Amazing Grace

Do you remember those little sayings that help us remember important truths?  “Lefty loosey, righty tighty” was one. My children would hold up their hands, thumbs to the center and pointer fingers up.  The left hand formed an “L” and they knew that was the left.  I memorized “Grace: God’s riches at Christ’s expense.”  This week we are going to look at the third “solae”, Sola Gratia, grace alone, that came out of the reformation. Ephesians 2:8, “ For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” Is the verse often referenced.

        Core to this point is an underlying belief in the character of the God we profess.  Is God distant and remote, treating us as his robots or drones?  Is God a super gas existing in the atmosphere that makes life work but is impersonal?  Is God or the gods like all the Roman and Greek ones, limited in scope and power and having super powers in one area?  Sola Gratia affirms God as merciful and proactive with creation, initiating salvation out of love for us.  God comes to us with sunshine, with mercy, with forgiveness.  We do not work our way to God by our good deeds.

        John Newton wrote the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace”, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”  Newton was a British, outspoken atheist and slave trader who changed, became a pastor and spoke out against slavery in the mid 1700s.  God came to Newton in his lost-ness and sinful life and offered Newton salvation. 

        Most of us would agree that we do not “deserve” nor have the power to make the sun shine daily.  We probably do not even deserve to be forgiven.  But we believe we follow a God who proactively comes into our lives to walk with us and to lead us to a better place (perhaps that means walking through death with us) because of who he is, “by grace.”  Perhaps a good spiritual exercise today would be to think of five ways our lives are better because the God of the universe walks with us and cares and reaches out to us.  And let us pray for a peaceful resolution to the upcoming elections!  Lord, be merciful!

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