I just ended a phone conversation with a fellow believer. We had a good convo. It was edifying. However, some of what we talk about left me thinking about how some believers don't understand grace in action and that saddens me and makes my stomach hurt. Every believer, myself included, is Pharisaic in some way and at some time. But in our pride we don't see it (and some times don't want to see it) and operating in grace in those areas becomes inactive.
Grace is the key!
The Grace of God is what saved us and Grace is what transforms us (Tit. 2:11-14; 3:4-7), and Grace is what will save and transform others. Grace is what breaks down the walls of traditionalism, legalism, self-righteous..ism, dogmatism, culturalism, post-modernism, and any other harmful "ism". Grace doesn't let us stay the way we are. It disrupts our pride and self-centeredness. That's why we don't operate in grace from time to time. Grace is a disruption to how we think things should be, because it centers the point of concern or contention on faith in God's character and purposes and not ours.
Grace isn't afraid to get dirty!
Grace isn't afraid to love like Christ, and give people room to make mistakes, and forgive, and grieve, and move on, and be humble, and be patient, and be a peacemaker, and be an agent of restoration, and be an ambassador of reconciliation, and anything else contrary to our pride and selfishness. Notice I didn't list correction. Giving correction is hard and it can get dirty some times, but giving correction is not unnatural to our sinful nature. That's why it's more "second nature" to finger-point at others (Gen. 3:12). Receiving correction, on the other hand, is dirty and unnatural to our sinful nature. Grace isn't afraid to give correction graciously as well as receive blows that hurt. Grace isn't afraid of becoming like Christ, but our flesh is (Rom. 6).
Grace is powerful!
It is because of grace that Creation exist. It is because of grace that Adam and Eve weren't destroyed on the spot because of their sin, instead they were forgiven and their shame was covered by the skin of an innocent animal killed on their behalf. It's because of grace that the Ark was built when God judged the earth. It is grace that brought God to earth to be Incarnate (God-Man) and give His life as a ransom for His enemies. It's because of grace that the wrath of God has not yet come and those alive still have time to repent (2Pet. 3:7-9).
This grace is immeasurable! It is inexhaustible! And I believe if we as believers spent more time focusing on growing and operating in this grace we'd see a transformation take place in ourselves and some of the recipients of this grace in action.
Let's not let this grace be M.I.A in how we think, speak, and do. Let's go in His grace and grow in His grace (2Pet. 3:18).
Christopher B. Davis www.biblicallyshaped.com