[reprinted from January 11, 2010]
In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over everyone who doesnâ€™t obey God. Once we were also ruled by the selfish desires of our bodies and minds. We had made God angry, and we were going to be punished like everyone else.
But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and Godâ€™s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is Godâ€™s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isnâ€™t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. Thatâ€™s why he sent Christ to make us what we are. Â Â Â Â Ephesians 2:1-10 (CEV)
â€œGraceâ€ is one of those church words that brings beautiful, soft feelings to mind. I think too often we use a word and do not consider what the word really means. And so we miss the power of that word.
Paul was a Jew who took great pride in his knowledge and obedience to the Law. He knew the chains and the ultimate failure in trying to follow the Law. Given by God, it was the beginning of the relationship between God and His children. It was the Old Testament bridge to bring sinful children closer to their Holy Father God.
On the road to Damascus, Paul came into intimate contact with the answer to his heart question, â€œHow do I, a sinner, find a way to live in the presence of God?â€ Paul met Jesus and found the way â€“ â€œgraceâ€. Paul talked about grace in every letter. He brought the Word to every church in different packages but at the heart of every message was â€“ Godâ€™s grace.
â€œGraceâ€ is Godâ€™s love. It is Godâ€™s free gift of His love. Grace is love that has no conditions because if there was any condition â€“ I would not be able to receive the gift! Grace is given because God loved us first. I cannot brag that I turned to God first or that I became â€˜good enoughâ€™ to receive His love. God gave His love to me thousands of years before I was born. From the moment that Eve and Adam chose themselves before God, God chose to save me and everyone before me and everyone who comes after me. Godâ€™s love does not divide and become less with each child but instead multiplies to give the full measure of His love to each of His children.
It has been interesting in my own life and the lives of many I have met, that we have trouble accepting Godâ€™s grace. We continue to look at the love that we have experienced and determine that Godâ€™s unconditional love, grace, cannot be real. And if it is real, we cannot be worthy of such extravagance and so we turn away and live with a â€˜make doâ€™ attitude. We â€˜make doâ€™ on our own love. My love alone cannot withstand the â€˜bruises and lacerationsâ€™ that come with my life and its relationships. It is only with accepting Godâ€™s love that I find love that fills me and love that spills over to others. Enough.
Power of Your Love written by Geoff Bullock and sung by Hillsong Worship Team