Grace

Grace—a gift, a blessing, a touch from the hand of God—it is no wonder we deem it “amazing.”

Three “Angels”
Actually there are three angels in our lives, sisters of the Spirit who selflessly attend to us: Grace, Mercy, and Peace. They are quiet, these sisters, but quite thorough in their ministries, blessing us with God’s favor, forgiveness and fortitude.

Grace surrounds us, precedes us, follows after us, supports us, and covers us. Commonly defined as the “unmerited favor” of God, grace is a fact of our lives, so prevalent it is easy to lose our appreciation of it. Think of it—God, who is no respecter of persons, favors us! How He can do this is a mystery of His being. He is totally fair with all of mankind, yet some of us move about in a constant rain of grace, soaked by His favor. How can such a thing be?

Jesus is the answer.

Like John the Baptist’s testimony of Jesus, His own statements concerning His mission on this earth are grand and all inclusive:

  • John: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29-30)
  • Jesus: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
  • 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. (John 3:16)

But there is a condition.
The grace of God is available to all the world, but some do not receive Him.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:10-13

Mysteries surround the dispensation of God’s grace in the world. Jesus told those who received Him to go into the whole world with the story of His grace.

  • Jesus: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
  • Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-17)

For those who have received Jesus and His grace, there remains a danger: We can be tempted to presume upon His grace rather than simply walking in it. There is a vast territory between trusting God and tempting God, between pursuing God’s grace and presuming upon it.

  • Pursuing God’s grace is a process of relationship—presuming upon it is self-centered arrogance.
  • Trusting God in everyday things pleases Him greatly; tempting Him in anything is strictly forbidden.
  • Trusting is humility in action, presuming is pride on display.

God resists—opposes!—the proud but gives Grace to the humble. There is a vast territory between God’s resistance and His help.

Today, if we will humble ourselves before the Lord, He will be drawn to us. He will help us—surround us, precede us, follow after us, support us, and cover us with Grace. We will hear our three sister-angels singing of God’s mercy, His peace, and His amazing grace.

Scriptures:
John 1:12-18; 10
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known…to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Titus 2:11
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
Romans 3:22-25
There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
James 4:6
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Hebrews 4:16-5:1
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Matthew 4:7 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'”

Prayer:
Confession of Mercy and Blessing
Psalm 90:13-91:1 NLT (From The Book of Daily Prayer adapted SRP)
Lord Jesus, You come to me in mercy; Your love is my portion today. As this day begins, I feast on Your truth and presence and I will joyfully sing throughout the day and night of Your unfailing love. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us see Your miracles again; let our children see Your glory at work. And, Lord, show us Your approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!

Song:
Amazing Grace
Words: Isaac Newton; Music: Traditional

1. Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

2. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

3. Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me on.

4. When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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