Same Grace Different Day

June 9, 2014

Sometimes I see a post on another blog I can’t help but share. The below really encouraged me and I hope it does for you as well. It originally ran on Constant in the Change.

One of my friends, Mark, when asked “How are you?” likes to respond with “Better than I deserve.”  There’s a lot of truth to that, for all of us.  We are all sinners and there is no way to avoid that fact.  How did all of this start?  And, more importantly, how can we rectify the situation?  The story starts with a man and ends with a gift.  (I would recommend having your Bible or Bible App ready since I put a lot of references in here.)

When God created the world and then the first man, Adam, he gave Adam authority over what He had created (ref Gen 2:19-20).  God gave Adam one simple rule.  Do not eat from one specific tree in the garden of Eden.  Adam did not listen and upon his first bite of the apple from the tree, he sinned against God.  This sin has infected us as humans and caused all to be sinful by nature…all except one other man.

Jesus was born as a son of God through Mary, a virgin in Bethlehem (ref Mat 1:18). This took place because God, in His mysterious ways, loves us more than we can fathom.  He knew we would sin. He also knew sin would keep us from having a relationship with Him.  Jesus would play the most important role in the salvation of mankind.  He, as a man, would reclaim authority of everything (ref Mat 28:18) and through his sacrifice (ref Mat 27:50) we would witness God’s grace.

Now what is “grace”?  Grace is the forgiveness of sin.  God sacrificed his Son so those who believe in Him may have eternal life despite their sin (ref John 3:16).  Sounds kind of crazy right?  He gave up his sinless, perfect Son to save all of the sinners.  That’s why God is truly amazing and worthy of all of our praise.

So, how do we receive grace?  That answer goes against our very nature as well.  God gives us His grace as a gift.  We just have to accept it.  No strings attached.  Really!?  Something that valuable I should have to earn right?  Nope, not a chance.  In fact, the Bible is pretty clear about the gift of grace.  Here are just a few verses that tell us about it:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9 ESV)

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:23-24 ESV)

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom 11:6 ESV)

The final question that remains is: How do we accept the gift of grace?  Well, that is something we must do on God’s terms. After all, He is the gift giver.  The Bible mentions three things we must do to accept grace.  Peter sums them up in Acts 2:38: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” (ESV).  The three things Peter mentions here are repentance, baptism, and faith.  Repentance deals with the change of our hearts to move away from sin (ref Act 3:19) and conform to the image of Jesus, the image of love for one another (ref Rom 8:29).  The next ingredient is faith; a faith in Jesus Christ as our savior.  Paul defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV).  We are to believe even though we have not seen Jesus as his disciples did in their time.  Baptism involves faith and repentance as we give our lives over to Christ, sharing in His death and His resurrection (ref Gal 2:20).  Besides, baptism is so important that Jesus, himself went to John to be baptized (ref Mat 3:13-17).

Considering how amazing the gift God is giving us, I don’t feel like He is asking us to do very much to accept it.  I think of it as if one of my friends called me and told me they were willing to give me a Ferrari for free, no strings attached.  All I had to do was drive over to his house, walk up some stairs, and knock on his door to get the keys.  I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’d be half-way to his house by the time you finish reading this post.  The great thing about God’s grace is that He has more than enough for every one of us to accept it.  We all have the opportunity to receive His grace and secure our place along side Jesus in Heaven.  If you’ve already received His gift then I would encourage you to thank Him and his Son for such an amazing act of love.  If you have yet to do so, I would encourage you to think and pray about what it would look like for you to take a few steps and accept the grace God has for you.  You’ll never look at a gift the same way again.

PS.  Once you receive God’s grace, you never lose it.  Just think of it like if you got a speeding ticket in the Ferrari or dented it’s fender.  Your friend is never going to ask for the keys back, just like God never rescinds His grace, no matter what you do.

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