Kathy Bernard – Publisher
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that
not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works,
lest anyone should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
What is God’s Grace? How do we receive it?
Grace is defined as mercy, pardon and unmerited favor. We cannot buy it, for it is God’s gift freely given to all who accept it. All the things we enjoy in this life, our families, our homes, our friends, food to eat, and yes, even to wake each day to a beautiful morning comes solely from the Grace He has bestowed upon us.
Someday we will enter the Kingdom of Heaven through that Grace which comes through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our precious intercessor. Without it, the salvation of mankind cannot take place. It is because of that Grace that we inherit salvation by the acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ.
There is a story of a defiant schoolboy who stood with his back arched, staring at his school principal defiantly. “Go ahead, give it to me,” the boy said. The principal looked down at the young rebel. “How many times have you been sent to me for punishment?” The child sneered and said, “Apparently not enough.” The principal gave the boy a strange look and said, “You have been punished before, have you not?” “Yeah, if that’s what you want to call it.” He threw out his small chest and said, “Go ahead, I can take whatever you dish out.” The principal said, “And no thought of punishment enters your head when you decide to break the rules?” The boy laughed and said, “Nope, I do whatever I want to do and you can’t stop me either.”
The principal looked at the teacher who stood nearby. “What did he do this time?” The teacher replied, “He took little Tommy and shoved his face into the sandbox.” The principal looked at the boy and asked, “What did Tommy do to you?” The boy said, “I didn’t like the way he was lookin’ at me, and I don’t like the way you’re lookin’ at me! And if I could do it, I’d shove your face into something too.” The teacher stiffened and was about to say something but a quick look from the principal stopped him. He looked at the boy for a moment and then quietly said, “Today my young student, is the day you learn about ‘Grace’.
The boy laughed and said, “Grace? Isn’t that what you old people do before you sit down to eat? I don’t need your stinkin’ grace.” The principal studied the young boy’s face and whispered. “Oh yes, you truly do…” The boy glared as the principal continued, “Grace is a gift and is always freely given. It means that you will not be getting what you so richly deserve for your treatment of others. Can’t you understand this?”
Puzzled, the boy said, “You not gonna whup me? You gonna let me walk?” The principal looked down at the unyielding child. “Yes, I am going to let you walk.” The boy studied the face of the principal, “No punishment at all for what I did?” The principal replied, “Oh, there has to be punishment. What you did was wrong and there are always consequences to our actions. There will be punishment. Grace is not an excuse for doing wrong.”
“I knew it,” scoffed the boy as he held out his hands. The principal nodded to the teacher, “Bring me the belt.” The teacher presented the belt to the principal who carefully folded it in two and gave it back to the teacher. The principal looked hard at the child, got up from his desk and said. “I want you to count the blows.” He stood directly in front of the boy and gently reached out and folded the child’s outstretched hands together, then turned to face the teacher with his own hands outstretched. One quiet word came forth from his mouth. “Begin.” The belt whipped down on the outstretched hands of the principal. Crack! The young boy jumped with surprise. Shock registered across his face, “One” he whispered. Crack! “Two.” His voice raised an octave. Crack! “Three…” He couldn’t believe this. Crack! “Four.” Big tears welled up in the eyes of the rebel. “OK stop! That’s enough. Stop!” Crack, came the belt down on the callused hands of the principal. Crack! The child flinched with each blow, tears beginning to stream down his face. Crack! Crack!
“No please”, the child begged, “Stop, I did it, I’m the one who deserves it. Stop! Please. Stop…” Still the blows came, Crack! Crack! One after another. Finally it was over. The principal stood with sweat glistening across his forehead and beads trickling down his face. Slowly he knelt down. He studied the child for a second and then his swollen hands reached out to cradle the face of the weeping boy. Then the words were softly whispered… “GRACE…”
The above story paints a small picture of God’s Grace to us when He sent His Son to shed His blood to pay for our sins. Redemption costs nothing except faith and trust, and through forgiveness, God stamps the gift Paid in Full by Jesus Christ for all of us. If we live freely, however, going our own way to attain the earthly satisfaction of sinful living, Heaven is null and void to us. Do we deserve eternal Heaven? No, none of us deserves eternal Heaven. However, God’s Grace comes to us through obedience to Him and His Son Jesus Christ. It is a precious gift that never expires, and never changes. St. Paul, while under house arrest as a prisoner in Rome, writes in Ephesions 2: 1-8: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in 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. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our fleshand following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by Grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His Grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Only God can repair and make us whole. He takes all who are broken and torn by sin and puts the puzzled pieces of our lives together, and through Grace we are healed. “God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, He forgives them and cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:9 Through the good times and the bad times, the rough times of hopelessness, He is there, holding us up, letting us know He will never ever leave us.
In2 Corinthians 12: 6-9, the Apostle Paul tells us: “Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Today we live in a world with so many of us pridefully living in sin without accountability to God’s plan for our lives. And His loving eyes are wrought with sorrow as He stands viewing the travesty of wicked destruction that exists in a world bathed in disobedience. He watches His creation of humanity turn away from Him, following their own desires, uncaring that the Son of God paid the price of eternal life for them. Do we deserve the many things we take for granted? God does not give us what we deserve, instead He forgives through His Grace and His everlasting love IF we ask for it. Our loving God is willing to forgive over and over again if we truly ask for forgiveness. Remember, life is not promised, so if we die in sin, we will lose His precious gift forever. Our names will be struck from God’s Book of Life if we do not repent and accept the salvation that Jesus Christ paid for us on the cross of Calvary.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 reads: “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s Grace in vain. For He says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation”. The doorway to Grace that God offers to us must be accepted willingly and continuously, lest we fall from God’s divine favor.
Remember God never gives up on us as long as we live. Even now He stands waiting. To those who do not believe, will you turn away from Satan and his wiles and let our Father take your hand, your heart, and your soul and lead you to His eternal Kingdom?
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18