God’s Grace

Read: Ephesians 2:4-9

Some years ago a school bus driver in Texas was nominated for a safe driving award by the local school district.  The day of the ceremony in which she and others were going to be recognized had finally come.  All of the drivers boarded a bus that this woman was asked to drive across town to where the awards banquet was going to be held.

On the way there she turned a corner too sharply and flipped the bus over on its side, sending herself and sixteen other colleagues to the hospital for minor emergency treatment.  The awards ceremony was postponed and the awards committee decided later that they could no longer recognize this women with an award even though her driving record with school children before that accident was spotless.

Award committees rarely operate on the principle of grace.  In fact, our world rarely operates on the principle of grace.  So often people become enraged to a point that nothing less than revenge or seeing someone pay for something is the only final result that is acceptable.  The mention of mercy is so often met with a deaf ear.

We are fortunate that God operates in a different way.  In Ephesians 2:4-8 the Bible says, “But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you.  God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven.  God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done.  You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve.”

How blessed we are that even when we don’t maintain a spotless life-record, our final reward depends on God’s grace, not on our performance.  When we name our sins and ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins he will do so without hesitation or second thought.  When we live for Jesus and receive this wonderful gift from him our relationship with God is restored and made right.

And oh yes, there is one more very important verse a little bit later on in Ephesians.  In chapter 4, verse 32 it says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  A reminder that could make our lives and our world a much better place to live in together.  Receive the gift of God’s grace in your life and then go out and extend grace to others.

Make it personal:  Is there someone or something that has been a burden in your life recently?  Ask yourself if grace might be a path to relieve that burden from you..  Too often we carry the weight of anger and revenge when the freeing option of grace and forgiveness is really the way to healing and restoration.  This often requires us to put aside our pride and arrogance and become humble.  After all grace begins with humility.

Have a grace filled week,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church