Grace for Today. Know Grace, Know Peace.

Grace & PeaceIt became known over the past week that a major celebrity “has fallen” in the public’s eye. This time over a choice word that has both a negative and discriminatory meaning & tone. This person is welcomed into many millions of homes through programs because of her gift/talent. No one would suspect her of saying words to harm someone. Many people have been helped by this person and they go out to buy books and other branded merchandise too. However, with the admission of saying ONE WORD or taking the wrong ACTION – it’s beginning to crash. It makes waves in the press. Bloggers and commentators have a field day with the news. Many people get wind of it and start condemning.

HOWEVER, forgiveness was quickly sought and an apology made. She knew she did wrong and admitted it and asked for forgiveness.

It didn’t seem to make a difference to some groups. They continued to banish and make this person an outcast. They *quickly* turned their backs. Cancelled their agreements. Put distance between themselves and this “bad person” who is still nameless in this post.

What is missing? Not this person’s name. but one word: GRACE.

Grace is often used to describe God’s gift to mankind. It’s unmerited favor from God toward us, a band of sinners, as He grants us favor and gives us those things we do not deserve – and could never earn.

Grace is GETTING WHAT YOU DO NOT DESERVE.

As a Christian believer, we treasure this verse:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

We can never earn grace. Taking an honest look at it, we could never stack up or justify why we deserve it from a holy God. As Christians, we should greet each other with Grace and Peace. No grace, then no peace… and if we Know Grace, we Know Peace. Both Grace & Peace were even the classic greeting from the Apostle Paul in the scriptures: Grace to you & Peace from God.

Grace in the Greek is charis. While it is a common greeting for Paul, it’s also a deep theological term. Paul KNOWS GRACE as he was once one that condemned, beat and killed the early believers of Christ. Yes, Jesus, who died for Paul (and each of us). But Christ reached out to Paul and made sure he knew it was Him, Jesus, who he persecuted. See, persecution is both powerful and personal. It cuts to the core of a person. It can attack their heart, soul and body. The dictionary would say that persecution is to “Subject (someone) to hostility and ill-treatment, esp. because of their race or political or religious beliefs.” Grace is a remedy to persecution. I believe that’s what Paul was conveying in 2 Corinthians about how the Lord spoke to him saying:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Many people liken grace to mean that God is eager to save people from Hell. He did change His own position and nature to humble Himself to “take on human flesh” not for His gain, but for ours. And He continues to step in to strengthen us in our need. To help me remember the heart of GRACE, I think of the acronym that describes GRACE as:
God’s
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense

So what was paid at Christ’s expense? YOUR LIFE. Both now and forever.

We deserve to be judged and condemned. However, the true judge isn’t someone here on earth. Rather, it is the ultimate Judge in heaven – God the Father. Jesus spoke of this judgment throughout his days on earth.

“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
Of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
Of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
John 16:8-11

The “judgment” coming in the Greek is the word: krisis. And a “crisis” it will be for those who do not believe in the name of Jesus. It means “a separating, sundering, separation” or selection” … a result of a trial, contest.” This also helps put persecution in this world into perspective. If we know Him, we will be spared. If one rejects Christ, they accept the judgment.

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Hebrews 9:27-28

The result of this judgment is that we need a payment or debt to forgive us of our sins. This can only come from Jesus. He then rejoins and brings us back to His Father. It’s GOD’S GRACE that makes this happen in the life of the believer. Won’t you accept Him into your life today. Accept His payment. Accept His GRACE and receive His peace as a result.

A beautiful song from Hillsong of their Zion album that is inspiring & convicting at the same time – SCANDAL OF GRACE.