12th August 2017

Rescued by Grace 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Ephesians 2:8 (NIVUK)

Grace Darling’s father was the main lighthouse keeper of the Longstone lighthouse on the Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland, UK. During a massive storm, Grace, looking out from an upstairs window of the lighthouse on the 7th September 1838, spotted a wrecked ship on a rocky outcrop nearly a mile away. The ship had broken in half and the stern section had already sunk. Grace’s father decided he needed to try and rescue any survivors. He, together with Grace, took a rowing boat, and between them they managed to rescue nine survivors from the stormy seas. When news of her bravery became public knowledge she became a national heroine, and Grace and her father were awarded the Silver Medal for bravery by the Royal National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, later re-named as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The Grace Darling story is about two individuals who rescued several of their fellow human beings who were in dire need of help. But this is not the only narrative about grace. One of the main themes of the Bible is how God has rescued the whole of humanity from the shipwreck of their spiritual condition through grace and how, by grace, he helps Christians to weather the storms that periodically pass through their physical lives.

Today the story of Grace Darling has largely faded from public perception and for some Christians, the theme of biblical grace has also faded or been superseded by a different narrative. The author of the letter to the Hebrews warns against this approach. “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so” (Hebrews 13:9).

Christian hearts are strengthened by grace, by knowing and experiencing the love of God and all that he has done for us through Jesus Christ. All too often reliance on grace is superseded by a performance-based approach to Christian life. Grace is not something we leave behind once we decide to follow Jesus; grace is our present and future need as well as our past experience. The core of Christianity is the same as the Apostle Peter attested at the beginning of the Christian era, “we believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved” (Acts 15:11). And the aim of the church is still the same as that expressed by the Apostle Paul, who stated, “my only aim is to…complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).

Prayer
Father, we thank you for your love and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that gives everyone the opportunity to be saved through grace.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh

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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion, Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

Summer Educational Programme
Today is the last day of S.E.P., a two-week summer activity camp that takes place on the bank of Loch Lomond, Scotland. It is sponsored and run by the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International. The camp is Christian in ethos but accepts campers from all denominations and faiths. For more information about S.E.P. visit www.sepuk.org

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.