What IS Grace?

For the longest time, all it meant to me was a girl’s name. Around Bible people, you hear it a lot. Grace has different meanings, but the one I want to write about is the grace of God. It is by God’s grace–the goodness of God, that we can be made right with Him and allowed to spend eternity with Him in Heaven, rather than without Him in Hell.
This grace is a gift from God! Jesus on earth was the hands and feet of God’s grace. This grace makes all the difference in our lives for today and for eternity. Grace is an expression of God’s love. Grace is kindness from God. Yes, He is a holy, righteous, and powerful God. He and His name are not to be profaned. But He is also a kind, loving, generous, and patient God that did not kick me to the curb when as a 13-year old I straight up told Him “No thanks, I don’t want it.” Eventually, I got this straight.

In the first century, the apostle Paul taught we are saved from eternal damnation “by grace through faith”, Ephesians 2:8. If grace is all that, we sure need to get it straight in our minds. This stuff is serious and can keep you out of Hell!

At our beginning in the Garden of Eden, man was built to be in a close relationship with God. Adam and Eve were literally walking with God. But, one wrong answer to a question from Hell turned the future of humanity. Had Eve and then Adam had the patience, the foresight–whatever, to bring that question to God for His clarification, we’d be in a totally different place today. (But we still can be! Praise God He sent us Jesus!!) Because Adam and Eve answered that question wrong, God put them out of the Garden, Genesis 3. Mankind has been trying to get back ever since. And our enemy from Hell continues to ask questions of us all. “Why is pornography a bad thing?” “Why not relax and get drunk?” “Don’t you deserve a more willing sexual partner?” “Why not put you first?”

Before grace, there was the Law, anchored by the Ten Commandments, and eventually over 600 more laws that Jewish people lived under. If you kept all these laws perfectly you would be righteous before God and be with Him for all eternity, Romans 2:7, but in Romans 3:10 we see “no one is righteous, not even one;”. This would have been an incredibly tough place to be; no surety of salvation or righteousness before God; no certainty of where one would spend eternity because no one can keep the Law perfectly.

So, if you were “good” enough, if you worked hard enough to do all the right things, always said the right words in the right way, and never slipped up your eternity would be with God. It can’t be done that way because we are living in a broken, fallen world where Satan is in charge and sin is abundant, Ephesians 2:2. No one is able to be good enough. We all came into this world with a sinful nature that we inherited from our original parents, Adam and Eve, Romans 5:12-14. Yet, by the grace of God, there is a way.

That way is Jesus. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18
In John 14:6 Jesus tells us “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8 “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith …”

By grace through faith–by God’s grace to you and me, through our faith in His Son, Jesus. Only through our faith in Jesus are we saved.

By God’s love, goodness, and kindness (grace), He gives us the gift of Heaven for our eternity, if we will accept this gift by believing and receiving (faith) Jesus as our Savior. That is salvation.

A lot comes with that but you don’t have to be perfect. What you do have to do is love God, and love your neighbor. Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter 22 the greatest commandment is found in verse 37, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” and in verse 39 the second greatest commandment is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Knowing about Jesus, who He is, and what He stands for is NOT enough–Satan knows these things; what matters is whether or not you truly love Jesus and obey His commands (which Satan is not going to do).

Jesus told us in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” The Bible is full of those commands. Many of them are how we are to be in a relationship with our spouses, our children, our family, coworkers, and all others we meet in life. As God has given us His grace, we are to give it to others. Grace is the grease of relationships–it makes them “run” better! Examples of grace-filled relationships are ones that have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

Please see https://longviewretreat.com/one-another/ for more information

There is more. When we “are saved” and receive Jesus as our Savior, He gives us His Holy Spirit to be with us right now! John 14:15-15:17. That gives you tremendous power to do all the things mentioned in the One Another blog (above).

How it all works https://longviewretreat.com/are-you-crucified-with-christ/