Posted by: minnow | July 1, 2011

Grace Response

Have you ever felt you were just about to experience an ah-ha moment?  When I feel as though I am standing on the cusp of those ah-ha encounters I know it is the Spirit.  Most of the time ah-has simply come.  If I am already in a calm or receptive mind-set I recognize them more or less after the fact but am still able to gain a nugget of insight.  On occasion however, I have a premonition and I can lean into what I am about to receive.  These are the best ah-ha’s because I see the Spirit as a guide, that focuses my attention on the main point.  By acknowledging the Spirit’s presence I give myself a better chance to let the ah-ha sink in, reach deeper, and get a better hold in my life.  Recently I had that kind of ah-ha.  It had to do with understanding the strength of Christ’s love, the promise of Spirit’s ongoing presence, and what it means to walk in Grace.

Let me try to explain.  Most Christians I know use the term Grace when they really mean Mercy.  This is not to say Mercy is a bad thing.  When the Bible tells us to forgive I think it is primarily talking about offering Mercy toward others.  Mercy basically means showing people less judgment or hostility than they deserve.  It doe not mean we pretend so-and-so did not commit the crime or make the offense; only that we forgive him for the crime or offense he committed.  Under the law a person may face punishment or need to make some sort of retribution for something she has done but it does not take the offense away or cause it to never have been committed.  Mercy is all about moving on and second chances.

Those who make a distinction between Mercy and Grace often say, “Grace is undeserved favor.”  Romans 11:6 seems to support this concept–“[Speaking about the chosen remnant from Israel] And if by grace it [their being chosen] cannot be based on works; if it were grace would no longer be grace.”  But let’s face it Mercy is most often undeserved (not based on works) as well.  So no, Grace is more than undeserved.  And it is more than favor.  Just look at Galatians 2:21 and 5:4: “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ dies for nothing!…You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”  Our justification and righteousness in relationship to God are ours because of God’s Grace.  While our justification and righteousness are certainly favor in the sense of a gift, they are not favor as Christians typically use the word, AKA as a synonym for poured out blessings.   1 Peter 4:9-11 adds even more insight:

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

The chapter goes on to instruct its readers to not be put off by hardships that come one’s way because of one’s faith.  Hardship–not exactly the favor we like to imagine God pouring out on us.

In the passage mentioned above the idea of using everything we have been given (and incidentally everything we have we have been given) to serve those around us is directly connected to Grace.  Maybe it reads differently to you but manifesting Grace by walking out my relationship to God in service to (AKA to the benefit of) others is a huge ah-ha for me!  But even more amazing is the ah-ha the Spirit whispered to me before I started researching the word Grace.  In one of the many conversations I have had lately with youngest son (about mercy and grace and sin and the us-them mentality and witnessing and the Other and…) I heard the Spirit explain: it is not that Grace is blind to sin; Grace, in fact, is God’s response to sin.  Let me repeat that: Grace is God’s response to sin.

Grace does not take sin into account in the sense of measuring the weight of sin to hold it against us.  Instead, Grace sees the hole created by sin and fills the hole.  God’s distribution of Grace (love, kindness, forgiveness, mercy, patience, joy, peace, hope, restoration, encouragement, gentleness, perseverance) is as generous to the last as it is to the first.  And, when we are faithful stewards of the Grace given us, we partnership with Him in its distribution.

Here are some links to other SynchroBlog posts:

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Responses

  1. Interesting points

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  19. “Grace is God’s response to sin” Wow! Love that…that may have been an “a-ha” moment for me! Loved reading this post, Minnow. Love that you listen and hear from the Spirit! God bless!

  20. […] Minnow – Grace Response […]

  21. […] Minnow – Grace Response […]


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