We now consider the most important characteristic in the training of the disciple of Jesus Christ. That is the quality of living the Christian life with grace. We use the word “grace” to describe many things in life:
- A well-coordinated athlete or dancer.
- Good manners and being considerate of others.
- Beautiful, well-chosen words.
- Consideration and care of other people.
- Various expressions of kindness and mercy.
To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she deserves. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.
Also, grace is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. Grace comes to us free and clear with no strings attached. It is the act of unmerited favor – most often to the down and out.
Christ came down from heaven and He reminds us that the greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves. The ladder of power reaches up, the ladder of grace reaches down. Dr. Donald Barnhouse said it best, “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”
Jesus never used the word itself. He just taught it and lived it. And it was written as a description of how He lived His life. The Apostle John describes Jesus’ glory as “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In a world of darkness and demands; rules and regulations; and requirements and expectations demanded by the hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus came and ministered in a new and different way.
After commenting on His glory, John goes on to add, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16). John and the other disciples became marked men. His style became theirs. They absorbed his tolerance, acceptance, love, warmth and compassion so that it ultimately transformed their lives. They too lived their lives demonstrating grace!
Thus grace is Christianity’s best gift to the world. It’s a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate.
Today I desire to be a person like Jesus – full of grace and truth.
Pray that God would fill your life with the ability to live with the grace of our Lord Jesus.