What does it mean to Live Grace?
Grace. I’ve heard the word all of my life. It is a word used in Scripture and songs of worship, yet sometimes I struggle with what it means to live with this gift, this character trait, this favor God has given to us.
Grace has been around since eternity past. Without it, there would be no saving faith because it is by grace and through faith that we are even able to believe what God says to us in His Word.
God’s throne is founded on grace, He gives grace to stand against evil desires, we are told to be strong in grace and grow in grace. Grace is a blessing and a greeting, but it also a character trait of Almighty God.
Jesus embodied grace. His death and resurrection allowed grace to win over death and sin. At last God could grant grace and mercy to those who were previously His enemies, those who knew they had broken His laws. He even offers grace to those who don’t think they need Him, if they will but accept His offer.
Grace carries a sense of favor, beauty, approval, mercy all coming from the divine. Christians sometimes call it “unmerited favor.”
Sometime after he came to faith in Christ, John Newton wrote perhaps one of the most famous songs in history, “Amazing Grace”. There is something appealing about the word grace. We even name our children after grace. Both my grandma and one of my aunts shared that name.
I’ve thought a lot about grace in recent years. What does grace look like? How can I “grow in grace”? How do I “live grace”?
I’ll be honest. I don’t always exemplify this word. And I have a long way to go to grow in the ability to show grace to others. But Jesus is a good example to follow. How did He live grace?
There are probably myriad ways Jesus showed and offered grace, but I’ll focus on the few that I’m working on in my own life.
1. He showed compassion.
Even after a long hard day, crowds beat him to the shores where He longed for rest. When He saw those crowds, He didn’t get angry or frustrated with them. He had compassion on them.
2. He forgave his enemies.
I daresay we all know the pain of rejection and betrayal and how hard it can be to forgive wrongs done that affect us so personally. How on earth do we forgive that?
He gives us more grace. Why? Because when we can’t “forgive those who sin against us” one more time, we can ask Him for grace to forgive. In my experience, He gives it every time.
3. He showed favor to those the world called outcasts.
Do you ever feel like an outcast? Maybe we aren’t carrying an unclean disease or are guilty of a public sin as some of those in Jesus’ day did—the ones He touched and accepted. But I know we can all feel like outcasts sometimes.
Perhaps we feel invisible, like no one sees us, or we carry scars that we try to bury but we fear everyone can see and if they see them, they will reject us. How many things do we hide from everyone else, even ourselves, when God wants us to tell Him? Jesus cares for the outcasts.
4. He spoke truth.
Jesus never minced words. To those who were self-righteously “right,” He rebuked. To those who honestly doubted, like the disciple Thomas, He proved Himself to remove His friend’s doubts.
Jesus spoke truth in love. He knew what each person needed to hear, and He wanted him or her to see Him for who He was. He offered them grace in the only way they might understand it. And that’s what I think He would have us do. Speak truth seasoned with grace. As Paul said, “let your sweet reasonableness be known to all men.” Grace is sweetly reasonable.
5. He was patient.
I think perhaps the only time Jesus showed possible impatience was when he drove the moneychangers out of the temple because they were defiling His Father’s house of prayer. Other than that, Jesus waited, sometimes longer than people wished He would have. He never acted unless His Father directed Him to act. He came to do His Father’s will and that’s exactly what He did—even when it meant waiting four days before going to heal a dying friend.
This isn’t my strong suit. I would have rushed to the occasion, hurried to be where I thought I needed to be. Even when I pray, I want God to answer me quickly, as the psalmist so often prayed. But Abraham waited patiently for twenty-five years before he received God’s promise. Grace is not controlling. Grace is patient.
6. He sacrificed and endured—even when it cost Him.
To say Jesus was sacrificial is an understatement. He gave His life for not only His friends, but for His enemies. The Bible says that no one took His life from Him. He gave it willingly. He endured the cross for the sheer joy of fixing a broken relationship between His Father and us.
But what if He had changed His mind? He could have. He could have called 72,000 angels to deliver Him from His enemies. But He chose not to.
They say in relationships you have one who gives and one who takes. Honesty check here—my husband is the giver in our family. It’s not that I have never sacrificed. Most moms sacrifice a lot of things for their families. But how many of us sacrifice our time for someone when we’d rather not? How often do we break our word because the cost is too great to keep it? Grace sacrifices to obey God. Grace sacrifices for love.
7. He gave because He loved.
For God so loved the world that He gave…If you finish that verse (John 3:16), you have the gospel (good news) in a nutshell. Jesus didn’t have to come to earth for the sole purpose of dying. He didn’t have to make the plan with His Father to redeem what was lost when one man Adam broke the world. But love persuaded Him. Love caused Him to give up His rights as God and walk in human skin. Love endured the worst beating and vicious death Rome had to offer.
If it came down to it, I would give my life for my family. But please leave out the torture part! Still, a mother’s love can go a long way. So can a wife’s or husband’s or father’s. But how many of us would die for someone who hates us? How many would trade places with a criminal on death row? I’m not sure I could even give my life for a friend. I don’t love enough outside of my closest circle.
But Jesus did. All because of a future He could see but we couldn’t. He loved beyond anything we can even fathom in our finite thinking or feeling. He loved so much He gave everything.
All so He could offer us grace.
What does it mean to live grace?
To live as Jesus did.
I’m a long way from living grace day to day, but it’s become one of my life goals. The more trials of life hit me, the more I’m on my knees begging for grace to live through them.
We cannot be or live like a Christian without grace. Grace gives us faith and faith pleases God. That’s where it starts and that’s where it ends—with grace. Always and only God’s beautiful, unmerited, fragrant, loving, amazing, redeeming grace.