Today we look at the wonderful gift of grace. This is a subject of great depth. The focus for this study will be looking at our thoughts through the lens of grace.
Summary of what we will look at today:
- What does grace mean to you?
- Understanding grace through our eyes
- Why do we struggle with the truth?
- Why are we intent to live under guilt or working for God’s acceptance?
- It’s not about us
- God has released us
- Our view of grace has been tarnished by our thoughts
- Asking God to show us if we are living within the gift of grace
‘In the same way that sin reigned in the sphere of death,
now grace reigns through God’s restorative justice,
eclipsing death and leading to eternal life
through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord, the Liberating King.‘
Romans 5:21 The Voice
Before reading further, I invite you to place this to one side, pick up your journal and pen, and write down what grace means to you. They can be words associated with grace, or your definition.
Understanding grace through our eyes
We live in a world that does not embrace grace.
If you ask your friends and family whether you live a life of grace, what do you think their answer would be?
Are you living under the law as given through Moses, or by the grace and truth available through Jesus Christ (John 1:17)?
As soon as we give our lives to Jesus, we begin our journey of grasping a little more understanding of what grace is, and how we are, in truth, nestled safely in the grip of grace. As John 10:28 states, no one can steal us away from the safety of God’s hands. Nothing can touch us, as we are His! Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).
So why then do we constantly struggle with this truth?
We are all sinners and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) so we don’t deserve the gift of grace, but God loves us anyway. Ephesians 2:8-9 defines grace as a gift that is given to us that does not require any work associated with it! It isn’t a reward for good behaviour; it’s actually a free gift, because we will NEVER be good enough. If it was limited to a reward for righteousness, fully living as God intended before sin entered the world, not one of us would receive this gift. Only Jesus could pay the great cost.
Why are we intent to live under guilt, or feeling that we have to work for God’s acceptance?
Because God’s enemy is constantly finding ways to tell us this is how we should be. This free gift goes against the world’s ways.
- Surely, it can’t be true?
- I feel guilty, so must be guilty
- I can’t possibly be forgiven for what I have done
- I have to work to be accepted in the world, so I must need to work in order to be accepted by God
- I don’t feel worthy enough, so I will try and keep working at it to prove it to myself
- There must be a catch?
In not conforming to the world’s ways (the whole focus of the Be Transformed study), we have to look at the gift of grace and truth through the life and ministry of Jesus. How can we hope to serve, encourage, show love, if we ourselves are not living within the gift of grace? In Romans 12:6 Paul teaches that because of the grace that has been given to us, we must also show grace to others by the way we live. If we regard everything that has been given to us by the great gift of grace, our thoughts will be humbled before our God. Through God’s Sovereignty, we have been given grace, according to His perfect purposes.
I invite you to read Romans 3:21-26 – spend time journaling what this passage means to you and the gift of grace.
It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus – He is most worthy of praise.
Pause, to give thanks to our Redeemer.
God has already released us from the chains of sin, so why are our thoughts still chained to earth?
- If we have been rejected by those who are supposed to love us, how do we begin to grasp that God will never abandon us (Deuteronomy 31:8)?
- If we are trapped behind a wall of pain in our thoughts, there is a high probability that we will see God as someone punishing us.
- If we rely on seeing God through how our circumstances makes us feel, our thoughts will be pushed and pulled by the force of overwhelming waves of uncertainty, wondering if He will come through for us.
- If we are happy and things are going well, we are more likely to see God as a God of love and peace, wrapping us in His unfailing love.
But we know that God is unchanging, He remains the same forever (Psalm 102: 25-27)
As Jesus uttered the powerful words – ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30) grace was made available to us in abundance. We can’t rely on our feelings which tend to lead our thought patterns that unlike God, are ever changing. We have to hold God’s truth contained in His Word, deeply rooting it within our heart and mind. We have to stand on the Rock of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4), we have to trust in the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25).
Has our view of grace been tarnished by the way we see ourselves and our judgemental attitudes?
Grace is about moving that tall judgemental mirror away from our line of vision, and looking straight into the eyes of our Saviour.
When the world says we are nothing, we can’t be forgiven… we are so used to seeing our life through the lens of our thoughts (by how we see ourselves and how others have treated us), we have trouble seeing a clear vision of the truth, our Deliverer (Romans 11:26).
“We must learn to live on the heavenly side and look at things from above. To contemplate all things as God sees them, as Christ beholds them, overcomes sin, defies Satan, dissolves perplexities, lifts us above trials, separates us from the world and conquers fear of death.” A. B Simpson
The lens of how we see grace needs to change. We need to see it through God’s eyes. The only way we can gain a grain of understanding about the beauty of grace, is by getting to know Him through reading His Word and allowing His Spirit to transform us. To renew our minds and let His truth filter into our thought patterns, we need to keep our focus on Him, and accept this free gift when we least deserve it.
We are in the grip of grace, loved by our Redeemer and ultimate Healer. Nothing can separate us from His perfect love. So let us be a people of grace, worshiping our Saviour in our thoughts reflecting on His Majesty, sharing the same grace that we ourselves have been given, with others.
‘ For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory.
All glory to him forever! Amen‘
Romans 11:36 NLT
Spend time asking God if you are living within the gift of grace, and listen to what He has to share with you.
Please join me in prayer
Heavenly Father, words fail me when I think upon Your precious gift of grace. Your unfailing love surrounding me, the power of condemnation and death have been broken by what Jesus did for us. Help me to see grace through Your eyes. Whatever is holding me back from living fully within the gift of grace, please show me. Transform me, renew my mind. Help me walk in grace, sharing what You have done for me. May I see others through Your great love. May I be free from the chains of earth, rejoicing in my relationship with You. Where I feel unworthy, remind me it’s not about me, but about Your Son. Where doubts cover me, open my eyes to see Your glory. Protect me from the thoughts that turn my focus away from You. Thank You for the amazing gift of grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Through the newsletter today, you will receive a grace card and a PDF copy of this study for your records. If you would like to subscribe to the Be Transformed series, please add your details in the top right box on the side bar and choose from the options listed.
Linking up with: The importance of prayer