Changed by Grace
The Bible speaks of God’s grace in the good news of Jesus Christ. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the term ‘grace.’
No wonder. It is an idea that has no parallel in our experience.
Grace is undeserved mercy. Grace is true love being poured out on the truly unlovable. Grace is a righteous God making His home among the unrighteous even though He knows they will react toward it with indifference or even hatred.
In order to truly understand grace we may have to know what it is not. Grace is not merely tolerance or a looking the other way. Grace is not merely a holy and righteous God accepting sinners as they are.
There is a lot of talk about tolerating all kinds of lifestyles and beliefs. This tolerance is touted as being ‘gracious’ or ‘unconditional love’. But God’s grace is more.
God’s grace has an agenda, an agenda of change.
In His mercy He forgives us our sins, but that does not mean that He turns His gaze away from our sin as if He doesn’t recognize it for what it is. Instead, God, through the work of Jesus Christ, has given us an open way to Him. Through the precious blood of this Saviour, we may go to God in prayer seeking a cleansing from our sin.
But that is not the end of the matter. Grace continues its work by taking the works and lusts of the flesh (our sinful inclinations and actions) and replaces them with the fruit and desires of the Holy Spirit, God’s supreme gift of grace. In other words, what changes are our wants and desires! As the old hymn puts it, “Hast thou not seen, How thy desires e’er have been, Granted in what He ordaineth.” He gives us what we want because when we see and understand His grace our wants change.
Grace turns you upside down; the self-righteous and destructive become the grateful and constructive. Grace pesters and pursues us—it is grace that makes us even aware that sin is our deepest problem. In case you think you are too good to need grace, the Bible responds, “There is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10b).
Grace woos and comforts us when we think we are too far gone to be rescued. The Bible says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
Either way, when we receive His grace He anticipates change. Again the Bible says it best, “…to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4: 22b-24).
“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love” (Ephesians 6:24).