What does the word grace make you think of? A girls name, perhaps? The quick prayer said before a meal, something your parents made you do? Grace is one of those things in Christianity that is often mentioned, but less often lived out and explained in our lives. Yet grace is one of the most important aspects of our lives as they are lived out under Christ, and grace must permeate every aspect our who we are, and must be an integral part of how we live our lives. Grace is the ultimate gift of God, the perfect expression of His love for us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:9 shows us that God has said to us, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Paul then follows this up with these words: ‘Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’
Take the time to read those words again, both the words of God and then Paul’s response to them. Isn’t it amazing? God’s grace, His forgiveness and His love for us is sufficient for us, it is all that we will ever need. John 1:16 says that we have received ‘grace upon grace’; not only have we received God’s grace, but we have received it so much more than we ever deserve. God pours out His grace upon us, even though we are the last people who deserve it. The dictionary defines grace as ‘the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners.’ And that’s exactly what God’s grace is. It is a completely free gift to us, and there is absolutely nothing that we can do to earn grace, deserve grace, make it bigger or longer lasting or more effective.
Grace should be what defines us. We should live our lives in the light of this most amazing gift from God. The righteousness that we have been given is not ours, it is God’s, and it is His gift to us. And this should be apparent in our lives. In everything we do, we should point towards God. Our lives, our actions, how we spend our time, our money, what we do and who we do it with should all be a reflection of God’s grace in our lives. We should constantly telling people about the amazing grace that has turned our lives around, this most wonderful gift that has made us free and given us salvation. And most of all, we should heed what God says to Paul, and Paul’ response.
God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Through our fallen state, through our rubbishness and our falling down, through our failing and our stumbling, God’s power is made perfect. It is here that God’s redeeming power is manifested – even though we are completely broken, God’s love and God’s salvation and God’s grace make us whole again, they repair us and they restore and redeem us. And how are we to respond to this, how do we live our lives in the light of this? Like Paul says, we are to boast to everyone about our weakness. Why? To give God the glory. Through grace, we can be honest before God and one another, knowing that God’s love is higher and more powerful than any of our failings. We should admit our failings, acknowledging that God loves us nonetheless and has restored us. And we should give all the glory to God, so that the ‘power of Christ may rest’ on us.
We should live in grace. We should live lives that are full of grace. We should show grace to those around us. And above all, we should worship and give glory to the God who has bestowed on us this most amazing gift, the gift of grace. After all, we are just screwed up beggars who have found the bread of life. We must always remember that.