Grace Turned Outward. What does it mean?

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We’ve been forgiven, so we forgive.
We’ve been loved, so we love.
We’ve been freely accepted, so we accept others freely.
We’ve been given mercy, so we are merciful.
We have escaped judgment, so we do not judge.
We’ve been welcomed in, so we welcome all.
The door was opened for us, so we left it open to others.
We are different people from what we were;
We are Grace Turned Outward.

My wife pointed out to me yesterday that we don’t always forgive; we don’t always love; we don’t always accept others freely; we aren’t always merciful; we often judge; we are not always welcoming; and we sometimes close the door behind us because we don’t want to let just anybody in. I realized what I had created in this list was the ideal — the perfect. I should have mentioned that.

I also should have mentioned that we can’t pull off any of this on our own without the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that changes our hearts and overcomes in us, the tendency we have in ourselves to manifest the opposite of these attitudes.

I also find this list a sort of test of whether I have understood and received any of these things myself. For instance, if I can’t forgive, I am most likely not believing my own forgiveness. I am still trying to pay for my sins so I must make others pay. If I can’t be merciful, I’m not believing God’s mercy towards me. If I can’t love, it’s a sure sign that I am not believing I am loved. I am not accepting God’s love for me; I am still trying to earn it.

It is, all in all, a truly humbling thing. We come to the Lord with nothing but our sin. We do what any man or woman does when face to face with the holiness of God — we fall on our face before Him. And what does He do? He forgives us, accepts us, loves us, shows us mercy, welcomes us, and doesn’t judge us. What can we do but receive these incredible gifts? And in receiving them, believe them. And through the Holy Spirit in us who teaches us all things, and empowers us to believe, we turn all these gifts outward to those around us. We become Grace Turned Outward.

This is not a process. We either step into it or out of it. The choice is always there.

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3 Responses to Grace Turned Outward. What does it mean?

  1. Mark S. says:

    Great points from Marti!

  2. Sandie says:

    John – I do think it is a process…a continuing one that is only completed (perfected) when I see Jesus face-to face. I know that I keep stepping out of grace and will continue to do so as long as the old sin nature is there to contend with. I am saved – and being saved…God sees me as perfect through Jesus, yet is still perfecting me through the power of the Spirit. I straddle two worlds and sometimes feel more comfortable in the old one – until God gives me a good spiritual shaking. Paul’s spiritual battle in Romans describes me to a ‘T.’ When I realized the truth of 1 John 1:9 – realized I had to continually shed the old nature – that I had Jesus’ help and forgiveness every time…that is my spiritual life jacket for when I find myself sinking.

  3. Terri Main says:

    I find that I do best when I am walking “in the spirit.” I think about it this way. If I link arms with you and you are stronger than me, I have to go where you go. I have to let go of you to go somewhere else. I may not stray far and I may return, but I have to step away from you to go someplace you are not going.

    So, if I’m holding on to Christ’s hand and someone hits me, I have to step away from Christ to go to a place where I can hit back. If I see someone whom I consider beneath myself and God is walking toward him, I have to walk away from God to steer clear of that person.

    In each case, I have to walk away, even if it is temporary, from Christ to act in a manner in which he would never act.

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