Faith & Insight: The goodness and grace of the Father
Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin.” This is the refrain of a classic anthem of the church called “Grace Greater Than All Our Sin” and was written in 1911 by Julia H. Johnston, her father a pastor and her mother a poet. As we enter into this Christmas season and prepare for the start of a new year, we can see that this song written well over a century ago, still faithfully and fully declares the grace and goodness of the Lord for us, in every year and from generation to generation.
God’s goodness for our lives will far exceed anything we will experience. Most have only yet splashed around in the shallows of God’s deep love and mercy. In order to dive deeper into the fullness of life available to us, we must learn how to posture our hearts.
Ephesians 1:7-8 says: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished on us.”
Because of his good, and because God is so rich in kindness and grace, he purchased our freedom with the blood of his son, breathing out his grace upon and forgave our sins — every single one. Holding nothing back when it comes to healing, forgiveness and restoration, the Lord showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. When our hearts are postured in a way that acknowledges God’s work of redemption in our lives, it transforms our view of his goodness and grace. What areas of your life — your actions and your thoughts — are not yet surrendered fully to the lordship of Jesus Christ? As the Holy Spirit reveals these things to you, then respond with a humble posture, quickly confessing and asking God to transform you.
Later on in verses 18 and 19 of Ephesians 1, it was prayed that “the eyes of ours heart may be enlightened, so that we will know the hope of his calling, the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe.” The Lord desires that our hearts be flooded with his truth and goodness and light for a specific purpose: that we know and have a true and confident hope that he gives to his beloved. He says that those who have this are basking in a rich and glorious inheritance. This prayer reminds us that our hearts must have a posture that continues to seek and grow in understanding the incredible greatness of God’s power for our lives.
In order to grow in God, to believe more fully in his goodness and grace, we must allow him and only him to open the eyes of our hearts so that we might receive the right image of who the Lord truly is. Far too often we settle in our relationship with God for that which can only be seen with our physical eyes. We settle for community apart from unity in the Spirit, God’s word apart from illumination from the Spirit, and we look to “open” or “closed” doors as our guide rather than making space to ask for the Holy Spirit’s leadership. Now is the time to truly live in the fullness of relationship afforded to us by God’s great sacrifice and his life-changing grace.
Take time to pray, asking the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart to his goodness and grace in more tangible ways. Ask the Lord to guide you into a deeper and more connected relationship with him. And, choose now to pursue a life marked by a deep connection with your heavenly Father, the author of goodness and grace.
May your relationship with God be enriched during this Christmas season as you position yourself to receive all your loving heavenly Father has to give — his goodness. His grace. His “marvelous, infinite, matchless grace” that is freely poured out “on all who believe.” Believe in him. Believe in his goodness and walk in his grace.
Nick Emery is the senior pastor at Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.