"Amazing grace! How sweet the sound! That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now I'm found; was blind but now I see." – John Newton, 1779
It was many years into my Christian life before I came to know much at all about grace. I thought that everything was about how much I believed and obeyed as I worked my way toward heaven. Eventually, I read and heard things that changed my thinking.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
"But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 We are saved by grace because of what Jesus did for us on the cross!
Years later, I read a challenge to my thinking in the Apostle Paul's writings. "But (God) said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
For many years, whenever I thought of grace, it was God’s wonderful grace that saved me because of what Jesus did on the cross. This verse does not fit that paradigm.
Paul had been in prayer concerning a physical malady he was suffering. Using my limited definition of grace, it is as though God said, “Isn’t it enough that Jesus died on the cross for you?” There must be more to grace than forgiveness!
I have now come to discover that there is a daily, equipping and strengthening grace from God that gets us, step by step, through each day. Pain, struggle, misery, anxiety – God’s grace gives us his power to make it through it all day by day.
I now realize that my focus needs to change from those daily difficulties to God's amazing grace that will enable and strengthen me through all of those struggles.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Bruce Henderson is the pastor/minister of Airport Road Church of Christ in Carson City.
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