have been challenged as I have forcefully collided with the King of Kings in what has felt more like a cosmic battle within my soul than a gentle polishing of my rough edges.
I’m finding that I am easily irked by others’ intolerance and have a tendency to be intolerant towards them as a result. I am discovering that I am more critical than I would like to admit and judge others way too quickly. I am uncovering my own inadequacies and realizing that all-too-often I do not extend grace to myself for my own shortcomings.
On the other hand, God is revealing more of His own heart to me, which is knocking my socks off. He welcomes us back, no matter how intolerant we have been ourselves. He overlooks every single flaw, mistake and wrongful attitude. He does not hold our sin against us or harp on us when we screw up.
In fact, He takes a step further by offering a purity that is not of us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16). You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Rom 3:23-24) But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:22-23)
How crazy is it that He not only withholds what we rightfully deserve, but also gives us that which we have never earned? Insane. Out of this world. Heavenly. Grace is truly something that only He could think of, carry out and be Himself. He takes away death and offers life. He overlooks offenses and welcomes us back. He rolls with our punches and offers to bind up our broken hearts.
If the God of the Universe is willing to do this for me and for you, then who I am not to do the same for myself or for others? Who I am to hold my sin against myself, unforgiving of my human nature and not accepting of the new identity He longs to see me step into? Who I am to condemn other Christians for their flaws, mistakes and shortcomings and not welcome them back with open arms continually?
Friends, I need prayer for this. That God would continue to lavish Himself upon me and I would readily welcome it, embrace the identity of His child that I all-too-often see as being unworthy of being called, and see others as His precious children too.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21