Saturday, March 13, 2010

Grace is Mission

The gospel in a nutshell: Jesus Christ was given to die for us and for his sake, our sins are forgiven when we believe in his name. What does that mean, to believe in his name? It means to be changed, converted, to repent of the former life and to live a new life in Christ. Simply put, it means to stop following the ways of all others (which lead to death) and to follow only Jesus who leads us to life. Christ followers were once dead in their sin but now, having been washed in the blood of Jesus, they are alive in him. They strive to live out their new life everyday in their thoughts, words and deeds. They strive to live such good lives in the world that people will give glory to the Father and will want themselves to follow Jesus the Son. How do you live such a life? You live gracefully, freely giving away from the grace upon grace which has been bestowed upon you by your Savior.

The Christian’s experience of grace is to be so transformative that we are “expected” (that is, the expected result is to be) to forgive quickly as we have been forgiven, to be merciful as we have been shown mercy, to believe and hope the best for people and to never give up on them. It is expected of us that because we love the One who showed us grace, we will feed his lambs, tend his sheep, shepherd his people. It is expected of us, by our master, that we who have been forgiven greatly will also greatly forgive. Why? Because we have received his grace, been changed by his grace, and therefore love him so much that we are willing to lay down our lives, our rights, and all that we have in order to serve him in this way.

God gave us his grace by giving us the Son. We now live in this grace of Jesus every day and from within that life with him we seek to be graceful ourselves and to flood the lives of those we encounter with grace.

Grace is contagious. We live in an often times grace starved world. People are hungry for grace.

What is grace? Grace is incarnate in Jesus Christ. It is the type of undeserved, unmerited, unearned, sacrificial love that God gave us in Christ. It is multiplied, honored, manifested, when we who have received this grace spread it around by treating others better than they deserve, surpass their expectations, and sacrifice ourselves or something of ourselves in acts of love (grace) to them.

Living gracefully makes Christ followers different. And that difference is noticed by a graceless world and when the people of that world ask us why we are so generous with grace we can tell them, “Because my master has treated me better than I deserve and I seek to do the same for others for the sake of his reputation.”

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