By Christopher L. Scott
As a Christian, there is something I often give to others but also need from them, too: Grace. Growing as a Christian leads to improved understanding of what Grace is and how to live it out, but how does the Bible describe grace and how do we live it out?
In grace, God punishes Jesus, not us. In Paul’s letter to the Romans he writes about grace, “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight [literally “declares us righteous”]. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,” (Romans 3:24–25, New Living Translation). It’s clear that God takes the initiative to provide grace to us. This is something he does for us, and it is not something we have caused. God was supposed to punish us. There was a death penalty that needed to be paid for our sins, and God chose Jesus to pay for our sins.
In grace, God puts the Holy Spirit in us and saves us. In his letter to Titus, Paul also talks about grace saying, “But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life,” (Titus 3:4–7). God takes the initiative to show grace. God took the initiative when he “revealed his kindness and love” and “saved us… because of his mercy” then “washed away our sins,” and gave “us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit” in which he “generously poured out the Spirit.”
This all was done because of his grace! In other words, God didn’t have to do any of that. In fact, we don’t deserve any of it. But God took the initiative to provide grace to us so that we can be saved. Paul says that God has “kindness,” “love,” and “mercy.” Isn’t it wonderful that God’s attributes show his love and grace towards us? Paul makes it clear that God “saved us not because of the righteous things we have done.” It is God’s undeserved kindness—his grace—that saves us.
If you are like me, you have many opportunities to practice grace. When other people make mistakes, say things that hurt you, or don’t fulfill their commitments to you, you have an opportunity to practice grace. When those opportunities come, extend grace. Show people love and appreciation even when they have made mistakes, hurt you, or let you down. Yes, it will be hard, and won’t be natural. But God has shown you grace, and you should show grace to others.
Christopher Scott is small groups pastor at Rocky Hill Community Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-730-1906.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.