It is now the end of November. Our weather has not quite turned into full-fledged winter, but most of the leafy trees are close to bare. Not this cedar tree in my front yard! It will stay green all year round. Hot, cold, rainy, dry, sunny, cloudy, stormy or calm, this tree will stay green.
God’s grace is just like that! His grace is a constant that we can rely on and be secure in.
What is Grace?
Grace is the goodwill, kindness, and favor of God toward us. HELPS Word studies gives us the picture of God leaning in towards us to share benefits with us, because He is favorably disposed toward us.
God loves us more than our imaginations could ever fathom! Because of His love He gives us grace upon grace, as John 1:16 says: “From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.” (NLT) I grew up in church, often singing
“Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God has done.” (Johnson Oatman, Jr. 1897)
In the United States we celebrated Thanksgiving this past week. There are so many things we can be thankful for, and the Bible tells us that each and every one of them is a gift from God. “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father.” (James 1:17) We have countless gifts and blessings which we could never earn; they are simply gifts! Can you earn your next breath? Or your tomorrow? Or your sight? Or your ability to smell? None of this can be earned!
Not only are these gifts freely given to us, they are given to those of us who are good and bad, righteous and unrighteous alike. Jesus told us that the Father “gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (Matthew 5:45)
If these blessings were based on merit, we could never receive them. But they are free gifts! Aren’t you grateful? That’s enough to jump up and dance about!
But wait, there’s more!
We just finished giving thanks for all that God has done for us, but we are headed into the Christmas season when we will celebrate His greatest gift of grace. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17) He doesn’t want us to be judged and condemned, He wants us to be saved! We are saved simply through believing in Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son. We can’t earn our salvation, we can only accept it as a gift from an infinitely loving Father.
How should we respond?
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18) Three instructions, and all of them are tied to God’s grace.
- “Always be joyful.” The joy we are to always be full of is tied to grace. “Joy” (Gr. xará) and “grace” (Gr. xáris) have the same Greek root, and therefore are very closely related. We are to habitually delight in the grace of God!
- “Never stop praying.” When you know the good character of your Heavenly Father, how could you ever give up asking for His will to be done on earth? Remember, He is favorably disposed toward us. He has the best in store for us, no matter what our circumstances try to tell us. Remind yourself of his grace, and don’t give up!
- “Be thankful in all circumstances.” Let’s go back to the Greek again for another gem. To be thankful (Gr. euxaristéō) is a combination of good (Gr. eú) and . . . grace (Gr. xáris)!!! We are to be thankful for God’s good grace, knowing that it works for both our eternal good and for his own glory.
God is always, infinitely full of grace. How will you respond today?
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