When it comes to the subject of grace, I imagine that we really don’t need is another discussion of what grace is and how we benefit from grace. While there is always more to learn regarding any biblical subject, I’m convinced our best means of learning beyond the basics is through living out and living into the truths we already know. When it comes to the subject of God’s grace, this seems to be especially apropos.
So, how would you respond to someone who asked, “How has God’s grace made a difference in the way you live your life?” That’s really the core issue, isn’t it?
Perhaps we should think about how we would complete the following statement: Because God’s grace reaches me…?
A couple of key passages give us insight into this topic. As you think about your response, reflect on these verses:
1) Ephesians 2:1-10, especially verses 8-10. Here we read: “8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
2) Titus 3:1-8, especially verses 3-8. Here we read: “3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
When I think about the impact of these truths on my life, one thought keeps coming to my mind. It is this: Because God’s grace reaches me everything has changed!
There are additional thoughts—more specific observations, to be sure. Still this one phrase seems to sum up the impact of God’s grace: Because God’s grace reaches each of us, our lives are radically changed.
…Though we were once dead in our transgressions and sins, now we are alive with Christ!
…Though we were once objects of God’s wrath we are now the workmanship of God!
…Though we were once foolishly enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures, we have now been justified by God’s grace.
Now, when I think about God’s grace in a broader context, some additional observations come to mind. These are…
(1) Because God’s grace reaches me, I have a new attitude towards God—Psalm 103:1-22…
1Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul.
(2) Because God’s grace reaches me, I have a new attitude towards self—Galatians 2:20…
20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(3) Because God’s grace reaches me, I have a new attitude towards service—1 Peter 4:10-11…
10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
(4) Because God’s grace reaches me, I have a new attitude towards others—Ephesians 4:20-32…
20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
(5) Because God’s grace reaches me, I have a new attitude towards adversity—Romans 5:1-5…
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Well, there are scores of additional things I could list, but these should be sufficient to cause us to spend a few minutes appreciating God for His grace and reflecting on our lives under this grace. Perhaps it would also be good for each of us to consider these two questions:
(1) Has God’s grace impacted my life in the way God wishes it to?
(2) Has it changed everything?