We all know the words to “Amazing Grace”, and those of us who are believers appreciate the message of this song about being found in our dark and wild ways. We love the updated Chris Tomlin version, whose chorus says:
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace
As believers, we’re all about grace.
We sing about grace. (Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.)
We pray for grace. (Philippians 4:23 – The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.)
We encourage people to walk by grace. (2 Timothy 2:1 – You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.)
We encourage people to speak with grace. (Colossians 4:16 – Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.)
We try to live by grace. (Romans 6:14 – For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.)
BUT WHAT IS GRACE? The word “grace” appears 145 times in the New King James version, and in all but two instances is the Greek word charis (khar-ece) – the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life. So what is God’s influence of grace to us?
Grace is a light in our darkness. (Ezra 9:8 – And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.)
Grace provides for us. (Psalm 84:11 – 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.)
Grace renews and restores us. (Jeremiah 31:2 – Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness— Israel, when I went to give him rest.”)
Grace strengthens and reinforces us. (Acts 20:32 – So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.)
Grace justifies us. (Romans 3:24 – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus)
Grace gives us eternal life. (Romans 5:20-21 – Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.)
Grace enables us. (2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.)
Grace gives us gifts and ministry. (2 Timothy 1:9 – who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,)
Grace makes us accepted. (Ephesians 1:6 – to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.)
Grace opens the door to salvation. (Ephensians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God).
Grace gives us boldness. (Hebrews 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.)
Grace gives our life and worship proper focus. (Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.)
Grace gets us through trials and fills in the holes of our weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 –9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I [Paul] will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.)
So in light of all this evidence, yes, grace IS amazing. Grace will direct the steps of our journey, counsel the words of our tongue, conform the thoughts in our mind, fill the holes in our heart to make us more Christ-like, and empower us to serve and pray boldly. Who wouldn’t want such an amazing and free gift?
It’s so easy to obtain. There’s only one string attached – love God. Allow God to be the Artist of your life by giving your heart wholly surrendered to His will. It’s that easy. 1 Peter 1:13 sums it up simply: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
So what is grace? Jesus is grace! John 1:14 says “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
You want amazing grace? You want a life filled with amazing grace? It’s waiting for you in the open arms of Jesus. No waiting. No condemnation. No shame. No guilt. No pre-requisite rules to master. Just a willingness to bring all of who you are to Him and allow Him to mold your pieces into His masterpiece.
God loves a humble heart (Proverbs 3:34 – Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble; James 4:6 – But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”). Be humble in approaching Him with all the messiness, brokenness, and ugliness of who you are, and He’ll give you grace. Yes, He will trade all of your humanity and lack for His goodness and love.
Just as “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8), so will you. God says so. He knows your name (Exodus 33:17 – … for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name). And He’s waiting for you.
But what if we screw up after committing to Him? Of course we will. We’re human. He doesn’t expect us to ever be perfect. He knows we will make big mistakes, bad choices, and bold decisions. He knows we will have moments where we choose the ways of the world over His walk of love. But in all of this He is still waiting for us with arms full of amazing grace.
Grace is the open invitation of God to come (back) to Him when we inadvertently, unconsciously, or even purposefully draw apart (away) from Him. When we use the gift of our free will to go our own way, live by our emotions, or act on our impulses. Grace is God’s do-over for us. It forgives us for all offenses and mistakes and gives us right standing with God again. It covers our deficiencies and fills in the gaps of our weaknesses. Grace picks us up when we fall down, brushes us off, and points us in the right direction. It soothes our hurts and heals our brokenness.
We must beware, though. Grace is not a free pass for us to do whatever we want whenever we want. It is not an open license to sin and be free with our decisions and actions (Galatians 5:13 – For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.). We can’t live however we want and then run back to God for a quick shower of forgiveness, only to run back into the world again. Grace isn’t a quick fix for our problems or a band-aid for our wounds. Grace is for the truly repentant and committed heart. Grace is for the life laid down to His will, purpose, and plan.
So do you want a grace-full life? Do you want your words, actions, and choices to have (eternal) meaning? Are you ready to walk with God instead of running away from Him?
If so, there is grace for each moment of each day you live. Every breath you take is His breath of grace in your life. And He can give everything in your life purpose, meaning, and (His) glory.
Surrender your life to amazing grace and be filled with amazing grace. The journey is such much more enjoyable and life so much fuller once you surrender. It starts with a choice, whether you are just starting your walk or have strayed away from Him. Choose God and His amazing grace today. It’s a choice to walk with the God who created you and loves you, gaps and all. He wants to give you grace to fill your gaps with His glory. Will you let Him? It’s the best choice you’ll make.
The first step is this prayer: God, I am a sinner. I have made bad choices and chosen to live life away from You. Please forgive me for all my bad decisions, wrong choices, and harsh words. I give You my life right now, Savior. I give You control of my life, and I trust You to lead me along Your paths of righteousness by amazing grace. Fill in the gaps in my heart and life by Your amazing grace so that I may wholly follow You in words, actions, and thoughts. In Jesus’ mighty name, AMEN.
Marie Fremin, 11/9/14