08 Jul 2020

The Gift Of Grace

The Bible has so much to say and for us to learn about grace. This one 5 letter word in and of itself speaks to the hows and whys in which we should govern our lives. I have also found that grace to some believers can generate very controversial views as human minds and spiritual intellect intersect. When that happens judgement oftentimes takes place when differences of opinion surface as to how much grace a person is allowed, under what conditions is grace extended by God, and will grace ever run out! It is not my goal to debate the parameters or criteria in order to be the recipient of grace, but rather the importance of what we do with the grace that is bestowed upon us.

It is necessary to look at grace from the perspective of repentance and forgiveness. While it is vitally important to live a life that is pleasing to God, He does not want our primary attention to be focused on the fact that we are constantly “in the wrong”, thus we stand in need of grace. As humans we are in no way perfect, and God being our Creator knew that from the time of our existence. I believe many are familiar with grace being described as “the unmerited favor of God”. So, what do we do with the favor? How do we demonstrate our gratitude to God for His precious gift of grace? I love this quote from St. Augustine of Hippa, “”Grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.” It coincides perfectly with I Corinthians 15: 10, “By the grace of God I am what I am and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.” Even when we did not deserve God’s grace because of our imperfections, our Father loves His children so deeply and perfectly that He stands ready to forgive every mistake, every sin, every shortcoming! Everything that we are and ever hope to be is because of God’s grace.

If we could “perform” well enough to warrant the grace of God, then we would constantly be striving for rewards and not God’s love and favor. It is because of His love for us that He so freely grants His grace. When two of my grandsons were in Kindergarten, they had a teacher that had a merit system that I found to be quite interesting. I am not here to judge whether it was good or bad. I could never be an elementary school teacher — in fact, I highly commend teachers for their love of children and most of all their patience!! Their teacher used a system in her classroom that had a chart on the wall with a little bug on it, and if the student did well in all aspects, i.e. behavior, listening to instructions, respect for their classmates, performed well with their classwork, then their “bug” was moved up. If they did not, their bug moved down. When the boys would get in the car to go home after school, we would ask “how was your day?” Normally the first thing out of their mouths was “I got my bug moved up!” But some days, the reluctant response was “My bug moved down today”. Clearly, they were ecstatic when their bug moved up, but extremely sad and disappointed on the days it went the opposite direction. Of course, we always encouraged them to do better tomorrow, but that didn’t make it better today. Granted, it is safe to assume that the bug being moved down was something they did that they should not have done, or something they should have done that they did not do. But this is a tough lesson for a Kindergartener to digest. I am so relieved to know that God’s grace is not based on the “bug system”. Certainly, we have principles to live by and our lives are the better for them. We have the assurance in knowing what II Corinthians 12: 9 declares, “And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness”. It is in our human weakness that we make mistakes and fall short, but His strength is sufficient in all situations. We can never repay Him for His grace, but in our acceptance and appreciation for it, we must become the carriers of His glory demonstrating the light of His love.