Thursday, October 23, 2008

Only Grace

Ephesians 2: 4-10 (NIV)

“4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Over the past two years, God has been teaching me about his grace. He has given me many opportunities to see my own sin and to recognize that it is only by his grace that I am able to come to him at all. I have learned the amazing freedom that comes by confession and true repentance. The amazing thing is that not only does God show me grace when I come to him and ask for his forgiveness, he continues to give me grace as I then attempt to truly change my ways. He helps me change by giving me the Holy Spirit to teach me and point out the areas that still need work. I do not deserve any of this, yet he gives it to me freely!

After God began to teach me about his gift of grace toward me, he also began to teach me about how to show grace to others. He taught me that he shows the same grace to others as he shows to me. That should change how I view them, too. All of us who have come to know God as our savior were once dead in transgressions. None of us could have come to God on our own. None of us has a corner on “being good,” just as none of us has the corner on being the “worst sinner.” We were all dead, and have all been made alive! God showed me that this should affect how I treat my brothers and sisters in Christ. It is so easy to point a finger at someone else, or to judge either openly or in my heart. But the family of God should be a place of grace.

Yesterday I had an experience where I heard a song that I have heard countless times before, but this time I really heard the words. They said just what has been in my heart. The song is “Only Grace” by Matthew West. Look at some of the words:

There is no guilt here
There is no shame
No pointing fingers
is no blame
What happened yesterday...has disappeared
The dirt has
washed away
And now it's clear

There's only grace
There's only
There's only mercy and believe me it's enough
Your sins are gone
Without a trace
And there's nothing left here
There's only grace

What a great look at what god has done for each one of us! There is also encouragement later in the song. I know I can get discouraged when I struggle with a sin over and over. I take it to god, and he forgives me; but then after a while, I find myself struggling again. But God does not give up on me, and I cannot give up working to be more like Christ even after I fall again! The song goes on to say:

And if you should fall again
Get back up, get back up
Reach out and take
my hand
Get back up, get back up again

His grace and mercy are enough! I can get up again and continue to run the race before me because his grace and mercy are enough.


Joanna said...

Amen. What a wonderful thing to read first thing in the morning.

Terry, Ornament of His Grace said...

I've been thinking about grace a bit myself these days. Great to read your thoughts, paired with SCRIPTURE. Thanks for sharing this.