Grace

“In Him we have redemption through His blood,
 the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
Ephesians 1:7-8a

The gospel in one sentence!  “In Him” and through no other.  There is no other way to be made right with God except through Jesus.  “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)  “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)  How do you know if a church, or a person, or a group is of God?  If they preach Jesus as the way to salvation , and only Jesus through faith, then they are speaking the truth.  If they insist that baptism, or church membership, or tithing, or anything else is necessary for salvation, then they are not teaching God’s Word.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” Redemption is the buying or something.  You “redeem” a coupon.  You trade a coupon for the price on it.  That’s exactly what Jesus did!  He paid the price for our sin through His blood, and bought our eternal salvation!  That redemption includes the forgiveness of our sins.  It also includes a relationship with the Father, eternal life, grace, mercy, and righteousness!  Wow!  He paid the whole price.  There is none left for you to pay.  You don’t owe God anything!  He just wants you to sit with Him and fellowship with Him!

And He did all of this “according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”  Grace – what is it really?  It is God choosing to look past our actions and claiming our hearts.  Grace is God loving us in spite of our humanness.  Grace is God’s unconditional love.  He loves you just because you are His. Period.  You don’t have to perform to get His love.  You don’t have to be beautiful to get His love.  You don’t have to say the right words to get His love.  If you believe and ask for His forgiveness with your tongue and your heart, then you will be saved and are a child of God’s! 

Notice that God gives this grace according to His riches and He lavishes it on us.  He owns everything, so He is the richest!  He has what He offers to give.  He is God of the universe, of the earth, and of your heart if you let Him.  He lavishes this grace on us.  He does not hold back.  He does not make us prove our worth.  He gives good gifts because we are His children.

So if grace is ours, why not sin?  Paul answers that in Romans chapter 6!  To sum that chapter up, grace is ours, but out of gratitude and worship we grow in righteousness.  We are no longer slaves to sin.  We can now choose to sin or act righteously.  A Christian can and does sin.  But by following God’s moral laws, the Christian can avoid a lot of heartache nowand as he stands before God.  When Christians choose to live a righteous life, they have full fellowship, guidance, and peace with God.  The backslidden Christian is no less God’s child, but oh the price he pays to live his own life instead of following Jesus.  Ruth Bell Graham wrote a poem about two sheep.  One follows Jesus throughout life and skips joyfully into heaven.  The other goes his own way, does his own thing, and limps into heaven scarred and battleworn.  I want to be the first sheep!  And I (and you) can be by practicing the presence of God, following Him through His Word, and listening to His voice.

God loves you.  He has extended grace and mercy to you.  Accept it in its fullness.  It will save you a lot of heartache later and will bring you great joy now!

Hint of the day: Sometime when your child does something deserving of punishment, tell him/her that you are going to extend grace to them and not dole out their punishment.  Let them know that they are not getting away with something, but rather you are going to pay their priace. Kiss and hug them and send them on their way. Then go sit in the timeout chair yourself.  Do it with joy!  After your timeout is over, go on about your day.  That evening have a discussion about how grace extended to your child made them feel.  Tell them that you recieved joy by taking their punishment for them because you love them.  Then tell them that Jesus went to the cross willingly with joy because of His love for us.  We don’t have to pay a penalty for our sins, because He took it for us! 
A great example of this is the child’s book, The Whipping Boy.

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