Thursday, July 17, 2014

Superabounding Grace

Hello friends, as we study through the tremendous text of Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome, we are continually reminded of the grace of God. He seems to mention it at almost every turn as he writes about God's good news for all of humanity.

In our text from this past Sunday, Romans ch. 5, Paul mentions grace 5 different times. My favorite mentioning of grace in chapter 5 is verse 20, "The law was brought in so that the trespass (offense or sin) might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased (or superabounded) all the more!"

What it would it look like if grace was superabounding in our lives?

Grace is often misunderstood, misapplied, and, therefore, MISSED! And it's so unfortunate because to miss part or all of grace is to miss part or all of God. 

Grace can often be misunderstood as something scandalous and sinfully permissive; and it can also be misapplied by thinking of grace only terms of pardoning sin and not about enabling us to live rightly.

Dallard Willard once said, "grace is God acting in our lives to bring about what we do not deserve and cannot accomplish on our own." I love that definition of grace; but I equally love what he said next: "but we are not passive in this process. We are commanded to put off the old person and put on the new. We are told to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)." 

In essence, grace is about pardoning guilt and about inviting/empowering us into right living.

As followers of Jesus, there are many wonderful things for us to do, and, though we cannot do it ourselves, they will not be done for us. We must do them. As recipients of grace we are empowered to do whatever it is we need to do to increasingly take on Christ's character and live, in his power, as one of his followers.

May the grace of God abound in our lives. Instead of sin and death, may the grace of God reign in our lives leading to true life in the here and now (Romans 5:21). 

May trust and belief replace our cynicism and disbelief. 

May gentleness and encouragement replace our anger and hurtfulness. 

May fidelity and love replace our selfishness and greed. 

May understanding and tolerance replace our impatience. 

May hope replace our fear. 

May thoughtfulness replace our disregard. 

And may true joy replace our wallowing in shallowness.

Wow. Imagine how resting in and relying upon the superabounding grace found in Christ would reshape our everyday lives.

May we courageously go into the way of grace; may we encourage as many others to follow as we possible can.