Grace is a pretty warm and fuzzy word. Isn’t grace all about forgiveness? Doesn’t it mean that I am released from any obligation to earn my own salvation? Of course I am forever thankful for that aspect of grace. But is there more to grace than this?
John 1:14 -16 tells us that Jesus became flesh and made his dwelling among us. That’s what Christmas celebrates, right? It goes on to tell us that through His flesh, we have the opportunity to see his glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father. Not only that, but verse 16 tells us that He is FULL of grace and truth. So when Jesus came as an embodied person, he showed us what it was like to be full of grace. Does this mean that He just walked about the planet spreading unmerited favor all over everyone? Or could it be that He demonstrates for us what it looks like for the fierce power of grace to make possible the seemingly impossible?
I’m learning that grace is not limited to warm and fuzzy unmerited favor. As I sing about grace, my thoughts often go to this place, “I’m unworthy and incredibly thankful that I’m now, by grace, enabled to be in relationship with God.” And, that’s where my reflection reaches the end of the road. But now, I’m coaxed to move further on down the road as I read John Piper’s article that states, “Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift and power of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.” Beth Moore beckons me further with this, “Grace is the divine means by which God makes Himself everything we need to utterly abound (2 Corinthians 9:8). It is the medicine that heals our bitterness (Hebrews 12:15). It is the floor where fallen people can come to their feet and stand (Romans 5:2). It is substance. It is sufficiency. It is joy and felicity. Here in 2 Timothy 2:1, grace is strength.” (The Limitless Power of Grace)
If all this is really truth, then during this Christmas season, I am in desperate need of a big piece of this extended and fierce grace! Romans 5:15 states that it’s possible for the grace that arrived on the first Christmas in the person of Jesus, to overflow to me! So I stop to connect with Him and to allow His grace to overflow to me and do the impossible when I’m tired, and overworked, and overly responsible, and just want to crawl into my bed and hide. I stretch my arms out and receive the overflow to enable me to put aside my grudges, to overlook the quirky annoying habits of those around me, to be full of hope and joy when life events seem to be taking a different direction than I’d like. Where in your life does Jesus need to overflow some of that fierce and powerful grace? Let’s stretch out our arms to receive it.
— Linda Noble, Our Journey Coordinator