Grace and mercy are fun attributes to study. Saying that God is graceful just feels good.
His mercies are new every morning. Good thoughts but even better theology.
We love to think about the positive characteristics of God.
He loves us.
Grace and mercy are right along side that love.
What about His faithfulness or kindness?
What about holiness? Surely this trait is no less important that any of the others?
I Peter 1:16 “For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” ” NIV
Peter is quoting Leviticus 11:44-45.
Here are those verses:
“44I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” NIV
So why does Peter quote these verses? They speak to the dietary restrictions God has originally placed on the Israelites. Does that apply to me? Today?
God is different than we are. I really didn’t even need to type that sentence. Of course He is!
And that is the point. God is holy.
In a word, holy means seperate.
God is separate from us. The impurity of sin does not come in contact with God because He is separate, or holy.
He is the ultimate vaccine!
Because God is holy, He and sin cannot abide in the same space at the same time.
When you turn on the light switch, the darkness goes away. The light is holy, separated from the dark.
Now, add in grace and mercy. Because God also has these traits, He desires a relationship with us.
His love compels Him to restore relationship with us.
His holiness (and our sin) prevents Him to be with us.
His grace provides a solution to sin.
His mercy envelops us back to Him.
They all work together.
We can holy like God (as Peter was encouraging us to do).
All because God is who He is!
Accepting Jesus into our lives is the key.
Our very life depends on it.
Take all of these traits of God and let them roll around in your mind for a while.
Today, we will explore this biblical idea of grace a little more in depth.
I have chosen Ephesians 2 as a starting point. Here are verses 1-10:
“1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh a and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” NIV
Grace is used three times here. I think we can, from this passage, identify some aspects of grace.
Grace can save. We cannot earn salvation. God has given His grace so that we could be saved.
Grace can survive. The text says the phrase, “incomparable riches of his grace…” Despite what this world brings, his grace will outlast it.
Grace can supply. Verse 9 says that we are saved by grace. The next verse tells us we are God’s handiwork. I think that God’s grace helps us to do the good works for which we were created.
Grace can suffice. Although not specifically stated here, it is implied that God’s grace is enough for our life.
And to that end, I want to leave you with one more verse. It also comes from the apostle Paul but it is not in Ephesians. II Corinthians 12:9 says it all, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
These are words of Jesus directly to Paul. Click here to read the whole chapter.
God’s grace is his favor and favorable inclination towards us. God is extending Himself, reaching forward because He is disposed to bless us.
We do not deserve God’s grace. But we can have this gift anyway.
Can you see that His grace is truly amazing?
Grace has a cousin named Mercy. Next week will feature mercy, another one of God’s amazing characteristics.