What steers you?
My first remembrance and understanding of the word “grace” was in the form of a prayer at dinner; “Bless us oh Lord, for these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord, amen.” We said grace.
Since that boyhood memory, grace has rooted a far deeper meaning and understanding than simply thanking God prior to a meal. It has become a way of life, oh BTW! This is still a work in progress.
What is your understanding of grace and what does it mean to you?
Interestingly by definition of the Webster’s, grace is first recognized and understood as something God-given, then understood as something received or given to others in our natural life.
Biblically, grace is unmerited divine (gift) assistance given to humans for their regeneration (forgiveness through repentance and gratitude) or sanctification (a life set aside for God’s purpose and use), a virtue coming from God, a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine (gift) assistance. This definition is found in Webster’s, the parentheses statements were added.
Day to day, grace is known and experienced through approval, favor, mercy, kindness, privilege, courtesy, or clemency. It may be used as a title or a reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop, but remember it is first a God-given virtue. Also, Webster’s.
The amplified version of the Gospel John 1:16 states:
For out of his fullness (the superabundance of his grace and truth) we have all received grace upon grace (spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift). See John 1:14-18 for deeper understanding.
In the Christian life we are all blessed beyond belief because we are the recipients of grace. Grace upon grace! Great grace! As responsible recipients of grace we are also called to bestow that grace toward others. As we have received Christ, we are to share Christ.
God has given us his great love and grace through the death burial and resurrection Jesus Christ, that whosoever believes shall have eternal life. Jesus Christ is God’s grace. What a great love!
“Grace: the empowering presence of God, enabling us to be, and do, all that God desires us to be and do, in, through, and by God’s unmerited favor.”
As grace-recipients we are grace-sharers. As grace and love have been given and received, we are to share it in the same heartfelt way. Jesus said: “As I have loved you,” a key word here is “as.”
John 13:34 Jesus says: “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another.”
The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.
So, as we re-read the definitions of grace and love may we be about the work and call of the Lord Jesus Christ “as” he exemplifies that grace and love toward us.
Here are a few quotes to help us live his way.
“Apologies I rarely needed where grace and love have been given, you will never apologize for having or giving too much grace.”
“Error on the side of grace.”
“Be and have a grace-ruddered life.”
May you know and receive God’s grace. Blessings.
Pat Propster is senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Church.