I thought I understood what grace is but for a long time I didn’t. I had a concept of it but not the full understanding. What does grace mean to you? I’ve been following the Lord most of my life. In 2018, I was baptized and received the Holy Spirit. This Easter, 2020, it finally hit me what grace is. Here is what I’ve learned…
On Easter day, I felt troubled in my heart and shame. I knew I had done something wrong. The night before, I was tired and exhausted lying in bed. I was talking with the Lord. I took the Lord’s name in vain without even thinking. I automatically knew it was wrong. At first, I didn’t know where it came from. I asked for forgiveness but still felt troubled. I wondered if I had fallen from God’s grace. I felt as though I knew better and made a mistake I shouldn’t have made. I called out to the Lord but he did not answer me. The conversation was over.
God did not answer because He wanted me to figure out exactly what I did and where it came from. After close examination of myself, I realized what I said came directly out of my heart. It felt bitterness. It was offensive to God and His Holy Spirit inside of me. I was becoming a little too proud of being His daughter. I was a little careless. In a way, I felt lifted up on a high horse. By God’s grace, He wanted to knock me down off that pedestal so that I could examine myself. I had become a bit overconfident in myself. When I should have been confident in God. God knocked me down but He didn’t knock me out.
I sinned from the heart. Matthew 15:17-19 What Defiles a Man …17“Do you not yet realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? 18But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.…
Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
I wasn’t a bad person but my heart had spoken. It came out of my mouth. I was tired and laying there for two hours without sleep. I was hearing the Lord and listening to Him but all I wanted was to fall asleep. I took the Lord’s name in vain out of bitterness. Either way, it was wrong. I woke up immediately. I felt His discipline upon me in the form of my heart feeling troubled. I never thought I would do this but my heart had pride that needed to be removed. That pride dropped me to my knees. All of a sudden, I felt greatly humbled.
I knew where it came from. My heart, my mind, and my mouth had defiled me. God humbled me with discipline. I offended Him. I took to repentance and prayer. I felt like God had forgiven me but I didn’t feel close to the Lord like I had before. I thought I lost his grace because I knew better. I felt unworthy. Usually, if you feel repentance and humble you haven’t fallen away from God. He does not forsake His children. See this next verse…
In the Bible, Paul writes, “1 Timothy 1:13-15 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” The Lord pours His grace out on us in abundance with faith and love. God desires mercy. Grace is His love.
I messaged my Bible study pastor and said, “I feel unworthy.” He said, “We are all unworthy and fall short of the Glory of God. But are made righteous through Jesus Christ and justified freely by God’s grace.” Romans 3:23. It made me feel a little better.
I still felt like I wasn’t close to God. I was had felt close to him prior to this, as though, the Spirit was moving inside of me. That feeling was gone. Could I fall from grace? I felt worried and troubled. I decided to call my therapist who was a former pastor. He asked, “Do you know what grace is?” I thought about it. He said, “You cannot earn grace. It was given to you when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior.”
I heard God’s voice say to me… “Why are you still trying to earn grace? Why are you still searching for love? As if my love is not enough.”
My therapist replied, “His grace is a free gift as long as you accept the gift. God will offer gifts to you but it’s not a gift unless you accept it as one. He gives it out of His love for you. He gives it freely, not that we deserve it, but because of Who He is. An unconditional agape love that I am not deserving of. He is a perfect Father who gives mercy, love, and forgiveness. We are all unworthy but God gives to us anyways when we ask for it. Sealed by the blood of Jesus in the Holy Spirit. You cannot fall out of His hands but He will discipline you. He will not punish you but discipline does not feel well. It makes us examine our hearts and to humble ourselves. His grace is sufficient for us.”
I thought about what I heard the Lord ask and say, “Why are you still trying to earn grace? Why are you searching for love? As if my love is not enough.” I was trying so hard to be better than I had to be. I felt as though I wasn’t good enough, nothing I did was ever good enough. I had to try harder. Trying so hard that I was exhausted (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). Constantly putting myself down for not doing a good job. God let me know in a small voice, “You cannot earn my grace. You do not have to try to earn my grace or love. I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere. Is my love not enough for you? You don’t have to look any further. You found me. I will not abandon you. I AM your God. I Am Who I Am. I love you. You are my daughter. A daughter of Zion. I Am enough for you. My grace is sufficient because my Son died for you. He justified and sanctifies you. Saved by my grace by me giving up my only Son for you because of love. Love moved first. I moved first. You couldn’t earn it so I gave it to you freely. This is grace. It’s a bigger story than you understand. I Am better than anything you can imagine. I forgive you. Are you going to pay for your sins or are you going to let my Son pay for your sins? Are you going to accept my free gift?”
Romans 5:6-11 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit are all we will ever need. His Son, His love, His mercy, His grace is enough. They are all you and I need in this life. Jesus is sufficient for you and sustains you. His blood and body sanctify and justify you. You are bought and paid for by His body and blood at the cross. Jesus brought us reconciliation with God. Made it possible for us to have a relationship with God the Father. We couldn’t do it on our own. We needed help because we are all sinners. That is why God sent His Son out of His love for us. An agape love. Jesus asked His Father to take this cup from Him but His will be done. The cup of death. God did not remove this cup from His Son because of love. He knew that Jesus’s death and resurrection would bring us forgiveness of sins so we could be made Holy in His sight. Then God would have a relationship with us. A marriage and covenant that is for the past, present, and future. Once accepted, He sees us without fault and does not keep a record of our past wrongs. God knows we will fall. We will mess up from time to time. We are human but we need to be transformed in our hearts and minds to be more like His Son Jesus.
I accepted God’s gift that day. I accepted Jesus to pay for my sins and not me. I was reconciled with God. I felt humble and gave Him thanks and praise for His grace and love. Grace cannot be earned. I thanked Him for more understanding and knowledge. I thanked Him for His teachings and for sealing me in His blood. I’m grateful to be standing in His love and not His wrath. Saved from punishment but He disciplines His children.
No matter what I face, whether sickness, job loss, or death I am His. He loves me even when I make a mistake as long as I repent from the heart. He died while I was powerless. My flesh is weak and I am weak. His grace is sufficient for me. When I’m weak He is strong. Only God can get me through each day and His mercy is new each day. God is all about love and a changing us for He is perfect in all of His ways. A perfect loving Father who knows what is best. He changes us through our experiences, our trials, and struggles. Transforming our hearts and minds to become more like Jesus. Are you going to let Him transform you? Be happy we don’t get what we all deserve because He is the God of Grace. One of God’s names in the Bible is Yahweh which in Hebrews means, “I Am.” I Am everything. I Am the Almighty. I Am the Savior. I Am the only God. I Am the mighty one who rescues you. I Am your help. I Am the Omega. I Am the beginning and the end. I Am God. I Am He.
Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know I Am God.
I Am the King of Kings. I Am Lord of Lords. I Am the Lord your God. Yes, I Am the Lord.
What is your choice? I chose to accept and be used by God. Will you accept His gift, His Son, and be baptized and sealed in the Spirit? In Baptism, we confess and repent of our sins. We acknowledge that God is the Father and sent His Son Jesus for our sins. We confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died, was buried, and resurrected to Heaven and is alive and seated at the right hand of the Father. We receive the Holy Spirit with baptism (See Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, and 1 Peter 3:21). So why do you delay? Baptism is not the removal of dirt from the flesh but of an offering (your heart, mind, and body –as a temple of God – Honor Him in your body) to God (What is appealing to Him and righteous because Jesus was baptized) for a good conscience that we know what we are asking for. For forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. It’s part of obeying God and saying, “Here I am. I am yours. Change my life as you see fit. I’m a sinner. Forgive me. I need you, Lord.” When you realize you need Him, humble yourself and ask for His grace and forgiveness with all your heart because when you search with all your heart, there, is where you will find Him patiently waiting.
God does probe us. He probes our hearts to see what the heart says. Sometimes we hear Him asking questions like the following, “What are you doing here? What do you want? What are you asking for? Why are you trying to earn grace? Why are you doing what you doing?”
Why does God probe us? How does He probe us? By tests of faith, trials, and struggles. Even by discipline. God is our divine counselor. He doesn’t always instantly stop things. The test, trial, or struggle lasts until He says so. The length and depth of the test are in His control. God listens to us. He wants us to think and work through the problem. He wants us to learn and grow with change. As our divine counselor, He wants you to answer Him back and pray without ceasing. He wants us to realize we need Him. Sometimes through a discipline which is His love for us. He wants us to feel with the heart and mind what needs to be corrected and done. God brings about a transformation from the inside and then out. It has to start from within. Part of examining ourselves.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
God does not change. It is we who need to change. He is perfect in all His ways. God desires love and mercy.
God gives grace, love, and mercy because of who He is. One who is full of grace. In the same way, we are to show others grace, love, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. Grace is not based on our works but by God’s work. His grace offers salvation into eternity. God shows His favor upon those who are humble and not proud.
The last thing I want to say to you is another Bible quote: “2 Peter 1:2 – Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Amen! God is good and God is good all the time…