“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:2 NIV
Can we just stop a moment here and receive that truth? God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give us grace and peace at this very moment. Can we just keep it uncomplicated, not allowing thoughts of unworthiness to enter in and just simply receive? We love to complicate things and make excuses for why we can’t be receivers of good things, or we try to find ways in which to pay for these gifts. Just receive it…now.
But what exactly is it that we receive? What is grace? What is peace?
Synonyms for grace include kindness, acceptance, approval, support, helpfulness, generosity and respect to name a few. But these words fall short in describing the totality that God gifts us.
“That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:19-22 NIV. Christ took on ALL the sins of the world. He was deader than dead in God’s eyes but yet God raised him – not only from the dead, but raised him FAR ABOVE all. No one can argue that this is indeed AMAZING GRACE. And this same grace He gives us! “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV
He sees us through His Son. How does that impact your heart? Do we have a full appreciation of this attitude? It was through Mending the Soul Program by Steven and Celestia Tracy that I discovered the depths of my own darkness. Not only that, but light also illuminated the brokenness within the world. Once my eyes were opened, I began to understand the profundity of God’s grace. Grace flows from a knowledge of what is before us and what I can do to mend the brokenness with unity. Let me offer an example. I receive that nasty email that sends daggers straight into my heart. I am hurt deeply. While my feelings are justified, they cannot dictate my response. What is before me is a wounded warrior, another one of me, broken and desperate for soul healing. I have a choice. To expand the separation or to bring unity. As a child of God, it is my responsibility to unify – and glorify my Father. For He is my Father, not the prince of this world. How do I do this?
God has given us examples throughout the Old and New Testaments: forgiving without being asked or without expecting anything in return. Some may say He expects repentance first, but I would say that repentance is the fruit of receiving His forgiveness. He forgives AND heals. We just don’t forgive and walk away. We forgive and move closer. These times illuminate for me the purity of God and how His purity is revealed by His grace. This is the purity that I set my hope upon. It is remembering His grace to me that I take off my armor and put on His robe, inviting His lost sheep into the folds of warmth and safety. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV. It is me responding to that email, not as my flesh would have it but as my spirit directed and powered by Holy Spirit. It is me humbling myself to what is true and what is broken. It is me asking for forgiveness while also offering to love. This is not easy. This is where we begin to get an idea of the power needed to raise us from the dead. That’s mighty power indeed!
The joy of seeing the dark within ourselves and caring for the wounds of others births in us the understanding and appreciation of grace. We live in a new freedom as we come to understand His gift. It is returning to the Garden and walking with God. “In him and through him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Ephesians 3:12
“Grace is the opportunity, or even the power, to reclaim the life that we were suppose to have from Creation.” (Beautiful statement by my husband Vincent Kame.) Grace strips us of our worldly masks and gives back our identity in the image of God. It is returning to a place of wholeness.
It is God saying, “Let Me show you a better way. May I move closer to you and guide you?” It is laying down all that we are and putting on all that He is – a robe of royalty, a robe of righteousness. Grace is God offering me His presence. Are we experiencing unhindered fellowship with God? Do we offer others unhindered fellowship with ourselves? It is grace that frees us to move closer to one another. I have had a few beautiful people in my life who have let the grace of God flow through them to heal my wounds and pull away the masks. This unexpected grace continues to surprise me. But their grace has freed me to trust in the goodness of humanity and the faithfulness of God, so that I too may then extend grace to others. Imagine if we could all bring the grace of God to this world? Wow! Life would be so different! Could it possibly…
“bring unity to all things in heaven and earth in Christ.”? Ephesians 1:10
Our hearts are moved to praise and worship as our understanding of His grace grows. It becomes our source of inner rest, peace. We will explore peace in the next In His Words. For now, let our minds ponder grace and let it sink in bringing healing, revelation and identity to the core of our being.
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I may sing praises to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever!” Psalm 30:11-12
(All bolded scripture is for my own emphasis)
Let us journey onward to “Praise God!”