Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Jumping Without a Parachute!
I have heard that jumping out of a plane without a parachute is a once in a lifetime experience. It isn’t one I think I need on my bucket list though I would someday like to jump out of a perfectly good airplane with the correct equipment securely strapped to my person. Could anything be more disconcerting than jumping through the open door of an airplane high in the sky without a parachute? Perhaps not, but I would also hate to go through life without grace too. In the overall scheme of things, if you have to choose…jump without the chute!
Grace is amazing! In regards to the chute…grace saves us from an even longer fall. It has been argued, that it isn’t the fall that gets you but rather the sudden stop at the end. Grace makes all the difference there too, it determines where you will land for eternity! Ephesians 2:8-9 in the New Living Translation says: God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Grace is what saves us. yes, it’s true, we are saved by the blood of Christ. His death was the action needed to pay the price for our sins, but the grace of God and His mercy toward us is what motivated such action on His part. Our belief in God’s grace does not make it so, nor does it activate it, our faith is simply a declaration that we believe that our Gracious God desires to give us eternal life through the sacrificial action of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Beyond being our saving grace…literally, grace instructs us in the way that God wants to see us live in this world. Titus 2:11-14 tells us; For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. The grace we are blessed to have access to teaches and empowers us to live in a world that is contrary to God. But wait there’s more… That same grace enables us to live victorious lives in spite of the world around us or the difficulties it so willingly heaps on our heads. Without that grace, we would not even be able to survive…with that grace, in Christ, we are able to thrive!
Grace is also the gift from God that sustains us through life’s difficulties. The Apostle Paul had a malady that made his life very difficult. It was such a distraction for him that he likened it to having a thorn in his side. The bible tells us that Paul asked God to remove that difficulty on three occasions and God’s answer was that He would not, but that He would give Paul the grace he needed to keep calm and carry on. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul relays God’s answer to his prayer for release from the annoying affliction; Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. God is always being so very good to us. Sometimes we might think that if we didn’t have to struggle under some hardship we would be better able to serve Him, I think that was likely Paul’s mindset. However, it is often the way that grace enables us to stand up under the weight of life’s adversities that speaks the loudest of our faith in Christ. Often times there is no greater teaching tool for us and no greater message for others than to witness grace in action in our lives. I have seen this very development played out in my own mother’s life. She has battled a debilitating disease for decades now. Though it has limited her other abilities in an increasing fashion over the years, it has not decreased her ability to praise her God with her very life. Enduring daily pain has become routine for her, but so has giving love and encouragement to others as they deal with their own adversity often minor in comparison to hers though she would never say so. She has for many years now illustrated that God’s power shows best in weakness, but her weak body has been able to strongly encourage others to use their strengths for God’s purposes. Her disease has stolen from and humbled her, but her Lord has increased her and upheld her! James 4:6 says and He gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
When you recognize all that grace means to our lives it is pretty awesome! Grace saves us, and we know nothing else can. Grace brings righteousness into our lives in an incredibly unrighteous world. Grace sustains us in our difficulties. It truly is Amazing Grace! Remember though, grace isn’t intended to stop there. 2 Corinthian 9:8 reminds us, And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
So now, saved by that grace, instructed by that grace, made sufficient by that grace, and supplied abundantly by that grace…Go Be Awesome!