Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 3 of “Compelled – Living the Value of Visible Grace” (LISTEN HERE).
Grace is a word that we use often in our Christian faith.
Grace is a hard word to fully define or grasp.
Grace is spoken of as “undeserved love.” The letters of GRACE have been used to say, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” I am not going to quarrel with these helpful phrases.
However, grace seems more than that – especially the grace that God shows to us. The term grace has a root that means “joy or rejoicing.” Sometimes the word “gift” is also used for this term. At the heart is the heart of God that leads to the action of God on behalf of the people of God.
Perhaps a definition of grace is this, “A gift of God’s divine favor.” The result of this gift? Certainly a reason for rejoicing.
So what happens when God gives us the gift of his grace?
Romans 5:15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
Romans 3:23 There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Grace changes our status before God.
Justification changes our status from sinner to saint. What do I mean?
The “gift brought justification” or “we are justified freely by his grace.”
If you picture a courtroom setting with God the Father as the judge. We are the defendant and the prosecutor is the Accuser himself, Satan. With our lives marked out before the standard of perfection, the case seems clear cut that we as the defendant have “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” In fact, if there were a jury present, the evidence is so clear and the defense so limited, that without much if any deliberation the jury would declare us “guilty.” The Judge wouldn’t need the consensus of the jury, but he too when examining the account of our life would readily find us guilty and meet out the proper punishment for anyone who is a sinner, “Depart from me.”
However, before the judgment is handed down, Jesus Christ steps before the Father as our intercessor and pleads our case. He asks that his perfect life be considered in place of our imperfect life. He asks that the punishment that our sins deserved would be laid on him and that he would sit in our place as a sinner and be treated as such so that we might be declared not guilty and be set free.
The Judge accepts the deal Jesus presents and declares Jesus guilty and declares us not guilty…a binding decision that secures our status as saints before God.
This decision by the Father is the gift of divine favor that gives us great joy. How do you think you would feel leaving a courtroom where the guilty verdict was inevitable and instead you were declared not guilty? You get to leave with confidence and full belief in your heart that you stand right before a holy, righteous God because of his grace shown to you through Jesus Christ.
This message for many of your readers is not new, but I want to have you focus on this gift of grace and how God in Christ treated you. It is the ONLY way and the ONLY starting point from which we can show grace to others. We can only give away what we have been given. And the reason we have been given grace is not just for us, but to give away to others.
Apply: Take a moment to mentally or physically make a list of all the reasons God would have to condemn you and declare you guilty of sin. Then visualize or mark a cross on your paper and write with big letters, “NOT GUILTY.” How does it feel to be the recipient of God’s amazing grace?
1 By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless;
my soul, believe and doubt it not.
Why stagger at this word of promise?
Has Scripture ever falsehood taught?
No; then this word must true remain:
by grace you too shall heav’n obtain.
3 By grace God’s Son, our only Savior,
came down to earth to bear our sin.
Was it because of your own merit
that Jesus died your soul to win?
No, it was grace, and grace alone,
that brought him from his heav’nly throne.
6 By grace! On this I’ll rest when dying;
in Jesus’ promise I rejoice;
for though I know my heart’s condition,
I also know my Savior’s voice.
My heart is glad, all grief has flown,
since I am saved by grace alone.