For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no once can boast. Ephesians 2: 8 – 9
Yesterday afternoon Bob and I attended the funeral of a dear friend from our church. It was a wonderful service, so fitting for the faithful and loving servant he has been during his life. His favorite song, that beautiful old hymn, “Amazing Grace“, was sung, accompanied by a violin and guitar. As I closed my eyes and listened to those sweet words, the tears came – not only for the loss we all felt, but also for the way this song touches my heart.
What is it about this hymn that brings out so many emotions? It seems to be more than the melody or even the words. Could it be that it reminds us once again of God’s wonderful love and presence, and how truly unworthy we are to receive His gift of grace?
But do we fully understand the magnitude of what has been referred to as “the greatest gift ever given”? Phillip Yancey, one of my favorite Christian authors, in his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? explains it this way:“God is the God of all grace” in the apostle Paul’s words. And grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make Him love me less. It means that I, even I, who deserve the opposite, am invited to take my place at the table in God’s family.”
What is this gift of grace and why is it truly so amazing? “Grace” can be defined as God’s goodwill, His loving kindness, unmerited favor, and His goodness to us, even when we have done nothing to deserve it. As if we ever could! It almost seems incomprehensible. Why would God do such a thing when we are so unworthy?
To understand, we need to look at the nature of God and realize it is because of His infinite love for us and His desire to give us a more abundant life. Along with His love, comes His amazing grace. To realize how truly undeserving we are, we should search our hearts and souls, our lives, the things that are significant to us and weigh what we find. How we all fall so short of His expectations for us. He longs to see something of His own image reflected in us, but how little He finds. The things of this world seem to fill up the spaces in our hearts and in our lives, and there is little room for Him.
Yet, He won’t give up on us. He continues to lavish His grace upon us, and all He asks in return is that in accepting His Son, Jesus Christ, we let Him into our lives. In doing so, God is bringing us to Him, with the hope that He can redeem us and make us into who He knows we can be.
It is by God’s grace we have been saved and given the abundant life He has to offer. It is not by faith, our own righteousness, or by any good deeds we have done. It comes “not from ourselves“, but from Him, and only He deserves the glory for the gift of His amazing grace.
Dear God, we know how unworthy we are to be called a child of yours, but yet you continue to love us and pour down your blessings upon us. We thank you for your amazing grace and for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. May we honor Him with our lives and give you all honor and glory for the gift of life eternal. Amen