Reopening the Gift of Grace: An Advent Devotional – Day Four

Grace.

This is a word well-known to Christians, summarized in the message of 2 Corinthians 5:21: For God made Christ who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

In essence, grace is God’s love in action toward men who deserved just the opposite of it. Dying to save your enemies is something most of us would never consider doing, yet that is what happened on the cross of Christ. That is God’s version of grace as found in Romans 5:6-11:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends with God.

Grace is a gift brought to us by Jesus.

While most everyone would admit the sentiment of grace is a marvelous thing, it remains merely a sentiment until it is experienced on a personal level. As Shauna Niequist writes in her book Savor: We dilute the beauty of the gospel story when we divorce it from our lives, our worlds, the words and images that God is writing right now on our souls. 

Grace is a gift that must be opened by the individual so as to experience the full wonder of its worth. When placed in personal perspective, the gift deepens and grows, drawing me to my knees and toward the heart of God in ways that mere words cannot prompt.

Not surprising, this gift of grace shows itself raw and real in my life. It has never been revealed as a neat, pretty package tied with brightly colored ribbons of perfect Scripture passages. No, the grace I’ve received comes stained with the remnants of my sin’s consequences still dripping alongside the gruesomeness of Calvary’s sacrifice. It is disheveled and muddied from wading through the depths of soiled soul, stretched to the maximum for grasping after this rebellious daughter. Dirty from clamoring into the pit of despair to rescue my wayward heart . . . again.

Yet for all its wear and tear, grace still remains the most beautiful of gifts. It’s offering of redemption still the most enchanting of contents. Perhaps because of its very willingness to become filthy and contaminated for me.

My life has seen some ugly moments. My choices have wounded and marred my Jesus-image beyond recognition far more times than I care to admit, But the gift of grace continues to come, delving into the deepest recesses of me to cover my sin while unveiling the deepest recesses of my Savior’s love.

Christ in me, the hope of glory. Glory beyond the smudged and broken. Glory rising with the grasp of grace stretching, reaching, drawing me out to draw me near. Uniting the best of the Godhead with the worst of humanity. With the worst of me. All so He can call me His friend.

Writing His love story upon my heart, gracious word by gracious word. Saving and delivering me daily and for keeps. That is the gift of grace at work.

So now I can rejoice in my wonderful new relationship with God because my Lord Jesus Christ has made me friends with God.

That is the gift of grace Jesus gives.

FOR REFLECTION
When you think on the word grace, do you naturally internalize it and recall the many ways it has been given to you? Or are you more likely to think of it in general terms?  Take some time to reopen the gift of grace today as you remember specific moments where you have experienced God’s unmerited favor in your life. If you are in Christ, you no longer have to live in fear of punishment, or death, or separation from God. Jesus came to draw you near to the Father’s heart. May you approach Him in humble worship as you thank Him for giving you access to His presence through the Messiah come.

You may want to listen to this song to set your heart in worship mode. He truly has done great things for you!

 

 

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