Spiritual Formation

Understanding Grace

We are born with an affinity for sin that shows up in our selfishness early on—like a toddler unwilling to share toys with others. by Captain Emmanuel Masango

Defining Grace (Part 1 of 6)

Grace is simply unmerited or unearned favor. The biblical concept of grace speaks to a God who gives free gifts we do not deserve. When Peter, who was trying to understand Jesus’ extreme view of forgiveness, asked Him if he should forgive someone seven times,  Jesus answered with a story about a servant who owed his master millions and could never repay. His master, in an act of grace, responds to the servant’s pleas for pity and forgives him of the debt (Matthew 18:21-26). As human beings, we owe an enormous sin-debt to God. We are born with an affinity for sin that shows up in our selfishness early on—like a toddler unwilling to share toys with others. As adults we think, say or do things that hurt people and offend the holiness of God. Unless we ask for and receive God’s forgiveness, we are in danger of being punished for our sin, like the servant who owed a lot of money. The good news is that Jesus paid all of humanity’s sin-debt. When we ask God for forgiveness, He pardons our sin-debt. This is grace—God giving us the mercy we do not deserve.

Scriptures For Further Reflection

Take a few moments to look up, read and reflect over the following passages on grace.  In which areas of your life do you need to understand and receive God’s grace? What is God saying to you through His word?

  • Matthew 18:21-34
  • John 1:17
  • Ephesians 2:8-9
  • Romans 3:23
  • Romans 6:23
  • Isaiah 53:6
  • Galatians 1:13-16

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”

—Anne Lamott

“Where grace flows, mercy thrives.”

—Ikechukwu Izuakor

A Prayer for Grace

Dear Lord, help me to understand what grace is—the unmerited favor that You give to me and others like me. Thank you that I do not have to earn it, and for giving it freely through Jesus, Your Son. Help me to accept Your grace fully, and live in it each day. And where I have had wrong thoughts, words or actions, I humbly ask for Your forgiveness in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Steps to Salvation

The Bible states that God loves you and cares for you as a person (John 3:16). Humankind has been separated from God by sin (Romans 3:23). God sent His Son as a provision for our salvation through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection from the dead (Romans 5:8). Doing good deeds is not enough (Ephesians 2:8-9), but receiving the free gift of salvation is (John 1:12).

You can invite Jesus Christ into your life right now by praying something like the following:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I need Your forgiveness and grace. I believe that Christ paid the penalty for my sin, and He died in my place, and He rose from the dead. I invite Jesus Christ to come into my life as Savior. Thank You for saving me from my sin and making me Your child. Help me to grow and learn how to serve You. Amen.

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