“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound …” These are the opening words of a song I expect every Christian knows. What better word for describing grace than “amazing”?
God’s grace, as I mentioned in last week’s article, is us “getting what we do NOT deserve” (emphasis mine).
God said to Adam and Eve in the Garden, thousands of years ago, that the price of sin was death. Someone had to pay that debt. It should be us. But God’s love is so immense, so profound and so complete that He paid our debt Himself. He came in the Person of Christ to live a sinless life here and to die that we might have everlasting life.
In no way do we deserve, or could we ever deserve, the price paid to cleanse us of our sin. Christ came to this earth to live and show us how to live. He also came to die for our sins. He willingly gave up His life for us.
God is just. He proclaimed that the punishment for sin was death. It had to happen. Mankind could not, cannot, live a sinless life. We inherited the sin nature from Adam and Eve. God’s grace is the only way we can be made right with God. In his message about the Holy Spirit on September 28th, Pastor Ron talked a little about three aspects of God’s Grace: Justifying Grace, Sanctifying Grace, and Prevenient Grace. (1 Corinthians 12).
Many years ago a favorite pastor of mine taught me about Justifying Grace. He said it is “just as if I had never sinned.” Just-if-y-ing. Grace that saves us. Paul wrote to the Early Church that we are saved by grace through faith. Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” To be saved is to be made just before God.
Sanctifying grace is the grace by which we grow in holiness and love of God. Prevenient grace is that which “comes before”. That aspect of grace is the drawing and calling of God to us to turn to Himself. It also has to do with the fact that He already paid our debt. It is His orchestration of events that bring us to that point of giving up ourselves and receiving His gift of salvation.
The “beloved disciple” John wrote these words, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 ‘Propitiation’ comes from the Latin word for ‘gracious’. Thereby we can see the essence of our word for today – GRACE.
I could go on for hours with this subject, but will close with this. Without knowing whom to credit the words, I share this quote which has long been used in songs and sermons: “We owed a debt we could not pay; Jesus paid a debt He did not owe.”
That, my friends, is grace. God’s Amazing Grace.