We hear about God's grace and we hear that we should extend grace to others. Are these two things mutually exclusive, or one and the same?
Just what is grace, anyway?
Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve. Because we are all steeped in sin, and the penalty for sin is death, according to the Bible, we all deserve death and hell. But because God loved us, He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the atoning sacrifice for us. Jesus took all our sins upon Him on the cross so that we could be free from sin, if we believe and call upon the name of Jesus. If we accept the gift of grace that God gave us in Jesus' atoning death and sin-shattering Resurrection, we will be free from sin.
God's grace has absolutely nothing with being "a good person," being "spiritual" or religious. It has nothing to do with going to church even. There are millions of people in churches who answer a bunch of Confirmation questions who die and go to hell...why? Because they answered questions instead of asking for forgiveness from Jesus and repenting of their sins.
Romans 3:22-24 states, "
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care." Christian missionaries, teachers and preachers know that the foundation they lay with others may be built up by someone else. They know the seeds of faith they plant may sprout and grow into plants that are harvested by someone else that leads someone to Christ.
"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God," states 2 Corinthians 4:15. We should rejoice when we hear of someone coming to know Jesus as Savior and glorify God in the process.
Grace also builds community in the Body of Christ. Christians all over the world are members of one family, a family in which God is the Father. We are children of the living God, and we serve a risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Acts 4:32-34 relates an incredible story of community: "
God's grace changes us. God's grace transforms us. It alters our speech, as Colossians 4:6 states, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
If we have accepted God's grace for our sins and live a life proclaiming God's grace for others, should we not share everyday grace for our families? What would happen to the divorce rate among Christians if our conversations were seasoned with salt, instead of with bitter vinegar? Instead of gossiping or complaining?
Instead of yelling?
We are to live lives that bring glory to God. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 says, "We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." How would it change our witness if we glorified Jesus in our conversations and actions?
You see, because God has wiped our sins away with the precious blood of Jesus, giving us life -- something we did not deserve -- God calls us to live a holy life. "He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time," 2 Timothy 1:9.
How much more fulfilling and meaningful our days would be if we lived holy lives? For no other reason except that God paid a most precious price -- His only Son -- to set us free from the burden of sin and shame. When we live like we did before we were saved, we turn our backs on the grace that God gave in saving us. We turn our backs on Christ.
It is because of grace that we can be confident in the relationship we have with God the Father because of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:16 states, "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Here's the thing the verse in Hebrews is saying: Because of Jesus Christ's atoning death, we are able to have a relationship with God, the Creator of the Universe, free of sin and shame. Because of this grace, we can pray to Him with confidence that we will receive mercy and grace in times of need. Not only that, He will provide the peace that passes all understanding as well.
Because of the grace of God, we can share this same grace every single day with those around us, to lead them into a forgiven life with Jesus Christ. It is because of God that we are able to grace others with God's peace and presence in our very actions and speech.
We as followers of Christ are to share everyday grace with those around us, to share with them Christ's love even as we are His hands and feet, serving them as though we are serving Christ. We are to forgive their trespasses against us and let them go, just as God as wiped clean our trespasses against Him.
Because of His great love for us,
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