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.

grace-adj

When looked at as a noun, “gift” is often associated with grace.   This gift is Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Grace is also the message of Jesus Christ.  In the New Testament, this message – grace – is used as an adjective and a verb, as well as a noun.  Today, we focus on grace as an adjective. 

There are many beautiful ways to describe the message of our salvation; I certainly don’t claim to have conducted a comprehensive study of adjectives.  I would, however, like to highlight four: abundant, undeserved, wonderful, and sufficient.

What makes grace abundant, undeserved, wonderful, and sufficient? 

  1. Abundant – When Jesus died, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom (Mark 15:38).”  Why is this significant?  Because prior to Jesus, Jewish law permitted only the high priest to enter the innermost room of the Temple, and then only once a year to offer sacrifices.  With the curtain torn in two, the old system of approaching the Lord is made obsolete as Jesus became the Temple.  Grace was made abundant in that everyone is now able to directly interact with God through their belief in Jesus; we no longer need a high priest to intercede for us.
  2. Undeserved – The instant Eve took a bite of the “apple,” the world was changed.  We are “all [sinful] and [have fallen] short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”  Galatians 5:19-21 describes the works of the flesh, or human nature left unchecked: “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these…”  Read that list again.  Have you ever been jealous or angry, filled with envy or participated in division?  We are all undeserving of the grace that God has given to us.
  3. Wonderful – Grace is wonderful because we are so undeserving of it.  But it’s also life-giving, now and forever more.  Paul instructs in Romans that, “God’s wonderful grace [now] rules instead,” meaning we are no longer at the mercy of this world.  Instead, God’s grace “[gives] us right standing with God and [results] in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:21, NLT).”
  4. Sufficient – The Apostle Paul had an unnamed medical condition (many believe it had to do with his eyes).  He prayed the Lord would remove his affliction three different times. However, rather than healing Paul, the Lord responded to him that His grace was sufficient.  Paul then realized that with the Lord’s grace he could be, “content with all weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities…[because]…when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).”

How does grace as an adjective apply to our lives?  As with grace as a noun, we know the hope that is in store for us, so we set our eyes on it rather than on the hardships and frustrations this world (Colossians 3:1-2, Hebrews 11:1).

Moreover, we are instructed by Jesus to, “Give as freely as you have received (Matthew 10:8, NLT)!”  This is strikingly similar to something else He says: “Whatever you wish others would do to you, do also to them..(Matthew 7:12).”

That said, when responding to the issues of this world we should apply grace abundantly, undeservedly, and wonderfully, knowing that God makes our efforts sufficient.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Let’s approach this world with grace!

Always seeking to be found in Him,

Nicki

(The previous post in this series is Grace as a Noun.  The next post in this series is Grace as a Verb.  Why this series?)

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