The greatest gift mankind has ever received is Jesus Christ. The second, the one he brought for us: Grace.
Glorious, grace is an unearned and undeserved favor from God. It is a profound, and central to our understanding of being a Christ-follower. It is essential to our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Reflecting on this Christ-centered view of grace is akin to contemplating the depth of an ocean, where the bottom can never be truly seen, only felt in its boundless majesty.
We can access salvation only through faith in Jesus Christ. It’s not about works or merits, but the all-encompassing love of God that brings reconciliation and redemption. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) underscores this divine grace, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
This doctrine of grace separates Christianity from all other religious traditions which hinge upon works righteousness – the belief that personal salvation must be earned through good deeds or adherence to commands. In contrast, the Christ-centered understanding of grace is a testament to the boundless love and mercy of God, who, in spite of our human fallibility, opens a path to salvation.
Consider the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), which beautifully captures this concept. Here, the wayward son, after squandering his inheritance, returns home expecting at best, to be a servant in his father’s house. Yet, he is received not with rebuke, but with open arms and a celebratory feast, a symbol of God’s unmerited favor – a symbol of grace.
The grace of God is also evident in Jesus Christ’s life and ministry. Christ’s interactions with people on the margins – the sick, the sinners, the outcasts – show that God’s grace is not exclusive, but inclusive. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we’ve done; God’s grace extends to all. In Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we see the fullest expression of God’s grace – the willingness to lay down His life for our sins (John 3:16).
However, grace is not just about receiving. It also requires us to reflect God’s love in our interactions with others. As recipients of divine grace, we are called to exhibit grace in our own lives. As stated in Ephesians 4:7 (NIV), “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” This entails forgiving others as we’ve been forgiven, showing mercy as we’ve been shown mercy, and loving as we’ve been loved.
The Christ-centered understanding of grace invites us to approach life with humility, acknowledging our imperfections, and yet, recognizing the unfathomable love of God that bridges the gap. It’s an invitation to let go of our own self-righteousness and to trust in God’s righteousness instead.
In conclusion, grace is the undeserved gift that God gives us through Jesus Christ. It’s not just a theological concept, but an everyday reality that can guide our lives and relationships. It provides comfort, challenges us to love unconditionally, and allows us to see the beauty of God’s love in every aspect of our lives. As we ponder on God’s grace, let us also endeavor to extend it to others in our world, as a true reflection of God’s kingdom here on earth.
Your aspiring servant,
27 July 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent “Conversations with Christ” blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.