What is Grace, Anyway?

Each year after resurrection day, I find myself with a desire to dive deeper into scripture and deeper into my understanding of Jesus and his teachings.  The fact is, the resurrection of Jesus isn’t just some cool thing that happened a long time ago; it’s so much more than that.  Jesus, and all he stands for, is the single most wonderful gift that God could have given to this world. God knows we are sinners; he knows this world is completely taken over by sin.   Thankfully, God loves us much more than he hates our sin. So wait - God has given us the greatest gift ever given, and we don’t have to do anything in return?  Well not exactly.  We are required to do something…we have to believe. (John 3:16)

God in his infinite wisdom did a truly amazing thing by raising Jesus from the Dead.  Yes, we know that witnessing someone die, yet also witnessing them walking, talking, and breathing as if that death never happened, is AMAZING.  But I’m not talking about that. Because God knows our nature, and he knows we like attention, we like to brag, and we like to be recognized for things, God made sure that no one would ever be able to take credit for what he did through Jesus.  When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, that was God giving us something that we never deserved in the first place…Grace.
Well what is grace, anyway? I have heard many definitions of grace, but the one I like the most defines grace as “unmerited, underserving favor of God.”  Grace is God giving us (blessing us) with things (favor) that we don’t deserve, didn’t earn, and can never repay. Because Jesus’ life is God’s grace personified, I personally think of Jesus first when I think of grace.  As I studied to prepare this piece, I was curious as to where “grace” first appeared in the Bible.  To my surprise, it wasn’t in the New Testament.  It wasn’t even later in the Old Testament.  It was in the first book of the bible…Genesis. God realized how wicked the world had become, and he knew that he planned to do something drastic to resolve the matter.  However, when God looked upon Noah, Noah found grace with the Lord. (Genesis 6:8) Fast forward to life with Jesus on the Earth, and God saw many of the same things.  So he gave the final atonement, the final sacrifice, His Son, so that generations now and forever would have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him…if we would believe.

If we’re honest, it’s hard to think of the grace of God without also acknowledging the mercy of God.  Believers in Christ Jesus know mercy to be God holding back from us what we truly deserve. After Paul became a Believer in Christ, he spent the remainder of his life teaching of Jesus and what it truly mans to believe in him.  Paul makes many references to grace in the New Testament, but there are two that truly stand out among them.  These two scriptures tell you two things 1) what you need to do to be saved from an eternity in hell, and 2) what being saved actually means (how God mandates being saved).  Romans 10:9-10 says this: “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”  THAT IS GOOD NEWS!!!!  Ephesians 2:8-9 says this:  “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so NONE OF US CAN BOAST ABOUT IT.” I absolutely love that.

If ever we question whether or not we are saved, we can follow the instructions of Romans 10:9-10.  If ever we try to take the credit for what God did, we can read Ephesians 2:8-9 to be reminded that: God is the author and finisher of it all and the very salvation that we live in each day, was given to us as a gift by Him. Because of the grace that God continues to show us all the days of our lives, we don’t have to worry about our future.  We can trust in God knowing that he and he alone holds this entire world together.  God is still our father; Jesus is still on the throne. When Jesus went back to heaven, he left the Holy spirit with us to comfort us always. (John 14:15-31)

There are many layers to the God given grace referenced in the Word, and multiple Bible verses to help us understand it all.  What I know for sure is this, God’s grace saved us. God’s grace is what continues to protect us from the enemy’s desire to destroy our lives. Most importantly, God’s grace is what moved him to send his Son to pay our sin debt, the most expensive debt known to man.  Thank you God for loving us. Thank you God for withholding what we deserve.  Thank you god, for your grace.

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