As we come away from Resurrection Day, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead after offering himself as a sacrifice for ALL of our sins, I must share my gratitude for – His Sufficient Grace. For ALL have sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23) – we are all in need of salvation which comes by His mercy (compassion and lovingkindness) and grace, and by the shed blood of Christ on the cross.
Webster defines Grace as: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification, approval, favor, mercy, pardon.
Wiki says: In Christian theology, grace has been defined as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it”, “the condescension or benevolence shown by God toward the human race”. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man – “generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved” – that takes the form of divine favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God.
And even deeper and better yet, the word in Hebrew is paralleled with several other ideas including: healing, help, being lifted up, finding refuge and protection, strength and salvation; to be rescued!
I met and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 6 years old. I spent my youth quite close to Him. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I really began to deviate from this relationship. I began to make poor decisions, and at some point I felt that I could never go back – that I had strayed so far that there was no point in even trying. Over the years I slowly drifted further and further away, trying to keep up appearances for those around me. I fought depression and isolation and eventually sunk deeply into alcohol and drug use and various other unsavory choices. I should have been dead many times over, but my God protected me despite myself. He showed me mercy even when I did not deserve it. I felt like I was too far to ever receive His Grace.
Finally, in early 2008 a perfect storm of circumstances caused me to hit bottom so hard that the only way to look was up. All I had to do was turn around and cry out – and there He was. He was there all the time. Restoration and rebuilding can take a long time, but when you call His Name, His Grace and Mercy come upon you in an instant, for you have finally stretched out your arms to accept what He has freely given.
You see, we all go through trials and difficulties in this life. That is just the human condition. We bring many of these upon ourselves, but others come from other people or circumstances beyond our control. God sees us through all trials, regardless of their origin – He extends His grace and mercy without regard to how or why we landed in our situation. He just wants us to turn to Him.
It seems to be hard for some people to grasp the simplicity of salvation. How could the Creator of the Universe so freely give His love? All I know is that He does, and that He extends that gift to ALL. No exceptions. He cried “It is Finished” from the cross, because He paid ALL our debt once and for all. Hallelujah!
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.
At my time of restoration and renewal, I latched on to some wonderful songs that encouraged me and built me up.
One was “Beauty of Grace” by Krystal Meyers (a song sung from God’s perspective):
Tell me why’d you run
You say you’re so ashamed
bruised and broken
Thought if I figured out
The mess you’ve made
That I’d leave
But anywhere you are
Is never too far away
There’s freedom from your scars
The mistakes that you’ve made
The memories erased
Baby, that’s the Beauty of Grace
Tell me what is love
I’ll never hold you to
The things you may have done
You say you want new life
In my arms, there’s mercy
Another, by the greatest selling Gospel group of all time, the Clark Sisters. (Do yourself a favor and download this one!)
“Blessed And Highly Favored”
He brought me through hard trials
He brought me through tribulations
Never let a day go by and not realize
Had not been for the Lord who was on my side
Back was against the wall
He looked out for me
He heard my cry and rescued me
Never let a day go by and not realize we are blessed
Don’t take it for granted that we are here today
Just know that we’re blessed and highly favored
Just know that we’re blessed and highly favored
As I look back through the years,
It’s amazing how He kept me.
What the devil meant for evil,
God turned it around,
Turned it around just for my good.
I know that I am blessed and highly favored.
Just know that we’re blessed and highly favored.
It coulda’ been me,
It shoulda’ been me,
It woulda’ been me if it wasn’t for the blood.
Not only does God extend grace to all of us by the power of the shed blood of Christ on the cross, but he also extends forgiveness and separates our sin from Him as far as the East is from the West. Since space is infinite, that means there is no ending point in the East or the West. So this means, as in the song “Beauty of Grace,” that He erases the memory of all that you have done. Think of all the times another human being has hurt you. Have you been able to forgive? Hopefully you extend the same grace to others as God has extended to you. But, if you are like me, you don’t easily forget that hurt. It can be hard to forgive others and yourself. And it is certainly almost impossible to forget. We harbor hurt feelings, and we condemn ourselves sometimes to the point of spiritual paralysis.
Imagine the kind of Grace that God is extending to you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been. He has offered atonement and covering for your sin through the Cross. All you have to do is accept it. You can never earn it – it is a GIFT. And not only has He offered this gift, but He has also promised that once you have repented of your sin, He will cast it off into infinity and beyond!
If you are waiting to “get things together” before you turn to the Lord, let me advise you that you will NEVER be ready because your efforts will always fall short. Cry out to Him and accept His gift of life. There is no greater thing than a relationship with the One who created you just as you are. He knows everything about you and loves you unconditionally anyway.
And that’s the Beauty of Grace.
Psalm 103:1-12 NIV
Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.