I have one mantra for the Christian life – If we don’t have grace, we don’t have nothin’! Grace, grace, wonderful grace. God’s unmerited favor bestowed upon sinful undeserving man – that is grace.
What’s so amazing about grace? Philip Yancey, author of What’s So Amazing about Grace? simply states – “God loves people because of who God is, not because of who we are. Grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us.”
We don’t deserve it. We can’t earn it. Yet, incredibly it is the essential to our salvation:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Grace is not only essential to our salvation – it is essential in our witness. You see, grace makes our faith distinct, and grace makes our message unique. In short, grace makes all the difference.
For every other religion is based upon what man can do to earn God’s favor, appease His wrath, and get to paradise, heaven, nirvana, ect. A man-centered, works-oriented paradigm is the view of all religion except the true religion found in God’s Word – Jesus did it all on the cross.
All religions except Biblical faith are based upon human accomplishment – this do. Christianity is unique in that it’s based upon divine accomplishment – this happened. Yes, Jesus did it all on the cross. But there’s more! He also rose again on the third day conquering sin and death and making a way for helpless sinners be reconciled to a holy, righteous God.
And because of this wonderful truth, we now have access to God through the Son. Therefore ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 3:18).
In our witness, the expression of growing in grace ought to include the giving of grace to those who’ve not yet experienced His saving grace.
“To whom much is given much is expected” (Luke 12:48).
Are there people in your life who are lost and not ‘worth your time’? Perhaps they just rub you the wrong way. Maybe they don’t enhance your life. In fact they may the kind of person or people you would rather avoid and not have to deal with. Maybe they have a sullied reputation. Or it may be you just think them a ‘lost cause’.
Well they just may be the person or people God wants you engaging. They may not be worthy of your time, your energy or your love in your estimation– but God may be calling you to extend them grace, yes –God’s glorious grace!
Because people need the Lord. That’s why Jesus came – ‘to seek and to save that which was lost’ (Luke 19:10). For He did not call the righteous to repentance, but sinners (Mark 2:17). In fact, you and I are the result of Jesus reaching out to lost sinners with compassion and grace.
Jesus came to earth, full of grace and truth (John 1:14) and He extended God’s grace to people like:
• The Samaritan woman (John 4)
• Zaccheus, the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10)
• Prostitutes (Luke 7:34-50)
In fact, in Luke 7:34 Jesus is called a friend of sinners.
I have a friend that some people think difficult. He is very suspicious of Christians, seeing their hypocrisy and poor treatment of him as reasons to not trust in Christ, and will take opportunities to point out the failings of Christians. I’ve explained to him that it was people, not Jesus, who did those things. I’ve also shared with him that Jesus came to save hypocrites like me! People will fail us, Jesus will never fail us.
I’ve shared the gospel with my friend and seek to share God’s grace with him.
One day, he said to me, “Larry, you’re the first Christian I know that hasn’t asked me for money or stabbed me in the back!” I was discouraged by his perception of believers but encouraged that God had given me some favor in my friend’s eyes.
Now I don’t know if there is a Zaccheus or a Samaritan woman in your life. But I do know there are people in your sphere of influence who need a touch of God’s grace – people who need Jesus!
Let us strive to seek out God’s heart for the lost in our own lives, remembering God’s grace in our lives and extending that grace to others.
Now go, testifying to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). Amen.