Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Grace and Other People

Big Idea: I am forgiven by God for all my sins, and saved eternally through his Son Jesus (John 3:16). Considering the number of times each day my thoughts, words and sometimes my actions are against God's perfect standard of sacrificial love, it's a big relief to know that I'm forgiven. Don't you agree?

All of humanity has been purchased by the blood of Jesus. We've been brought back from the grave that was our destination due to our general rebellion against God and our individual sins, and we've been forgiven once and for all. Our salvation is secure because Jesus died once for all (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12 and 10:10). We live in a state of forgiveness.

But is that all? Can we do anything we want now, treat other people any old how, and live life without thinking?

What does 'living with grace' mean in a world full of other people?

Paul tells us how to live with others in Ephesians 4:32: "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you."

Our own state of forgiveness is a starting place -- a clean slate, a new beginning, a clean floor on which to stand. It's also a template, an example, showing how to live with others. If God has forgiven me, Paul says, then I should live in the light of that forgiveness and be just as generous and tender toward others as God has been to me through Jesus.

One other thing: Even when someone has offended me, God has also forgiven that other person through Jesus (because Jesus stood in for the whole world, not just me) so in God's eyes that sin is already gone and forgotten. That means I don't get to hold a grudge.

Now, if the whole world just knew and understood this...

Here's a suggestion: show grace and acceptance to someone else today. The word will spread!

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