Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What is Grace?

Romans 5:15, 18, 20 (NLT)
For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many.  But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.  Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and a new life for everyone.  God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.  But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.  (see the MSG translation below)

Grace has been a theme in my devotions lately.  What is grace?  How do you define grace?  Not the ‘good posture and flowing movements’ sort of grace.  What is God’s grace?

Here’s my favorite definition:  Grace is the undeserved love of God.  It is God’s love for us that can’t be earned or repaid.  It’s a gift offered freely without strings attached.  An undeserved gift.

I feel as though we’ve lost the significance of God’s grace.  We so often hear how much God loves us (and He does!), that we forget that He doesn’t have to.  We aren’t entitled to His love.  We haven’t been good enough for Him.  We have nothing to offer except our gratitude and reciprocal love. 

God doesn’t have to love us.  But He does.  God loves us so much that He became one of us and suffered excruciating physical and emotional pain to guarantee our place in His eternal presence.  God could have given up on the human race long ago when time and time again we failed to trust Him.  But He didn’t.  He continues to beckon us into a personal and trusting relationship.

Do you recognize God’s grace?  Do you appreciate it?

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Excerpts Romans 5:15-20 (MSG)
The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence.  If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?

Here it is in a nutshell:  Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it.  But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life!

All that passing laws against sin did was to produce more lawbreakers.  But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace.    When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.

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