The last few posts in our series on James, have led me to take a short break in our series and apply what we’ve learned. To recap, in James 1:21 “In humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.”, we discussed welcoming God’s word into your life as your deliverer – to save you from destruction by receiving it and obeying it. We are told to submit to it with humility, putting aside all arrogance and pride. in James 1:22-25, we heard “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:22-25 NIV).
At the end of this post, we were given a challenge. Is there anything specific you have heard from the Word that you need to do? Our quest for wisdom is to be rooted in Scripture and covered in prayer. Ask God for “eyes to see” (Mark 8:18). Then take every chance to grow in understanding so your capacity to live by His principles will be strengthened. Getting down to the nitty-gritty, I fail to give grace to others.
For over a week, I’ve been contemplating grace. I purchased the book, “Putting a Face on Grace: Living a Life Worth Passing On” by Richard Blackaby. I’ve also taken the 40-Day Challenge by Arabah Joy to Pray 40 of God’s Promises in 40 days. Today’s scripture (Matthew 18:21-35) was spot on! God is merciful to forgive our sins by grace – but He requires that we pass on the grace we have received to others.
So what is grace? I highlighted the following paragraph in “Putting a Face on Grace”: “To this day grace desires to do a work in people’s lives. Grace is a gift no one deserves. Grace recognizes people’s sin, anger, rebellion, and foolishness but looks beyond all of these to see what these people can become. God’s holiness demanded atonement for our sin. God’s grace sent His only Son to pay the enormous price for our pride and selfishness.” “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) . How big is God’s grace? He took the most heinous act ever perpetrated and transformed it into His greatest gift (2 Corinthians 5:21)
God has bestowed grace upon us because we can’t be righteous without His grace. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) He gives me grace daily. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) Christ died so we can live. “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21) We were bought with a price – Christ’s blood, and we’re not to take advantage of His grace. “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15) We serve a God who wants to pour out His blessings upon our lives and one of those blessings is His grace. “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11) God’s grace is sufficient. “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.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Our source of grace comes from Jesus Christ! “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Grace is not a blanket tolerance; it is not a display of weakness; it does not avoid speaking the truth even when it’s difficult; and it is not a onetime event. Grace does not ignore sin. Grace recognizes the full ugliness of sin, yet if offers undeserved pardon and blessing. And God expects us to be channels of His grace to others. We are not called to just bathe in grace; we are called to shower it upon others. Grace has not been fully experienced until it is fully expressed to others.
In tomorrow’s post, we’ll apply expressing grace to others.
- Life Application Study Bible (NIV)
- “Putting a Face on Grace: Living a Life Worth Passing On” by Richard Blackaby
- THE GRACE CHALLENGE: 7 TRUTHS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GOD’S GRACE
- My own notes and thoughts about what I’ve read