Monday, March 8, 2010

God's Grace

By Hayley Boud

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, not of yourselves but a gift from God. Not as a result of works lest any should boast for we are created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”Eph 2:8-10
Grace as defined by the dictionary is the love and kindness God gives to people.

Grace is something we get without deserving it. We all make mistakes and at times we can mess things up but God is always without mistake and always holy. Because he is so pure and without sin and because we sin often....we don’t deserve to get anything from God at all. We don’t do anything that is more amazing than what God can do and therefore we don’t do anything that deserves His love, we don’t do anything that deserves His forgiveness or His presence or His help. We don’t do anything special and we make the same mistakes time and time again and yet He still loves us and forgives us and perseveres with us.

If my friend makes the same mistake day after day...I get tired. After a while I will decide not to be her friend anymore. But God never gives up on us and this is God’s grace. The fact that He loves us while we don’t deserve it and continues to love us.

According to the Greek dictionary the meaning of grace is a favour done without expectation of return. God loves us and He doesn’t have a motive behind it.

God doesn’t love us so He can gain something but He loves us simply because of His grace. I might be your friend so I can use your swimming pool (for example) but for God, He is our friend because He loves us and this is grace because He doesn’t expect anything in return. Even if I don’t love God back...He will still love me.

We can show other’s this same kind of grace also in our behaviour. We can show others that we love them even when they don’t deserve it. We can forgive them when they aren’t sorry. We can give them our time, our prayers, our money, our support etc to people who may not appreciate it, or don’t understand our effort, or don’t love us back, or don’t say thank you or give us the encouragement that we need. We can give our love through our actions to others even when they may not have the means to repay us. We can our love give to others through our actions even when they don’t have anything of interest for us.

We can continue to love others even when they make the same mistakes time and time again. We can continue to forgive them and forget even when they continue to hurt us or disappoint us. We can continue to show kindness even when they are rude to us. We do this because this is grace and we were saved through this kind of grace. When we show grace to others...there is an opportunity for them to be saved. When they see that we continue to love them, respect them, keep peace with them...when they see this love... they will see God’s grace in us and this will save their souls.

The best and easiest way to love someone continually is to love their soul. We have to look past the outward and look deeper.

According to some theologians, God’s grace is “the will of God being fulfilled in our lives”

This means that God has a plan for us. His grace is when that plan or that intention that He has for us is being achieved.

So if I’m’s God’s grace because through that sickness His plan for me to become more compassionate, to be able to spend more time with Him, to be able to have more time meditating on the Word of God when I take my rests and more time to pray or think of others. Being sick has made me care more about others when I see them sick or with problems which has made me pray more sincerely. This is God’s will for my become a new and better person and so His will is being fulfilled through the sickness which means it’s God’s grace that I have been sick.

Whatever situation I am in....I can praise God and know it’s because of His grace. Also, we can always remember that God’s grace is there for us because we have eyes that see, ears that hear, hands and legs and we are not living on the street eating out of rubbish cans.

So whatever we do have, we have to thank God for that and remember that it is only by God’s grace. If I have something that other’s don’t, I don’t have to think it’s because I’m so clever, or because I work harder or I’m’s only because of God’s grace.

Some people are extremely clever but they can’t find a job. Some are extremely beautiful but can’t find a husband. Some are very hard workers but can’t find enough money. Some are untalented and yet they become rich and famous. Sometimes we can see people who are not very intelligent and yet they have very good jobs. So it’s only by God’s grace if you have something and it’s very important to remember that so we don’t judge others, so we don’t lift ourselves up.

It’s also important to remember that so we don’t get discouraged. If I don’t have what I need, or if I see other people with things that I don’t’s God’s grace because He knows better our needs than we do. If I believe being rich will make me happy – God knows better than me, if that is true or not. He also knows the right time to bless us. He cares more about our souls than our physical bodies because the soul is eternal and He cares more about what will make us grow and become better people.

So...if you are facing a difficulty...just remember it’s God’s grace because through that He is teaching you something and moulding you into a better person. If you have more than others...just remember it is God’s grace and not because you are better than others. If you have less than others...remember the things you do have and praise God for that (focus more on what you do have) and remember that God’s grace means He will bless you at the right time and He knows what will be a good blessing for your soul.

Remember God has a plan for your life and everything that He does is done for the good of your soul.

According to the dictionary it means to help somebody to avoid harm. To make it possible for someone to avoid danger, injury etc. So when God is telling us that it is by God’s grace we are saved...we have to understand that He is helping us to avoid a danger or avoid some kind of injury or harm. So what is this danger?

According to the Greek dictionary, the Greek Word for “save” is Sõzõ, which means salvation in regard to:

1. Physical Salvation.

Being saved from a temporary danger or physical suffering

E.g. when the disciples were on the boat and they thought they were going to drown and they yelled out, “save us Lord”. Mat 8:25. It can relate to sickness, financial struggles, relationship problems; any problem that needs a solution. When we cry out to God and ask Him to save us from that situation.

2. Spiritual Salvation

Being saved from an eternal danger and spiritual suffering.

Praise God because we have been saved from hell. That is eternal suffering and it is only by God’s grace that we have been saved from such a danger.

This should make us feel extremely happy for our own soul but it should also make us feel extremely afraid for our friends and family who are still in danger. We have the chance to help others to avoid danger. We must make the effort. When I walk, sometimes I see glass on the footpath and because I’m afraid a child will stand on it, I pick up the glass and I put it in the bin because I care about the child’s physical well being. How much more should I care about people’s spiritual well being?

3. Sin

By God’s grace we can overcome our sin. We can be delivered from temptation. God’s grace is more powerful than satan.

When we are tempted to become angry, or to gossip, or talk rudely or whatever our temptation is...we can remember that God’s grace is enough:

According to 1 Cor 10:13 no temptation has overtaken you that is different to what other’s are tempted by and God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able but with that temptation He will provide a way of escape so that you may be able to endure it.

Whatever temptation we are facing, we have to remember that God has promised to make a way out so all we have to do is look for the way out and take that direction. If my temptation is smoking then I have to look for the way that God has given me to escape the temptation. It might be praying, it might be going for a walk, it might be talking to someone.

If my temptation is to get angry, I have to look for the escape God has provided. It might be holding my tongue, it might be walking away, it might be praying, it might be going for a walk, it might be breathing techniques.

Whatever my temptation is, I have to look for the escape God has provided and take it. This is how God is saving us on a daily basis by helping us to avoid danger (avoid sin).

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