Grace is a Person
Grace is a word most of us don’t really understand. Somehow we’ve reduced the idea of grace into a generic prayer we pray before a meal. But when you really think about it, the Bible’s concept of grace is very counter cultural. It doesn't make sense to the world.
Grace means that we can’t earn or merit acceptance with God no matter how hard we might try. Grace means that God offers restoration with Him on the basis of a free, undeserved gift. Grace means no amount of trying will make God love us more and no amount of sinning will make God love us less.
Every other religion of the world rejects the idea of grace and insists that we must contribute something to our salvation. We must try harder. We must be better. We must live morally. All the various religions of the world offer a self-help way to achieve restoration with God. Only the Christian faith dares to suggest that God offers a relationship to people on the basis of pure grace. Our part is just accepting that free gift, knowing we can't save ourselves and choosing to follow Jesus.
Complete these common American phrases for me:
If it sounds too good to be true... it is.
We make money the old fashion way, we... earn it.
There's no such thing as a free... lunch.
There is no gain without... pain.
God helps those who… help themselves.
Everything about the American way of life teaches us that you get what you earn in life, that there is no free lunch, that you make your bed and then you lay in it. In America we are very aware of the values of competition and winning.
This is called the American work ethic. The only problem with the American work ethic is God doesn't operate on the American work ethic. It makes it difficult many times for us to relate to God because we're in this driven work mentality. But the Bible tells us that God, rather than being in a work ethic mode, it says,
Psalm 145:8 (NIV) "God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."
The Bible says God is a gracious God. That means He loves to be gracious to you. God loves to bless people who don't deserve it. That's His nature. Aren't you glad for that? I'm glad that God blesses people who don't deserve it.
But, what about the verse that says, "Faith without works is dead?" Good works and actions are byproducts of the Holy Spirit’s work in our life, but salvation has nothing to do with work. It's evidence, but it's not what saves us.
Grace and grace alone saves us.
Grace is a free gift.
Grace is a person, Jesus.
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