This morning included a weekly three-hour drive through a beautiful Oregon mountain pass and into God’s country – Central Oregon. As the driver (and alone) I don’t get to take in too much of the scenery – I have to drive safely after all. I do, however, get a lot of think time in – and for those who know me, talk time. Call me crazy but my private thoughts are often verbalized when I’m alone, helps me think, re-think and articulate my thoughts.
After recording a couple videos on the Marco Polo app for a think tank group I’m in I started thinking about the weekend and remembering standing in the shower humming Amazing Grace to myself. Ok, maybe that’s TMI…but I really stopped to think about what Grace is, what it means, and how amazing it is!
From whatever perspective you approach Grace from everyone respects and honors the word, its meaning, and those who exude and exemplify the attribute. If you have that person in your life that you could say, ‘They are so graceful’, or, ‘They are so full of grace’, you know that word incorporates and encompasses so many traits.
Grace is one of those words with multiple contexts, it can be described by many other words or phrases and yet it stands alone, and is enough.
But he 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV
When you say, ‘That person is full of grace’, you are saying paragraphs and articles about them. When you speak of Grace from the Christian perspective whole books can be written to define and describe it. It literally speaks volumes.
So how do you define Grace?
Anyone who has read two of my articles will know that I have come from a history of extreme legalism, and Grace is a word that legalism doesn’t appreciate. I repeat it often because I know many new readers find my latest articles. Often times, those who came from legalistic and very strict/conservative churches will say, ‘We didn’t hear grace preached on much.’
Legalism, which is a near reversion to Levitical and Mosaic law in New Testament Christian churches, is antithetical to Grace. These types of systems attempt to redefine Grace and say what the Bible says simply about Grace isn’t what it really means. I’ve heard men say Ephesians 2 ‘Grace’ isn’t applied through Faith, that you receive saving ‘Grace’ after (and only after) you perform certain rituals and conform to particular standards of dress or behavior or other standards set by leadership such as outreach hours, financial giving, etc.
Yet, the word simply means…
simple, elegant, refined
The dictionary defines grace as just that, elegant, refined and simple, but also as having the trait of being courteous, a person possessing goodwill. In this, I see Christ. And His Grace is Amazing and Sufficient. How does Scripture define Grace?
Consider the words of Paul again in 2 Corinthians 11;
But I am afraid that, even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, your minds may be corrupted and led away from the simplicity of [your sincere and] pure devotion to Christ. (Amplified Bible)
The simplicity of the Gospel is pure and sincere faith and devotion to Christ and his commandments. We are saved by Grace, through Faith (sincere and pure devotion to Christ) and not of any works we can do, but it is the free and goodwill offering of Christ to us! (Ephesians 2:8-9) Some take this to mean our works (in response to saving Grace) isn’t important, and that’s simply not true. It’s the proper response to faith, our works in obedience to the law of Christ. (Love God, Love One Another, Galatians 5:14, John 13:34)
As Paul taught in Galatians, the law (bondage) was a schoolmaster meant to lead us to Christ and His Grace. Why else did he take Barnabas to Jerusalem in Acts 15 to dispute the Jewish believers who attempted to retain the Law of Moses and force gentiles to be circumcised? No, the Gospel is simple, it is refined, and it is elegant!
My concern was because of the false brothers [those people masquerading as Christians] who had been secretly smuggled in [to the community of believers]. They had slipped in to spy on the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us back into bondage [under the Law of Moses]. ~ Galatians 2:4, AMP
That’s it – Grace is simple instead of complex. Grace is selfless instead of self-focused. Grace is edifying of others instead of edifying of self. Grace is uplifting and inspirational not a heavy burden or demoralizing. Grace is sufficient.
The Amazing Part of Grace
The amazing part of Grace is that it is FREE, it is for ALL, and it is without LIMITS. Many people teach about the heavy cost of following Christ (there is a cost, but not what some have taught), that it for a small group of people, and that it has limits and boundaries.
I can’t count the number of times I heard heavy-handed messages about ‘buying into salvation’, or how God will only tolerate so much before he cuts you off, or how you don’t want to be caught in the movie theater or the bar when the rapture comes…limiting God to only existing in the Church and being void and not being present in the world. (What happened to omniscience? Omnipotence? Omnipresent?)
The reality is, that is where God, in the man Christ Jesus, found disciples. The world. They weren’t called in church. They weren’t called in Synagogue. They were called on dusty roads and filthy stinky docks. In houses, probably from alley brothels, bars, and corrupt houses of government officials and workers.
The truth is;
GRACE is FREE
But the Law does not rest on or require faith [it has nothing to do with faith], but [instead, the Law] says, “He who practices them [the things prescribed by the Law] shall live by them [instead of faith].”Christ purchased our freedom andredeemed us from the curse of the Law and its condemnation by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs [crucified] on a tree (cross)” ~ Galatians 3:12-13, AMP
GRACE is for ALL
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek. ~ Romans 1:16, AMP
GRACE is LIMITLESS
My little children (believers, dear ones), I am writing you these things so that you will not sin and violate God’s law. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate [who will intercede for us] with the Father: Jesus Christ the righteous [the upright, the just One, who conforms to the Father’s will in every way—purpose, thought, and action]. ~ 1 John 2:1, AMP