What do you think of when you hear the word grace? Is it something you say before you eat a meal? Everyone who knows me, knows that I pray before I eat. It is very interesting how often get asked by my non believing friends to bless our meal when we are out for lunch or dinner. Is it the name of someone you know? This is my aunt’s name. I remember her every time I hear the word. Perhaps it is a set a characteristics or personality traits and attributes that people possess. I actually think my aunt lives up to her name because of how she treats people. So, for me, it is all of these things that may come to mind. Yet it is so much more and I want to draw our hearts and minds back to the foundation of grace.
Grace is active and produces real practical outcomes in our daily lives.
Ephesians 2:8 NKJV reminds us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
Grace is the unmerited gift of favour God extends to us- first in saving us and then in working in and through our lives. Grace is not deserved or something we work to earn but it is freely given to us. God shows us grace when he works in our lives and when he answers prayer. Grace is a quality of God which is revealed in the free gift of salvation and the gifts He continues to give us out of His love for us as we journey in faith with Him. Grace is God’s mind, heart and nature to treat us better than we deserve. But is that where our understanding of grace should end?
There are passages in both 1 and 2 Corinthians where God adds to and expands our understanding of grace. One familiar scripture is 2 Corinthians 12:9
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
This speaks of grace not only as something that God possesses’, not only His quality or nature but as power that is imparted- a force from God at work in our lives to change how we behave or respond to situations or people.
In other words- God’s grace in me gives me the power to be who He has made me to be and who I need to be in times of trouble- like when I was battling cancer, in my teaching job or as a pastor- my disposition, my speech, my treatment of others- is impacted because of the power of grace that I allow to take control in me. Grace is active and produces real practical outcomes in our daily lives. We show grace when we make daily choices to interact with others with kindness and good intentions no matter what someone else does…this is practising gratitude, choosing forgiveness, having compassion, showing acceptance. The powerful truth about grace is that God’s favour that saved us and gifts us daily, is meant to overflow into our lives and others. God’s powerful and practical help, is ours to live with and share whenever and wherever we or others need it. Freely received from God and freely shared with others. Undeserved and Powerful.