Monday, May 27, 2013

The Grace Principle by Martin Wiles

I’m a pretty decent guy. I’ve never beaten my wife, abused my kids, or dishonored my parents-at least not since I was a teenager. I make an effort to love all people, and I’ve worked in numerous community organizations. I have a rich Christian heritage, and for most of my life have faithfully served God. I’ve visited the sick, prayed over the dying, preached funerals, and performed weddings. Surely all these tasks-along with numerous other honorable efforts, deserve God’s grace...or do they?

Paul probably felt the same. His accolades were impressive. Circumcised the eighth day, born into a pure-blooded Jewish family, a Pharisee, strict obedience to the Jewish law, persecutor of the church…

Eventually he realized his trophies had nothing to do with receiving God’s grace. Even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief (I Timothy 1:13 NLT).

God’s grace is undeserved and unattainable by my good works. This element of God’s grace is difficult to accept because our culture ingrains us with a works rewards philosophy. I perform at my job and my employer hands me a paycheck. I run faster than my competitors, and I receive a trophy. God rewards with salvation but not for anything I’ve done.

God delivers his grace simply because he loves. I can’t perform enough to earn it initially, nor can I obligate him thereafter to continue giving it. But his grace is also what sustains me. It carries me through tribulations, invigorates me for his work, and assures my eternity.

If you’ve been performing good deeds hoping to earn God’s grace, change your philosophy by remembering it’s a free gift given to all who ask.

Prayer: Thank You merciful Lord for giving us what we don’t deserve: forgiveness, mercy, and a beautiful eternity.

Why not top off this devotion by trying one of my wife's favorite recipes?

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