Thursday, January 23, 2014

Grace

 
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:3 (ESV)

Most of us know that old memory device for grace: “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.” While that does help us remember, it seems to come up so short of the depth and fullness that truly is God’s grace.
Although I’m not by any means the accounting type, I tend to think of grace as the difference between what we deserve and what God gives us. The Bible says the wages of sin is death—that’s what we deserve. But what we get is eternal life through faith in Jesus who paid that very price for us.

Maybe that’s why “Amazing Grace” is such a moving song for so many people. I’m sure many of you know the author, John Newton, was a slave trader who came to Jesus and was instrumental in the abolition of slavery.  

Throughout the lyrics, that difference between what he deserved and what God gave him is clear and plain.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

The depth and riches of God’s love are abundant beyond measure. We fall to our knees in awe and fear at His Grace. And, on our knees, humbled by the power of that love, His perfect love casts out all our fears and we are free!

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

That grace never leaves us. The phrase “unconditional love” has become a clich√©, but it truly does describe His grace.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

His promises are written in the Bible. We have a guarantee of salvation, written in black and white. He will never leave us or forsake us.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

His greatest grace is the promise of eternal life in heaven where our relationship with Him will be perfect, as He intended from the beginning.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The sixth verse was not written by John Newton, but was added later by an anonymous author.

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

Recently, Chris Tomlin changed the song slightly and added this inspiring chorus:

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

However we sing it, this beautiful old hymn makes the grace of God clearer to my heart than any academic explanation could ever explain it to my head.

But I am curious. What is God’s grace to you?

Today’s Praise

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

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