Oh to have had more time on Sunday to discuss the truth of God's grace, but the truth IS that grace is a mystery of God so deep and wide that it will take a lifetime to plumb its depths and span its width. God's grace comes to us in moments of divine revelation that sometimes knock us off of our feet and onto our knees. And sometimes it gently nudges us as lightly as a kiss blown from fingertips.
God's grace so brightly portrayed on the cross is His saving grace. This is the grace that He gave to lift the burden of our rebellion by forgiveness: forgiveness so generous that God not only forgives us of our wrong-doing, He takes away the eternal cost of that wrong doing. Like receiving a pardon, God's grace restores our record and our reputation to it's pre-rebellion state.
But God's grace comes in so many other forms. Sunshine. I know, that sounds somewhat childlike to consider. But wait a moment. Think about sunshine and all the ways we benefit from it. In hundreds of ways, everyday, we experience God's grace through the sun that shines on us and provides vitamin D for our health, photosynthesis for our fruits and vegetables, conduction to warm our planet, light to illuminate our way, and even energy to power this computer. Sunshine = God's grace. Thank you God for the warm sunshine that makes my light weight T-shirt so comfortable today.
Grace is God's goodness provided on our behalf. His saving grace. His common grace. His loving, compassionate grace.
God's grace restores us and our situation. This is what we talked about this past Sunday in the experience of Peter at the Sea of Galilee after Christ's resurrection. It takes our biggest failures and offers us transformation. Grace takes our deepest regrets and shame and promises us a future with hope and prospect. Grace takes our damage relationship with God and offers us a restoration which takes us ALL the way back to God's original plan for us. That's good!
How then should we respond to grace?
1. Be transformed. We can't stop at being forgiven, we have to delve into the very situation that we have marked a failure and be transformed. Use it for good. Learn from it. Grow from it. Help others from it. Put down a stake in our spirit that will anchor us for future living in God's grace.
2. Be productive. If God is giving us a future and purpose in that future, we need to pursue that prospective occupation. Get educated. Get experience under a mentor. Get equipped by the Holy Spirit. Get going (to the very ends of the earth to make disciples).
3. Be close to God. God has moved close to us. We need to stop moving away from Him and into our own ego-feeding, pleasure pursuing, treasure hoarding activities; and start devoting time to God seeking, God honoring, God sharing life (in all of its true fullness).
God is offering...
I like this hymn.
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
(Frances R. Havergal, February1874)Click here to hear the Easter message, "A Guy Named Peter"