Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Gift of Love

...He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit...

-- Titus 3:5

Author Philip Yancy once wrote about a conference in England where theologians debated which belief was unique to Christianity. Other faiths held to the resurrection of the dead. And still others described their gods as coming to earth in human form. After much heated discussion, C.S. Lewis--the noted author of Mere Christianity and The Chronicles of Narnia--entered the room.

"What's all the hubbub about?" he inquired.

When his colleagues revealed the contentious topic, Lewis was quick to reply.

"Oh...That's easy," he said. "It's grace."

Grace is one of those "churchy" words that's hard to describe. You just have to experience grace before you can really understand the concept. And to muddy things up a bit, grace is both a thing and an ongoing process.
Receiving a costly, unexpected gift is one way to picture it. It's one of those things that comes out of the blue. You didn't do anything to deserve such wonderful treatment. And you know you never could have afforded it yourself. It's the type of gift that changes you both inside and out.

As Christ-followers, we enjoy God's grace by accepting His gift of eternal salvation purchased for us through Jesus' death on the cross. We've all failed to live up to God's standards for living our lives. But by accepting Jesus through faith as our personal Lord and Savior, our sins and shortcomings are no longer held against us. We were in a figurative maximum security prison awaiting our much-deserved death sentence. But God's grace is our get-out-of-jail-free card that transforms us from the inside out--from the day we accept it until the day we meet Him in person.

God's grace also welcomes and invites us to turn our lives over to Jesus. We're saved once we put our faith and trust in Him. And as we begin our faith-journey as Christ-followers, grace teaches us to become more like Jesus and see the world through His eyes.

"...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness," writes the Apostle Paul in the Book of 2 Corinthians. "Therefore I will boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Grace is both a thing and a transformation. It's a true work in progress. And most importantly, it's God's gift of love to every Believer.

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