Grace: The Unmerited Favor of God
Each Sunday during August I spoke on the amazing free gift of God’s Grace. For this article, I wanted to review what I hope we have all learned about that gift of Grace.
We know that God’s unmerited, free, and spontaneous love for all of humankind was revealed and made effective in the person of Jesus Christ. It is through our relationship with God in Christ that we receive Grace.
Let’s review the four aspects of Grace that I preached on:
Prevenient – God has always been calling us to Himself. Prevenient grace is God’s activity from the moment of our birth, even before we are aware of God. This grace is poured out full and complete on all who will receive it! It is unmerited and free.
Saving – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God-not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). There is nothing that we can do to save ourselves from our sin. But because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf we can be forgiven and receive salvation. Though there is nothing we can do to earn salvation, it still requires our willing participation.
Justifying – We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is the means God uses to bring us to salvation. We are pardoned for our sin, reconciled to God, and restored to a right relationship with God. According to John Wesley, the image of God, which has been distorted by sin, is renewed within us through Christ’s death. Justification is what happens when we abandon all those vain attempts to justify ourselves before God, and receive Jesus Christ by faith. This is when the Christian experiences forgiveness and acceptance which brings a new sense of peace, joy, and love. Christians are justified by God’s grace through faith.
Sanctifying – This is the Grace which makes us holy and perfects us in Christ. Through the process of sanctification we become more and more like Christ. It is the ongoing experience of God’s gracious presence transforming us into the person God intends us to be. Not a matter of what we do, but rather who we are in relationship with Jesus Christ. Sanctifying Grace enables us to care for and love others as we draw on a power that is not our own. As we pray, study scripture, fast, worship, and share in fellowship with other Christians, we deepen our knowledge of and love for God. By grace, even our inner thoughts and desires become aligned with God’s will. Our actions and behavior testify to our union with God. We find ourselves in a continual process of being made more perfect in in our love of God and each other, as our desire to sin fades.
May God continue to sanctify you in His Amazing Grace!