Grace turned outward

th-27Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God.

It is the knowledge that you are pleasing to God right now regardless of what you have or haven’t done.

Grace is the realization that you have already earned a place in the kingdom of God, but you didn’t do anything to get it.

Grace is knowing that the law has already been fulfilled. There isn’t anything more you can do or anything you can add on to make it any better.

Grace is knowing you’re forgiven.

Grace is receiving the gift of being everything you wanted to be.

Grace is looking in the mirror and liking what you see, only because you know that’s what God does.

Grace is a starting point. It’s starting at a point at which you never thought you could be, even if you spent your whole life working for it.

Grace is the absence of judgment.

Grace is utterly and completely received. There is nothing you can do to get it.

Believe it or not, we don’t like this. Grace, as wonderful as it seems, gets turned down every moment of every day. We don’t like it because we have nothing to do with it, and that doesn’t set well with us. We don’t like receiving free gifts; we get very nervous around that. We feel much better being in control of something. We were made this way — made to earn our way.  We want to get somewhere by following the rules or sit around and complain about how we can’t. But to start out where we are already pleasing to God … what is that? That doesn’t compute using the math we learned in school. It just doesn’t add up, and that makes us nervous, because if this is true for us, it’s true for everyone. And if this is true for everyone, then it changes dramatically how I see and treat other people.

Or as a friend of mine just taught me: “How dare I judge anyone that Christ gave His life to forgive.”

How dare I lay on other people burdens that Christ has not laid on me.

How dare I have one set of rules for me and another set for everyone else.

How dare I make a big deal about anyone else’s sin except my own.

These last few observations are all about grace turned outward. Once I realize and accept God’s grace for myself, I must of necessity apply it to everyone around me, or I am merely showing that I have, in fact, not received it for myself. You can’t turn grace outward without fully taking it in.

Surrender. Receive. Jesus paid it all; there’s nothing more you can do but accept it. And once you’ve accepted it, you won’t look at anyone the same way again.

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11 Responses to Grace turned outward

  1. Kevin Krabbenhoft says:

    I could barely focus on the sermon this Sunday and kept asking… Does the Church do a better job and judging people or loving people the way James describes we should show our faith with works. By the time the sermon ended, my notes were very similar to today’s Catch.
    1) The church has created hoops to jump through and does want to see salvation come to the lost… but on their terms…
    The Church has another list of complaints that resembles… ‘no work on the Sabbath’ … and as Jesus tackled the complaints of the Pharisees – God is about to tackle some “Christian Complaints” and remind us just how great his Grace is.
    2) The church needs to repent for how it has treated the lost / how it has represented Jesus to the lost

  2. Mark Seguin says:

    Amen Pastor John to this and please don’t feel alone in it too: ” Once I realize and accept God’s grace for myself, I must of necessity apply it to everyone around me, or I am merely showing that I have, in fact, not received it for myself. You can’t turn grace outward without fully taking it in.”

    Also: ” Surrender. Receive. Jesus paid it all; there’s nothing more you can do but accept it. And once you’ve accepted it, you won’t look at anyone the same way again.” Amen! And I got a lot out of today’s Catch and read it w/ tears falling down my cheeks, I think because I am still amazed that God’s grace extended to even me.

  3. Andrew P. says:

    Well, sure…but don’t forget things like 1 Cor. 5. It’s the balance that is so difficult. For a long time, we went too far one way. If you’re not careful, you’ll just end up going too far in the other.

    • jwfisch says:

      Careful. It’s not really a “balance.” A balance would be a little bit of grace and a little bit of law. It’s all grace, no law, but it’s what the grace is for, and what happens to me when I receive it that “balances” it out. Don’t you think? If someone uses grace as license, then they didn’t really receive it.

      • Mark Seguin says:

        I really like this very good and common sense: “If someone uses grace as license, then they didn’t really receive it.” I’ll add an Amen to that… 🙂

  4. Martha Nelson says:

    Thank you for a timely reminder!
    My favorite saying (when I am not being
    Miss ‘I try hard so why don’t you?’)
    is, “as soon as I become perfect I will expect everyone else to be – and TRUST me, everyone is SAFE!”

  5. Acts Chapt.11 is a another great example of grace when Peter had the vision and God told him, never call anyone uncommon or unclean that I (emphasis mine) before you. Peter then went into the Gentile nation to preach the Gospel to Cornelius and his household and they became saved. God is surely good, but I punish me for my failings and my road has not hit the end of receiving “that” grace that he freely gives. It just goes back to the day when I was always looked upon as “Bad.” Will not repeat the words spoken, yet this is me:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QldN5wvkOro

    • jwfisch says:

      “Roaming through the night to find my place in this world…” Yes, Colleen. That’s how we often feel. When in truth we have a place in heaven, and a job to do in the world.

  6. TimC says:

    There are many places in Scripture where this idea is presented, but sometimes we fail to see it. Romans is really all about grace.

    We hear that grace is freely given to us, but then we tend to refuse to give it to others. We hear that our debt has been paid, but we don’t believe it and then we pile on others. We jump on the bandwagon in Romans chapter 1 because we love to pile on others, but we tend to stop reading and our brains slip out of gear before we get to chapter 2, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” And we fail to see the links in the chain that bind us to Romans 3:23, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, … ” And the problem with that verse being so familiar is that we get hung up on it and stop reading.
    Fortunately, verse 24 follows verse 23 ” and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
    All are set free by God’s grace.
    Is that cool or what?

  7. The Grace is given to all, but that does not mean all shall inherit the Kingdom of God. We shall have to work for it and prove to be worthy to enter it. Faith without works is dead. (James)

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