Our Journey Online - September 6, 2013

Why Is Grace Amazing?

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. –Ephesians 2:4-9

Every follower of Christ should have an understanding of the word grace on the tip of their tongue. Grace is the atmosphere in which our relationship with God lives. The followers of Jesus Christ have been singing about and reveling in the truth of God's grace for two thousand years. This is one of the crown jewels of Christianity.

Do you know what grace is? Can you say you have experienced God’s grace? The apostle Paul was so excited about telling the Ephesians about grace that he snuck in a hint (see verse 5) before he arrived at his great declaration: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Taken by itself, this verse 8 speaks volumes. The first phrase tells you your salvation is accomplished by God’s grace applied through faith. You know the grace is God’s because the verse 7 identifies the source.

“This” and “it” in the next two phrases can refer back to faith. So they could read, “And faith is not your own doing; faith is the gift of God,” but the results would be too limited. This entire passage is about God’s grace, not our faith. It makes more sense and gives God more glory to see “this” and “it” as referring back to the whole process of salvation. Then the phrases could read, “And your salvation by grace through faith is not your own doing; your salvation by grace through faith is the gift of God.”

Yes, we all have a God-given measure of faith (Romans 12:3), but what saves us is the work God’s grace accomplished in Jesus Christ. No matter how big or small our faith, it could not be effective if God wasn’t graciously willing to save us. We are saved by grace. That’s why it’s amazing.

The last two phrases drive home the point: not a result of works, so that no one may boast. If it’s all God's work by God’s grace, there’s no room to claim we contributed anything to our salvation. Grace saving us through faith means we stop working to try to save ourselves! 

Grace is unmerited favor. Why is the fact that it is undeserved important? If you had to earn it, you could lose it—or more likely, you would never get it in the first place. If somehow you received salvation because of what you did, it wouldn’t be grace. It would be wages or reward. From beginning to end, salvation is unmerited favor.

Whether you have been living in victory or defeat, God has set His love upon you and His grace keeps you there. It is in no way a result of your performance, your attitude, your victories, or your defeats.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). It’s the atmosphere of grace that allows us to persevere. We fall. We get up. We fall. We get up. Why do we get up again? Because of grace, the amazing gift of God.

Journal

  • If you had to describe your own experience of God’s grace, where would you start?
  • Finish this sentence: I know God’s grace is amazing because…

Pray

Father, Your grace is amazing to me because the more I understand what You have done for me apart from anything I could have ever done, the more I am convinced of my own helplessness. Thank You that though I was lost, You came and found me. I was sold into sin but You bought me back. I was a determined rebel, but You won me over. This was all You. I’m looking forward to an eternity of appreciating just how amazing Your grace has been toward me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.
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