February 15th 2009

The Word “Grace”

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen”
II Peter 3:18: (NIV)

The apostle Paul uses the word “grace” time and time again in his letters in the New Testament. “Grace” is a word that is rich with meaning and application. Paul used it both in the greetings and in the closings of his letters. He also used it in benedictions, as well as to inspire generosity. He used it in explaining salvation and in explaining how the Christian life works.

In John 1:14, the apostle John used the term “grace” to describe Jesus as “full of grace and truth.” John also used the word in the opening and closing of two of his letters. And so did Peter.

“Grace” is a crucial word in the Bible, and it’s important that we understand it.

God’s grace is often defined as God’s unmerited pardon or unearned forgiveness. It may also be described as the blessing of a new life, a redeemed life in which God gives us, through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit, a new heart that delights in doing God’s will, a heart that is freed from sin so that we can love others as God loves us.

Jesus came to us as a man, having laid aside his prerogatives as the Son of God, yet still full of grace and truth, fully devoted in the power of the Holy Spirit to do all of the will of his Father. As one of us and in our place he was perfect and sinless. He put others ahead of himself and suffered the consequences of doing so. He died for us, and he was raised from dead for us. He ascended to the Father, and there at the Father’s right hand, he stands in for us and represents us as the perfect and sinless Human.

We humans are sinners, spiritually poor and in need of a changed heart that is rooted and grounded in God’s love. We feel deep inside the desperate need for someone to love us unconditionally, to forgive us and to stand beside us before God and to intercede on our behalf. And, our Lord, Jesus Christ, full of grace and truth, does just that.

God’s grace empowers us to bring the wealth of his love into the spiritual poverty of others. Grace encourages us, lifts us and strengthens us to live like Jesus in the world. We can keep going because we know that God’s love for us, his mercy toward us, and his presence with us, keep on going. God will never forsake us; he will never leave us, despite how many times we fall down. In that confidence-confidence in God’s grace and love, not in our own successes-we can continue to get up and keep going. That’s called Christian growth.

Knowing that God loves us, knowing that his grace toward us is certain, we are sustained through every difficulty, every challenge, every desperate trial, and even every new opportunity that we might face in our lives. The more we know God, the more we trust him, and the more we trust him, the more we feel and experience the freedom he has given us to love others as he loves us. Grace comes from love and leads to love. And love is what makes life worth living.

Loving Father, thank you for your grace that empowers us to bring your love into the spiritual poverty in this world we live in. Thank you for sustaining us through all the challenges we face in life. Thank you for never leaving us or forsaking us.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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