Grace is given, not earned - 09/29/19
The Big Idea
Grace is given, not earned.
If you love and believe in Jesus and what He has done, you are an example of His grace.
What does scripture tell us?
1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
Romans 6:23,5:8, 10:9
6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
What do we know?
We are people who love to get things. And when we do, the 2 best kinds of things are either nice or free (but preferably both). Think about something you really want for yourself. How would you feel if it was given to you? How about grateful?
Let's talk about grace. What is grace? A simple definition is something given that is not earned or merited. Do you know what this looks like in everyday life? If your teacher gives you 5 extra credit points on your test, that’s grace. When we talk about grace we usually talk about mercy also. A simple way to define mercy is not getting what you deserve. So, If you fail a test at school and your parents don’t ground you for 2 weeks, that’s mercy. A little advice - I’d study to get that grade up and not test the limits of a parent's grace and mercy.
We are always working and earning. Grades, allowances, and trust are just a few that are common to you. Life around us is cause and effect. We use words like fair or unfair depending on the outcome of what happens. Grace doesn't work this way. Being a gracious person means that circumstances shouldn't be a contributing factor to you giving grace.
We are saved by a gracious God
We have a God who loves us and scripture tells us this multiple times. God’s love is why we get grace. So, whenever we talk about grace, we have to talk about God’s character. Why would a holy God put up with the things we, His creation, has done. How can He still love us and give us grace? We are told in Exodus 34:6, “The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,”. Wow! How does that compare to what we create in our minds of who we want God to be for us? We think eternal present giver. And we are right that the gift he gives us is eternal.
Our salvation is a “free gift of God” (Romans 6:23). We don’t have to have our good deeds outnumber our bad deeds. We don’t have to make ourselves better to get His love. At our worst, in our sin, knowing the sin that would take place, Jesus still loved us and went to the cross (Romans 5:8). And when we confessed to Him that He is our Lord and He saved us (Romans 10:9), we committed ourselves to also be a giver of His grace.
The grace and mercy He gives us is to accomplish what He has in store for us, as Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God is continually working in our life, noticed or not.
What we do comes from what we are given
When we previously talked about obedience, we talked about how our obedience comes out of our love for Jesus. 1 John 4:19 tells us as much. If you want to know what that truly looks like, look at the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul was literally a changed man. Before he met Jesus, he was finding and killing Christians. If anyone, in our eyes, didn’t deserve Jesus’ love and grace it was Paul. God’s direct grace given to Paul was for his salvation.
Your trials might be grace for someone else. Do you see people struggling? You can be the grace God is giving them. We don’t set out to have bad things happen to us. Bad things just happen to us at times. But what if they aren’t bad things. What if the things we go through are lessons that become someone else’s grace?
Paul tells us in Philippians 1:12–14 how his being in prison has helped the gospel spread. “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
Huh? It’s easy to give grace to people you like. How do you give grace to people who make trouble in your life? Are they the neighbors Jesus was talking about when He said we are to love them? Paul thought so. So much that the people keeping him in chains heard the gospel. The people who were charged with keeping Paul locked up and away from preaching the gospel continued the spread of the same gospel. That, my friends, is not luck but the grace that God affords the hearts of those whom He wants to hear it.
We can give grace
You are in a unique place in your life. You only have a few core responsibilities. Learn how to learn, experience what God has put in front of you, and create relationships. Your growth into young men and women is an exercise in graciousness.
This place where you are in life is intended for you to interact with people, living out what you have learned so far. So what have you learned, and I don’t mean just from a classroom? What has God’s primary lesson been for you? Has it been to love the people who God has surrounded you with? Has He helped you to recognize the grace you have received to go and give grace to others?
We don't have to know every single word of the Bible in order to share God's love and grace with others. Colossians 4:6 tells us to make sure how we talk to others is gracious. If we are mouthing off, being intentionally or unintentionally rude, our speech is not seasoned but burnt. If you love and believe in Jesus and what He has done, you are an example of His grace. So go and let others know Jesus is the giver of grace. And by doing this you will let them know you are too because of Jesus.
Go and give grace. Are you currently giving grace or are you making people earn your grace? Our graciousness should resemble God’s graciousness - given and not earned.