Monday, April 29, 2013

God’s Gift of Grace

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  –Ephesians 2:8, 9 (KJV)

God gives His grace to us as a gift through faith in Jesus Christ.  We cannot earn it.  Our employer pays us for our work; therefore, we have earned our pay.  The grace of God is different from this.  Anytime we do something considered work, and our employer compensates us for our services, we call this money paid for services rendered.  Should we make enough of these funds the IRS becomes interested in us, and should we fail to pay taxes on these funds the IRS will come calling.  Many years ago I heard about a pastor in another state who was being paid in cash by his congregation and he was not reporting his income on the grounds it was a gift from the church each week.  The IRS disagreed.  They ruled those were funds paid for services rendered.  The IRS ordered the pastor to pay back taxes with penalties assessed and it was a substantial amount. 

Grace is God’s gift to us.  We do not earn a gift and neither do we pay it back.  A gift is given and received.  The Bible says we were dead in our transgressions (Ephesians 2:5).  Because of sin we were spiritually dead.  However, Christ has spiritually quickened us.  Quickened means dead, but made alive.  We hear sometimes of someone losing consciousness because of an accident or some other reason, and after a few minutes of not breathing or no heartbeat, the person is revived.  I was wondering who holds the record for being dead the longest and then coming back to life.  I believe Jesus’ friend Lazarus holds the record at four days.  Now, there have been other documented cases of people dying for a time, and then coming back to life, although I was unable to determine what the record is apart from Lazarus.  One report said a man was once pronounced dead and woke up at the morgue 14 hours later (What a disagreeable surprise!). 

All of us were dead in our trespasses and transgressions.  Nevertheless, Christ quickened us – He made us alive.  It all comes back to the grace of God in Christ.  Since God has given us grace through Christ, He then calls us to live for Him and give to Him our all.  John Wesley said, “I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field.”

Let us not squander the grace of God we have been so freely given.  Serve the Lord with gladness, rise up in faith, and walk forward in spiritual victory.  Claim the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ.

God bless you today.