Archive for November 30th, 2007

Grace – lived out


What is it about grace?  Why can we so easily run to Jesus and accept His grace for our lives but in the next moment fail to extend the same grace that we have received to others around us?  Grace is unearned favor.  By God, it is freely given.  By us, for some reason we regularly feel like people have to earn it.  Why do we put ourselves in a higher position than God?  How can we justify being self-appointed judges of who deserves grace and who doesn’t?

One of the best known parables is that of the Prodigal Son.  It is also one of the best examples of Jesus talking about grace.  Imagine your child taking their inheritance, long before it’s due, and squandering it all.  Then imagine that same child running back to you because all the money was gone.  How would you respond?  Jesus finishes the story by explaining how the father saw his son coming from a long way off and ran to meet him.

That is grace.  That is the same way that Jesus meets us every time we fail, fall apart, backslide, or self-destruct.  He runs to us.  He sees us coming back to Him with our tail between our legs and He runs to us.  Since we have been so graciously extended this type of acceptance why is it so hard for us to do the same to people around us?

I understand that there is a tension between Grace and Works.  I understand that Paul talks about how we are saved by grace and not by anything we could possibly do to earn our salvation.  And yet James goes into the aspect of faith without works being dead.  By works James appears to be addressing both acts of charity and those of righteousness that come through our salvation.

Bottom line – if we are saved by grace and it is a freely given gift we must respond to others the same way.  We must be grace-filled people.  Too many times I have seen Christians in the name of Jesus bring harm to others due to a lack of grace in their lives.  May we be known as people of grace.  May we freely give because we have freely received.  May we walk all the days of our lives in the grace that Jesus gives and at the same time help others to see what that can look like for themselves.