24th June 2012

Embrace The Grace

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV UK)

A few years ago, the Princeton Religion Research Centre publication Emerging Trends reported that 56 per cent of Americans, “with most describing themselves as Christians, say that when they think about their death, they worry ‘a great deal’ or ‘somewhat’ that they will ‘not be forgiven by God’.”

The touchstone of the Protestant Reformation was salvation by grace. Yet, the prevailing view among Christians today still seems to be that salvation depends on what we have done or not done. It is as though a great divine scale will weigh all our good deeds on one side and all our bad deeds on the other side, and our salvation will be determined by which side is the heavier. No wonder people are afraid!

But if we are indeed saved by grace—and the Bible says we are—then we can stop worrying, and instead begin to trust in the heavenly Father whom Jesus Christ revealed to us, who loves us so passionately that he will never let us go. We don’t have to worry about whether he will forgive us–he has already forgiven us:  “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” the Bible tells us in Romans 5:8.

We are judged righteous only because Jesus died for us and rose again. It doesn’t depend on the quality of our obedience. It doesn’t even depend on the quality of our faith. He has enough faith for all of us. All we have to do is believe him, to come to his banquet, to the place at his table that has already been set for us.

Jesus says: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:40).  That is God’s will for you. You don’t have to fear. You don’t have to worry. You can accept the gift of God.  And Jesus says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).

Grace, by definition, is undeserved. It is unearned. It is God’s free gift of love. It is given to every person who will accept it. God is our Redeemer, not our condemner. He is our Saviour, not our destroyer. He is our Friend, not our enemy. God is on our side.

That’s the message of the Bible. It’s the message of God’s grace. The Judge is on our side. He loves us. He is not out to get us. He is out to save us and bring us home. In fact, he has already done everything that needs to be done to make our salvation secure.

Why not ask God to give you the deep peace that comes from knowing you are eternally safe and forgiven in his almighty hands? He’s anxious to hear from you.

Holy Father, You ‘owned’ us even when we were your implacable enemies. Help us to avoid Peter’s agonising example, and always to acknowledge you, ‘own’ you, and show by example that we follow you. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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