Sunday, November 13, 2011

Amazing Grace

Grace.  More specifically God's grace.  As believers we talk about it a lot, frequently defining it as God's unmerited favor towards us.  And indeed it is.  It is by God's grace that we are saved, and not by anything we can do (Ephesians 2:8).  God's grace has dealt with our sin and we now have a future with him.  It is unfortunate however that we often leave it there.

If you break out your concordance and look up the word grace you will find it used in some interesting ways.  
  • In Acts 4:33 God's grace was working powerfully among the Apostles.  His favor went beyond salvation and was involved in the service they rendered to God.  His grace enabled them to grow the church in spite of any opposition they faced.
  • In Romans 12:6, Ephesians 4:7-13 and 1 Peter 4:10 God's grace is given to each of us in the form of gifts, or the abilities to act in ways that would build up the body of Christ.  Here grace also extends beyond salvation and into our life of service to him.  Grace includes being equipped for service and being an active part of the body of Christ.
  • In 2 Corinthians 12:9 God's grace is sufficient for Paul's weaknesses.  Grace channels God's power into the life of the one who is open to it.  God's grace saved me, equips me and also empowers me for service.
  • In 2 Timothy 1:9 we see that God's grace not only was the instrument of our salvation, it is also a call to a holy life.  A holy life is one that is set apart from the world and devoted to God.  I cannot be holy and continue as a part of the world.  God's grace calls me to leave the world behind.

Notice that these, and other passages as well, all refer to grace as something other than just God choosing to save us.  Grace impacts everything that God is doing toward us; it is like a secret weapon that God has aimed at us, although for our good rather than harm.  God chose to save us for a life of holiness and service.  Grace calls for me to be a disciple, serving and giving myself to the master.  Look back at the passage in Ephesians that we started with.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV
We are saved by grace - that's the part we like.  But we are also created in Christ Jesus (saved) to accomplish the work that God has prepared for us to do - and that part is kind of scary.  We are saved by grace to be disciples.  And not disciples in name only, but disciples who rely on God's grace to follow their Lord wherever he leads and are faithful to the task that he has given us.  Disciples don't give the master advice on the best use of themselves, nor do they only follow when it is convenient.  

When Jesus called the twelve to be his first disciples they were not called to follow one day a week or in their spare time.  They were called to leave their nets and tax booth behind and follow him.  Could it be that his grace calls us to do the same?  Our call may not involve physically leaving our jobs and homes behind, but it does call for us to be full time disciples, serving him on the job, at home and in the world around us.  Oh, at the end of this life, to hear the master say, "Well done, good and faithful servant".

2 comments:

  1. Sorry about hijacking your topic for now, but i want to commend you on your AvC article:

    http://bit.ly/smCUb4

    ReplyDelete
  2. And the answer to

    http://groups.google.com/group/atheism-vs-christianity/msg/1a0835d384dffe8e?hl=en

    is YES. You only have a few decades/years. Make the most of your goodness for your progeny, which means waste less time

    ReplyDelete