09. Grace

John Bradford was an English Reformer who lived in the 16th century. One day when he saw criminals led to their execution, he is said to have exclaimed, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” He knew that were it not for divine grace, he could easily have been one of the criminals going to the gallows.

What is grace? Grace is the unmerited favor that God bestows upon us, not because we have done anything to earn it, but simply because God wants us to have it out of his generosity. Imagine a beggar sitting by the side of the road, homeless and penniless, destined to die on the streets on which he lives. A king passes by and suddenly showers him with gold. The beggar didn’t do anything to deserve this sudden outpouring of treasure; the king just wanted to let him have a gift out of the generosity of his heart.

God is like that king, and we are like that beggar. We may want to lay claim upon many things, including salvation, but the fact of the matter is we cannot. Like that beggar, we are spiritual paupers, destined to die in our sin. We cannot do anything to earn salvation, but God gifted it to us in his infinite mercy. As Paul said: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Now, having been saved by grace so that none of us can boast, what makes us think that God will allow us to boast about our ongoing salvation? Therefore, if we can lead lives that are relatively “holy,” we can do this, too, only because of the grace of God. Consider a pencil that is held upright. If it remains standing, it is only because someone is holding it. The moment the person releases the pencil, it will fall. We are like a pencil held in God’s hands. If we can lead holy lives, it is only because God is holding us up with his grace.

If we can understand this—internalizing its truths and realizing that without God’s favor, we are miserable, pathetic, doomed creatures—we will become more sympathetic to the weaknesses and failings of others instead of being accusatory and condemning. We will become a *gracious* people because we have known and understood grace.

I want to leave you with Paul’s advice to the Colossians: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:13-14).

God bless you.

More in this category: « 07. To Look Ahead 10. Contentment »
Click here for the extended "LIVE" versions:
1. Abundant Life
2. Perseverance
3. Humility
4. Rest
5. To Abide
6. To Wait
7. To Look Ahead
8. Light
9. Grace
10. Contentment
11. Love
12. Repentance
13. To Forgive
14. To Surrender
15. Joy
16. Faith
17. Discipline
18. Hope
19. Freedom
20. Gratitude
21. To Listen
22. Truth
23. Peace
24. Encouragement
25. To Imitate Christ
26. Friendship
27. Unity
28. To Remember
29. Conversion
30. Generosity
31. Revival
32. Integrity
33. Excellence
34. To Serve
35. Tongue Control
36. Courage
37. Wisdom
38. Purity
39. Stewardship
40. To Evangelize
Choice 01 — I Choose Abundant Life
Choice 01 — I Choose Abundant Life
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose the *Abundant Life*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an *expanded 30-minute live version* of this reflection, please visit https://bit.ly/ichooseabundantlife
Transcript
Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal Read More
Choice 02: I Choose Perseverance
Choice 02: I Choose Perseverance
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Perseverance*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an *expanded 30-minute live version* of this reflection, please visit : https://bit.ly/ichooseperseverance
Transcript
One day Jesus told his disciples a parable to show Read More
Choice 03: I Choose Humility
Choice 03: I Choose Humility
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Humility*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an expanded 30-minute live version of this reflection, please visit: https://bit.ly/ichoosehumility
Transcript
One day when Jesus was dining with a group of Read More
Choice 04: I Choose Rest
Choice 04: I Choose Rest
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *To Rest*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an expanded 30-minute live version of this reflection, please visit: https://bit.ly/ichooserest
Transcript
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary Read More
Choice 05: I Choose to Abide
Choice 05: I Choose to Abide
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *To Abide*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an expanded 30-minute live version of this reflection, please visit: https://bit.ly/ichoosetoabide
Transcript
One of the loveliest pictures Jesus painted is the one Read More
Choice 06: I Choose to Wait
Choice 06: I Choose to Wait
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose to *Wait*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an expanded 30-minute live version of this reflection, please visit: https://bit.ly/ichoosetowait
Transcript
One of my favorite passages of Scripture — I have Read More
Choice 07: I Choose to Look Ahead
Choice 07: I Choose to Look Ahead
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose to *Look Ahead*. Please share the video and bless others. 
To watch an *expanded 30-minute live version* of this reflection, please visit https://bit.ly/ichoosetolookahead.
Transcript
Disappointments are a part of life. So is failure. So, also Read More
Choice 08: I Choose Light
Choice 08: I Choose Light
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Light*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an *expanded 30-minute live version* of this reflection, please visit https://bit.ly/ichooselight.
Transcript
Have you ever had to navigate a room in the darkness? Read More
Choice 09: I Choose Grace
Choice 09: I Choose Grace
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Grace*. Please share the video and bless others. 
To watch an *expanded 30-minute version* of this reflection, please https://bit.ly/ichoosegrace.
Transcript
John Bradford was an English Reformer who lived in the 16th century. One day Read More
Choice 10: I Choose Contentment
Choice 10: I Choose Contentment
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Contentment*. Please share the video and bless others. 
To watch an *expanded 30-minute version* of this reflection, please visit https://bit.ly/ichoosecontentment.
Transcript
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote: "I know what it is Read More

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