Sunday, February 12, 2012

Looking For Some Grace

During a run last week, I did what I always do. I memorized a Bible text.  The verse I memorized was Colossians 2:2-3 which says, “My goal for them is that they be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding so that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” I don’t want to brag, but I wrote that from memory.

The Reward for Running Early
So I was repeating the verse over and over as I ran and suddenly it occurred to me that, of course, we can’t understand the mystery of God without love, because God is all about love.

A lot happened in the world last week, most of it sad. I didn’t see love represented much at all.  And it’s got me thinking about Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? If you haven’t read it, please do. The world could sure use some more grace filled people.

The Greek word for grace is charis, which means unmerited favor or undeserved favor. As an example, grace is something a wife might give her husband if he accidentally washes the new sweater he received for Christmas – shrinking it to newborn size – after wearing it only once. Just as a random example. . .

The Bible tells us that Jesus was full of grace, and came to give us what we do not deserve. “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

So if God gave us what we don’t deserve, why is it so hard for us to give someone else what they don’t deserved?

We know that we are all recipients of that undeserved favor. “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” John 1:16

Grace is something none of us deserve or can earn. “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

Philip Yancey says, “Grace is Christianity’s best gift to the world, a spiritual nova in our midst exerting a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate.”

Could we just stop for a minute and think about that.  Grace is stronger than hate. God's grace is stronger than hate. Let it sink into our minds, make its way to our hearts until it comes out of us in an active way that benefits others.

Yancey also says, “If grace is so amazing, why don’t Christians show more of it?”

Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes so that I may see the wonderful truths in your law.” That’s another verse I memorized on a cold winter run.

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