Photo Credit: Mikaela Hamilton
This month I want to help us prepare for Christmas by reflecting on God’s Grace. If you want an overview of what I’m trying to accomplish, read the first blog post in this series called A Month To Remember God’s Grace.
Below is the Reflection for today.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
- Ephesians 2:8
The Bible is clear. We are saved by grace alone. This is good news because we are sinful, faulty, weak and inconsistent. The clear reality of our sin should lead us to ask a critical question: Why does Jesus give us grace?
The answer is not because we try hard to impress him or that we are particularly impresses to him. The answer is this: Jesus is a gracious God who gave his life to save us.
To make sense of grace, consider the conversion of the Apostle Paul. Paul was a big sinner. He himself claimed to be the greatest sinner and arguably he was right. Paul was proud and self-righteous. In his arrogance he killed and imprisoned innocent people. As a matter of fact Paul was on his way to do more damage when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus and saved his soul. The question of course is why did Jesus meet Paul? Was it because Paul promised to do better? Was it because Paul was bent on turning his life around. No. It was entirely the other way around.
Jesus was bent on loving Paul. As a matter of fact, even when no one else wanted anything to do with Paul and even before Paul changed any of his ways, Jesus loved, saved, forgave and accepted Paul.
So here is the good news of grace: Paul didn’t have to do anything to make Jesus love him and neither do you. You see, God’s love, forgiveness, acceptance and salvation is centered in this thing called grace, meaning all that God does for us is a free gift. We can’t earn it and we don’t deserve it, but God is bent on us receiving it. So here’s the question, are you willing to receive God’s grace?
In many ways receiving grace is like opening a window and pulling back the curtains. When you open a window you don’t have to beg the fresh air to come in. When you pull back the curtains you don’t need to make a formal request for the sunlight to fill the room. In a similar way when we open our hearts to receive the good news that we are loved, saved and embraced by Jesus because of grace, Jesus doesn’t wait for us to tidy up our lives before he enters. Additionally, he doesn’t wait a few months to see if we are sincere and have the right motives. Instead, he immediately enters our souls with light, life, joy, peace, patience, contentment, forgiveness, and a whole host of other blessings. Like the morning sun he pushes back the darkness and like the winter air he refreshes everything. This is good news. So open your heart and receive grace.
Paul had a pretty incredible story of encountering and being changed by God’s grace. What is your story? How has God’s grace changed you?