Sunday, March 12, 2017
Grace and Faith
Rom. 4:16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 7 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
Paul is explaining that Abraham pleased God first and foremost through faith. He didn’t know anything about the law that would come later. God reached out to him in grace, and Abraham responded. The same is true for us, that God reaches out in prevenient grace to all. This was the promise to Abraham that stretched out through the ages and draws us toward God today. Prevenient grace is constantly at work and we respond in faith. It is grace that draws us into the life of holy fellowship with God.
When we begin to understand the place of grace we can become overwhelmed by the love of God. That God, in infinite love would reach out to save all of creation is a revelation of the very nature of the relationship that we find in the holy Trinity. Emanating from this relationship is holy love which results in a grace which grips us even when we are living in sin. It doesn’t matter the depth of our sins for God never gives up on creation. Grace continues to flow, day in and day out. We invited to step into that flow of grace and experience the transformational work of God’s Holy Spirit.
Far too often we are hard on ourselves, unwilling to accept the love which God is pouring out on us. This grace is lavished on all, for God does not want any to be lost. We read about it over and over again. We read of the lost sheep — the way in which the shepherd leaves the 99 and goes to search for the one little lamb that is missing. This is the value of the one who is lost. The Father is represented as the woman who has lost her precious coin. The house will be swept and every corner searched until the coin is retrieved. This is grace lavished on those who are not deserving. And grace is seen in the father who stands on the side of the road, day after day, waiting for his prodigal to come home. Always with arms wide open and filled with abundant love.
Grace was not always something that was spoken of when I was growing up in the church. The focus was on punishment for doing things wrong and I lived in constant fear of losing my salvation. Instead, I have begun to understand grace as being something much greater than all my fears. Grace which has its grip on me. Grace which means that God is always reaching out to me, continually drawing me near. Grace that reaches out a hand and picks me up when I fall down. Grace which bandages my wounds. Grace which whispers, “I love you” when you feel your most vulnerable or the ugliest of sinners.
And this grace stretches out and invites us to become partakers of the divine nature by faith. Yes, it’s a mystery. No, I can’t explain it all. It’s just time to jump in with both feet and run into the Father’s embrace. Grace overflowing anoints us with holy love and awaits the step of faith in which there can be complete and total healing.
Lord, thank you for helping me begin to understand about grace. . Amen.