Amazing Grace!

Today’s question comes from Steve.  She wrote: “My friend and I were discussing the meaning of “Grace of God”. Is it God’s Love, God’s forgiveness, God’s presence, or all these things?”

My shortest, most direct answer, would be, “Yes.  It’s all of those things.”  Of course as a pastor, I can’t stop there.  But I will keep my response short.

My experience of grace began when I memorized Ephesians 2:8 in third grade: “For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves.  It is the gift of God.  Not of works, lest any man should boast” (KJV).

I learned the verse in the King James Version, and that’s how I STILL remember it some 40 years later.

While some people talk mostly about love as their defining characteristic of God, I use grace.  I think of grace as being a loving, free gift of God that comes before even our awareness of God’s presence in our lives (a concept that John Wesley referred to as “prevenient grace”).  Grace paves the way for our ability to respond to God’s presence and love in our lives.

Since this AMAZING, unmerited gift was extended so freely by God, I think that’s why I’m such a HUUUUUUGGGGE fan of humility as well.  I never think of trying to take credit for anything I have achieved.  That’s because in my book, absolutely EVERYTHING flows out of God’s grace/graciousness.  I can’t help but feel overwhelmed and extremely grateful for the grace with which my life has been saturated!

So how about you?  What are your thoughts about grace, and your experience of grace?

About Pastor Craig

I'm a 54-year-old who lives in Los Angeles, CA with his black Labrador Retriever named Max. I'm an ordained clergy person in the United Church of Christ. My passions include spirituality, politics, and sports (Go Houston teams, go!). I use my blog to start conversations rather than merely spout my perspectives and opinions. I hope you'll post a question, comment, or observation for me to respond - so we can get the conversation started!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Amazing Grace!

  1. Beverly Marshall Saling says:

    I was raised Calvinist, so we were taught that God’s grace is granted only to the elect who are predestined for salvation. You can tell you have God’s grace if you are drawn to do good works and if you can hear the “still, small voice” of God in your heart leading you toward his will for you. Which sounds nice, but can be disconcerting in practice if every time you feel tempted to sin or can’t tell what God wants from you, you have to worry that maybe you don’t have grace after all and are predestined for hell instead. Part of the reason I became an atheist was because I never could hear that voice and it was making me neurotic trying to.

    If I’m hearing you right, you’re saying God’s grace is less a mark of being chosen and more an open hand that is extended to everybody, and anyone who wants to can take it and hold onto it as long as they choose to. I like your way of thinking better!

  2. Stevie says:

    I love your description. My friend and I were saying that it’s something so powerful that you can’t put it into words. But you did. Thank you.

  3. Bob Merkle says:

    The mere suggestion that perhaps “all will be saved” generates “upsets” because it calls into question the legitimacy of the religious self-saving strategies (homemade religious, proprietary prescriptions, formulas or plans) designed for receiving, or being the beneficiary of God’s Saving Grace. It is generally accepted in Christian circles that no one can do anything to “earn” or “merit” God’s Saving Grace–salvation is rightly understood to be a freely given gift available to all, free of charge, but at a price. The price is a commitment to believe and practice the proper formula in order to receive that Grace.
    When walking in the rain, we need to do nothing to merit or earn the right to get wet. However, we can hide under either a “sinner” or a “righteous” umbrella that temporarily protects us from getting wet (i.e., soaked in Grace), a protective umbrella we can keep alive only while alive–we cannot take it with us. God’s Saving Grace rains down on all of us and our world, but we do need to come out from under the self-protecting umbrella in order to get soaked in It. “But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For God makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain both to those who do good and to those who do evil.” (Mt 5:44-45)
    The only requirement for getting soaked in God’s Grace is to be “born again”, thrust out of the self-protecting womb of the self/ego. Jesus invited both the adulterous sinner and the righteous church leaders to be born again by stepping out from under their self-indulging and self-promoting umbrellas. “For MY sake” means “for the sake of being soaked in MY Grace”.

  4. Stevie says:

    In my whole life I have never once felt I had to do anything or not do anything to be loved by God.

  5. Sharon says:

    An old, simplistic definition of GRACE is, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. A wonderful thing is Grace, wrapping us all up, in His Love. Great question, Stevie 😍

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s