Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Power of Grace

“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:20-21 CSB)

Grace is a word that communicates softness, warmth, and love. It refers to “favor” that is undeserved. The “warm fuzzies” we get when we reflect on grace can overshadow some of the foundational truth about grace, however. Grace has an undefined power quality to it. No example can do justice in helping us understand this, but just as a tiny amount of yeast can cause a huge batch of dough to rise, grace has the power to change, shape, and define a life. It is an attribute of God, to be sure, but it seems to be more than that. When God gives it, it can change who we are.

Paul described it this way, “I no longer live.” Grace destroys the self-centeredness and the willfulness of the old life prior to Christ, so that, even though we continue to live, we can never the same again. Christ now lives in us. That is the grace of God at work. His love empowers us, enlightens us, and energizes us to live a life that is not like the rest of the world. We now have the capability of the faith-life.

The faith-life expresses trust during our life circumstances, trust that is directed toward God. We recognize that we cannot have total understanding of our various circumstances, but that through all of them we have God walking with us, guiding us, and helping us to live joyfully during the floods, the famines, and the fun. Grace helps us to understand that our joy is not dependent on our circumstances but on the presence of Almighty God through His indwelling Spirit. This is the faith-life.

Lord, May your grace work its power in us to shape us and guide us today and each day, so that we may not just live our lives but that we will express Christ in us, the Hope of glory for our world. Amen.

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