To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (NIV)
“Rise and shine! Give God glory!” My mother woke the house up with that phrase every morning when I was a kid. Good Sunday morning, people! I hope you’re have a blessed start to the week. Today’s poem again comes from Jon Jorgenson. It is entitled, “What is Grace?”
What is grace?
We hear that word a lot, but do we know what it means. Jorgenson defines grace using it as an acronym of several phrases starting with G, R, A, C, and E, but many church goers are taught that grace means unmerited favor. Well, with me being an English major, I love giving people the definition of a word they tend to use incorrectly. So let’s look at the definition of unmerited favor. Unmerited means undeserving, unearned. Favor can be defined as aid, assistance, support, blessing. Put that together and we have undeserving or unearned aid, assistance, support, or blessings. Like an unfair advantage, almost.
Now, I can understand why that can be an acceptable definition “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace” (Romans 3:23-24), but what bothers me about the unmerited favor definition is the word “unmerited.” That word tells me that I can do anything, whatever I want and know that God will save me because I have unmerited favor. Hmmm, let’s look back at that verse from Romans. I intentionally left off the rest of verse 24 because I feel some people forget the most important part of grace: Jesus Christ.
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24).
Jesus Christ was sent down to die for our sins, and for those of us who confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Savior and Lord then we are saved by the grace of God. So, don’t live your life recklessly because you think you have unmerited favor, “For all sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:14-15). By the grace of God, be righteous. Go out and spread the good news that Jesus is risen to those who are lost. Do it without judgement and with a humble heart, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 NKJV).
Before I leave off with the poem, here’s one last definition of grace from the pastor of my church, Pastor Michael Thomas of Love and Faith Christian Fellowship in Greensboro, NC: “The power and presence of God, enabling us to do what he created us to do, and enabling us to be what he created us to be.”
Now you have no reason to say you don’t know what grace is.