What's this grace stuff?
"'For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!'" --Galatians 2:19-21; emphasis added.
The topic of grace has been buzzing in my head ever since my pastor began the mini series on "Gracious Christian Living."
Paul liked to begin his letters to the many churches he wrote to with "grace and peace to you from God our Father." What is grace? Google doesn't tell me much. I mean, don't get me wrong: I'm sure God has simple elegance or refinement of movement, but that's not what I'm looking for. A Bible Dictionary, however, gives me a better answer: "GRACE--favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that person deserves" (Nelson).
In spite of what the person deserves...
What caught me off guard was Galatians 2:21. The power of the cross would be nothing if we could receive grace on our own. That's what makes the fact that it's a gift from God so important and something we shouldn't take for granted.
I honestly don't know where I was going with this post idea, but a point keeps nagging at me: the Holy Spirit is in us and the Holy Spirit yearns for what God commands because they are essentially the same, so we ought to be gracious/merciful/compassionate/loving to God's children just as God would, regardless of what they have done or what they deserve. That leaves no room for holding grudges, envying, cursing, or any other negative action that we feel is necessary for the circumstances at hand.
I can speak from first-hand experience that it's definitely easier said than done. I feel like I'm constantly being tested in this sort of thing, and it's tough, but God is always providing for us!
P.S. I'm going to Unity Music Festival 2013 tomorrow, and I found that one of the bands' songs is about this topic of "Saving Grace." :) The end of this song's music video hit me hard. God is always there for you, no matter how hopeless life looks. NEVER FORGET THAT.