We don’t live in a rosy world in which everyone gets along.  No, we live in a sinful, fallen world.  Our recent political cycle has brought out the ugly in all of us.  How do we tame the discourse without sacrificing our right to disagree?

By doing so with grace – in discussion and teaching and listening and learning.

I’ve felt a need for grace lately, and not just because politics have been weighing heavily on my mind.  The weight of my constant illness and battle with fatigue has been dragging me down.  Over time, if I do not accept God’s grace or let it work in my life, my language about everything, especially politics, becomes laced with bitterness and frustration.  So I endeavored to study grace – if I spend more time thinking, learning, and praying about it then I should start to feel it, right?

ABSOLUTELY!  Our walk in faith is intentional…let’s get started.

I began my research by looking up every verse in the NLT and ESV translations that included the word grace.  When I was done I looked at my notes and tried to categorize them.  I saw grace used as a noun, an adjective, and a verb, which has made it a little elusive to define – hence the 4-part series.

Today, let’s try to define grace.  In it’s noun form, grace is often characterized as a gift, which has been freely given to us by God.  Even though “gift” is a part of grace, it doesn’t fully define grace.  To dig deeper into the meaning of grace, let’s look to a speech by the Apostle Paul, found in Acts 20:17-38.

In the middle of his discourse Paul describes his ministry as, “[testifying] to the good news of the grace of God.”  Written another way, the grace of God is good news.  What is God’s good news?  Jesus.

Further into his message Paul also says, “I commend you to God and to the word of his grace… (Acts 20:32a, emphasis mine).”  Here, Paul describes grace as a word.

Taken together, as both good news and a word, Paul has essentially described grace as a message – THE message of salvation though Jesus Christ.

How can we apply “grace as a message” to our lives?  By transforming our outlook.  Because Jesus is our Savior, we are assured of eternal life (John 3:16-17). john-3-16 It means that we no longer have to view this world as our future or our hope.  Therefore it does not matter who is in authority in our earthly lifetimes.  Sure, we may disagree and may see it fit to publicly testify to our dissent, but the outcome does not depend on us.  We can trust that the Lord always has been, and always will be, in control.

In sum, as THE message, grace is knowing that we are not beholden to our circumstances – God has redeemed us and saved us for Himself.  Jesus is our future and our hope (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Ahh…how beautiful!  Let’s rest in His embrace for a while!

 

Always seeking to be found in Him,

Nicki

(The next post in this series will look at grace as an adjective – I hope to see you there!)