THE GREATEST GIFT
The greatest gift God has given to mankind is His grace. We are saved by grace through faith. The grace of God was given to us when God sent His only son to take our sin upon him on the cross. By faith, we repent and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. So why has the grace of God has become a controversial subject in the church in recent years?
Critics today often refer to it as the “Grace Movement”. Unfortunately, many people are weary of the message of grace. The reason that God’s grace has become so controversial is because there is so much misunderstanding about grace. The word grace has been misused and abused by people that don’t understand its true meaning. Many people in today’s society have manipulated the Word of God to fit their lifestyles and to excuse sin.
Let’s discuss what grace is not. Grace is not a free pass to sin because God loves me and he knows my heart. You hear people today say “God knows my heart”. Beloved, God does know your heart. He knows it better than you do in fact. Look at what God’s Word says about your heart:
Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
God is the only one who truly knows your heart. You just read the verse above that says the heart is deceitful above all things. That means that even you can actually be deceived by your own heart. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can be independent from God. Don’t think you can do whatever you want and that God will be fine with it.
Many people say “God is love and He loves me no matter what I do”. Yes, God does love you no matter what you do, but that does not make it okay to go ahead and live in willful sin.
The Bible is not a buffet in which you can pick and choose which parts you like and discard the rest. When we attempt to do this, we are actually worshipping an Idol. If it does not match God’s Word, it is not God. We cannot change God’s Word to fit our lifestyle. The truth is that we are commanded to change our minds to fit God’s Word.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
There is a reason God wants you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind to His Word. It is because God created man in His Image. God loves you and He created you to look and speak and act like Him. His plan for you is better than anything you could try to plan for yourself. When you renew your mind in God’s Word, you are resetting your mind, will and emotions to conform to the plan of God for your life.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GRACE OF GOD?
The grace of God is often described as the unmerited favor of God. Meaning, we did not earn it and we do not deserve it but God did it for us anyways because of His overwhelming love for us. The chorus of the song Reckless Love says it well: “I didn’t earn it and I don’t deserve it, yet you give yourself away.” Grace is an attribute of God, it is a part of who He is. When God extends His grace towards us, He is actually giving Himself to us. He already did give Himself to us in the form of Jesus on the cross. Jesus was the Word made flesh.
Grace was when Jesus suffered in agony to pay the price for our sin. We did not and could not ever earn or deserve his sacrifice. He did not give his life for us so that we could owe Him. He did it so we could have abundant life. He did it because God so loved the world. He did it because of who He is and not because of what we have done.
Once you accept Jesus as the King of your heart and Lord over your life, the Bible says God casts your sin as far as the east is from the west. Think about that. The east never touches the west. It is an infinite distance. That is pretty far! You see, grace is not a license to sin, it is freedom from sin. The grace of God empowers us to live as he created us to live - free from the bondage of sin and death. This does not mean that you become perfect and you will never make a mistake. It means that when you do make a mistake, you quickly repent, get your heart right with God, and continue your relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit.
Once you become born again, the Bible says you are cloaked in Jesus’s righteousness (right standing with God). GOD no longer sees you for your imperfections, instead He looks at you and sees Jesus’s perfection and righteousness. That is something that we could never attain on our own or work towards. That is God’s amazing grace.