Posted by: glorifyhim1 | April 8, 2013

What Grace Costs

As the Easter season comes to a close for another year, once again I am reminded of the completely unfathomable grace of God. I know that I, for one, have been guilty of sometimes cheapening God’s grace. In other words, I joyfully accept it and happily proclaim it. I sing about it and boast about it. But oh, so many times, I forget what grace actually costs.

It is true that grace is a gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 states: “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.” But it is also true that this grace wasn’t free. It cost Christ His very life. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

My sin cost Jesus His life. It cost Him pain and suffering beyond comprehension. Yet He willingly went through it all out of His inexplicable love for you and me. I’ve given up trying to explain how God’s love could demand such a sacrifice from His own Son and how the Son’s love could willingly surrender to that demand. I’ve read and heard theological explanations, some of which completely defy my understanding, as to why Jesus’ suffering and death became God’s chosen way for my salvation. Yet I do know, according to the Scriptures, that God’s plan for redemption originated before the foundation of the world (see 1 Peter 1:18-20). It wasn’t a reaction to something that man did that God didn’t know was going to happen. God knew and yet loved us so much that He made a way to redeem us before we were even born. He gave us a Savior before we ever knew we needed one. He gave us grace.

Many of you have probably seen the acronym for grace.

G – God’s

R – Riches

A – At

C – Christ’s

E – Expense

This is truly grace. When we accept what Christ did for us on the cross, we become children of God and actually heirs of God. Like any heir, we have full access to the riches of God. But herein is also another truth that I’m beginning to discover. As heir of the riches of God, I also become a bearer of God’s grace. Merriam-Webster defines grace as “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” And following this definition, “a virtue coming from God.” In other words, I receive grace and then I give grace. God’s grace flows through me to touch others.

Unfortunately, however, the grace that God shows to me doesn’t always flow as easily through me to others. You see, when I show grace to others, it costs me something, too. I have to let go of some of my thoughts, attitudes, and preconceived notions. Instead of evaluating everything according to what I think and the way things look to me, I must learn to see others through the eyes of Jesus. It is only as I give up my self-centered way of looking at things that I can become a conduit of God’s grace to others. Paul helps us see that a grace-filled life is the result of a Christ-filled life.

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:1-7)

So, what does a grace-filled life look like?

  • Instead of condemnation, there is forgiveness.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing” (Mark 11:25).

  • Instead of retaliation, there is mercy.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

  • Instead of strife and dissension, there is peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).

  • Instead of returning evil for evil, we seek to bless others.

“Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).

  • Instead of judging and condemning others, we pray for them.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:44).

Grace is not always the easy way, but it is always the best way. Through grace the love of God is demonstrated in unfathomable ways. In spite of what it may cost us personally, what it can accomplish in the lives of others is well worth the cost.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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