by Patricia Ouellette
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Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
It is by grace that we find favour, kindness and friendship. It is by grace that we are given mercy and forgiveness. It is by grace that we are given gifts and blessings. It is by grace that we are loved and nurtured by God. It is by grace that we are saved.
So what is grace? Is it a mythical fallacy? Is it a word that says a lot and means nothing? No it is a state of mind, a gift, a life saving; live changing state of being. What are we without grace? Simple we are nothing. With grace comes love, hope, charity and faith. Each of these depends on the other and you can’t have one without the other.
To give grace to another you need to have love for them in some form. Otherwise it is not a gift of grace. God has grace and gives grace to us because He first loved us. Grace is a thing of beauty and elegance. It is a sense of propriety and consideration for others. Whether we want to admit it or not love does come into it in some form or shape.
By the grace of God, He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) for us; so that we could be forgiven of all our wrongs. By grace God sanctifies us and saves us. In doing this we are born again into Christianity. Without the grace of God we could not be saved, we could not be born again.
‘As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.’
Even though this passage was written some 2000 years ago and translated from Greek to English a multitude of times it is all very relevant to today’s living standards for most of us. We are all sinners, whether we wish to admit it or not, let’s face facts we are. Even in the worldly sense we are sinners. But the world is slow or reluctant to forgive, but God is never reluctant nor slow to forgive those who truly repent. That is His Grace, His love for us. The world knows grace, but doesn’t seem to understand the true concept behind it. It is because of the world’s lack of understanding that it has a hard time with forgiveness. Instead it lets hatred and bitterness destroy the peace within the people. With grace there is no hatred or bitterness, because if we are in Christ we have the faith and the will to forgive even when it is the hardest thing to do. We do forgive by faith and with grace. Forgiveness sets us free. Therefore it is by grace that we are set free, by God’s grace.
‘And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’
You can see those who are in God and those who are in the world. Those in the world will boast of their good deeds; that is not by grace. As it says in Ephesians 6:6-10, grace is a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. A good Christian will do deeds by grace and stay silent and thankful that God allowed them the good grace to be able to perform such good deeds. They don’t need to boast and brag of all the good deeds that they have done, because they were done in God’s name and not for their own gratification. You don’t need to help others for rewards or for ego boosting pride. That would be helping others for your own gratification. Helping others out of love and kindness is a gift and should be done out of love and kindness for God’s glory not our own. That is when you will be rewarded, but you will never see a reward if you are out to gratify yourself alone.
2 Corinthians 8:7
‘But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving.’
When you give something to someone, do you expect something in return? If you say something nice to someone, or compliment someone, do you expect something similar in return? If you love someone, do you expect to be loved in return? We all fall in these things from time to time. Let’s face it we are human and not perfect. But if in whatever we do or say to someone else we expect something in return, then it is not done with grace, but for a selfish need for repayment. God wants us to give for the love of giving. He wants us to give not because it is the right thing to do, or for what we may gain in return, but for the love of one another. 2 Corinthians 8:7 says ‘see that you also excel in this grace of giving.’ It does not say ‘see that you also excel in this grace of receiving’. Jesus told us in the Word that it is better to give than to receive.
‘Lord Jesus himself said: `It is more blessed to give than to receive.'
And that is the key to grace; to give freely without expecting to receive anything in return.
Read the words of the hymn Amazing Grace, which is enjoyed by Christians and non-Christian’s alike, it was written by a man named John Newton. He was the son of a sea captain and became a servant to a slave trader in the 1700’s. Through this part of his life he was beaten and whipped, eventually saved by an old friend of his fathers. He was raised as a young boy with a Christian background with his mother’s teachings, yet after she died (when he was very young) he left his Christian teachings behind. When he was a sea captain himself and struggling to get his ship through a storm he prayed for God’s mercy. In this one act of prayer John Newton realized the power of God’s grace and lived to testify to it. It was from these experiences that he came into the light of Jesus and was saved. It was his life story that made up the lyrics to Amazing Grace. On reading the words you will more than likely see that they are still very relevant to today and for our own salvation, by God’s wonderful and awesome GRACE.
Lyrics By John Newton (Circa 1760-1770)
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine
1: a state of sanctification by God [syn: state of grace]
2: elegance and beauty of movement or expression [syn: gracility]
3: a sense of propriety and consideration for others [syn: seemliness] [ant: unseemliness]
4: a disposition to kindness and compassion; benign good will: "the victor's grace in treating the vanquished" [syn: good will, goodwill]
5: a short prayer of thanks before a meal [syn: blessing, thanksgiving]
6: free and unmerited favour or beneficence of God: "there but for the grace of God go I"
1: make more attractive by adding ornament, colour, etc.; "Decorate the room for the party"; "beautify yourself for the special day" [syn: decorate, adorn, ornament, embellish, beautify]
2: be beautiful to look at; "Flowers adorned the tables everywhere" [syn: deck, adorn, decorate, embellish, beautify]
3: confer honour on [syn: honour, favour]
(1.) Of form or person (Prov. 1:9; 3:22; Ps. 45:2).
(2.) Favour, kindness,
friendship (Gen. 6:8; 18:3; 19:19; 2 Tim. 1:9).
(3.) God's forgiving mercy
(Rom. 11:6; Eph. 2:5).
(4.) The gospel as distinguished from the law (John
1:17; Rom. 6:14; 1 Pet. 5:12).
(5.) Gifts freely bestowed by God; as miracles,
prophecy, tongues (Rom. 15:15; 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 3:8).
(6.) Christian virtues
(2 Cor. 8:7; 2 Pet. 3:18).
(7.) The glory hereafter to be revealed (1 Pet.
Source: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Source: John Newton story http://www.flash.net/~gaylon/jnewton.htm
The Word of God from the New International Version Holy Bible
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