I’m back, with something that is weighing heavy on my heart. For a couple weeks now, the Lord has laid on my heart the concept of grace. What is grace? I remember doing a project for one of my high school bible classes that involved the students to go around and ask random passerby questions about their beliefs and one such question was about grace. One man that my group ran into, said that he has once has a dog named Grace. We laughed about that answer for a while after, but it stuck with me as a symbol of our view of grace. Do we even really know what grace is??
In Ephesians 2 Paul writes that “it is by GRACE we have been saved” (emphasis my own). The typical verse that I know most people who go to church and call themselves Christians swear by. But what does it mean to be saved by grace?? Paul later goes on to say that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is NOT from yourselves, is is the gift of God” (emphasis, again my own). We were saved by our faith in Christ Jesus, the one Son of the Most High Creator God. We are saved by a living, active, overtaking faith.
Paul says also in Ephesians 2 that God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions”. Romans 5:20b says that “where sin increased, grace increased all the more”. A passage in Romans became absolutely vital in my understanding of who Christ was. Romans 1:29-31: “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful, they invent ways of doing evil they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” How often are my sins listed amongst those of my fellow humans? How often do my sins ring of the same sad melody that seeks to seduce me from my Lord and that seeks to woo us all from our King? For all intents and purposes, I have no rights to think that I am better than somebody else because of such-and-such a sin or good work.
Romans 3:23 says that ALL have sinned. There is no distinction between sins, no ladder or gradient or levels to work our way through. All sin separates us from God, no matter how big or small and our God died to bring us ALL back to Him…where we belong. The following verse continues and says that all “are justified freely by His GRACE through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.” We were all separated from Christ in the same act of original sin and we are all saved through the same act of Christ as a perfect sacrifice on the cross. So does that make one of us better than another? Absolutely not! If we put each other up on pedestals, we forget who should belong in the throne of our hearts. It’s like worshiping a duke or lord in the court of the one true King.
So when one of us sins, what should our reaction be? We can’t deny that God doesn’t relate to our emotions, because being 100% human He felt emotion. The difference is He felt perfect emotion, never out of place considering the situation or circumstance. So how does Christ react to sin? One ought to remember that, oh yeah, Christ DIED for our sin. Christ took our blame, our shame, and our separation and presented Himself before God in our place! Why? Love. And out of this love came His grace to save and redeem us. To save and redeem us ALL. No matter how far we have fallen. He loved us unconditionally, knowing that some would know of His gift and turn it down in His face.
Brothers and Sister, I charge you to never think yourself better than another, or to think another worse than yourself. We all fell equally and we were all saved equally. Does that give us the right to judge? “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things” (Romans 2:2).
So what does it look like to live by grace? In my humble opinion, to have a good amount of love and a healthy dose of humility.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8