There's absolutely nothing we can do for
ourselves to get into God's kingdom!
Only through his saving grace.
|There is a remarkable metaphor in the movie Bruce Almighty. Bruce (played by Jim Carrey) becomes God for a while, and is thrilled by all the power and trappings. But what he discovers in the end, after he has wrecked his relationship with his girlfriend Grace, is that the power and fun become meaningless—he simply can’t live without Grace.
And that's how it is for us.
Grace is a defining feature of Christianity. Unlike some religions, where people must do or earn certain things, or can never be entirely certain of their own destiny, Christianity holds that there is nothing mankind can do to save itself. That is why Jesus died, and why we can be saved only through God’s grace. And that is why, therefore, salvation through Jesus is available to everyone, regardless of who they are or what they have done.
So what is grace? It is entirely unmerited: in other words, it is ‘undeserved kindness’. It allows us the chance of a new beginning. It comes as a loving gift from God, given freely and unconditionally. It has been said that grace represents God’s riches at Christ’s expense.
But it does require us to respond: we must be receptive to God’s grace for it to work in our lives. To use a physiological analogy, we must activate the ‘grace receptors’, which we all have, in order to receive the full therapeutic effect.
The key to activating those receptors is faith. Whoever comes to God through faith in his Son will receive that grace, and can begin to rebuild a new life and a new beginning. Grace is liberating: it sets us free from those bonds which may have trapped us in a life of wrongdoing. If our lives are to be likened to a pair of scales, a balance between good and evil, then grace allows us (if we genuinely turn to God) to receive the full weight on the good side of the balance.
Grace also heals and reconciles. Grace allows us to feel good about ourselves once more, to have a sense of self-esteem, to be generous to one another without counting the cost.
John Newton, writer of the well-known song Amazing Grace, knew all about grace. He had been a sea captain: not to put too fine a point on it, he ran a slave ship. However, he became a Christian—a new beginning if ever there was one!—and was blown away by God’s kindness to him despite all he realised he had done to his fellow-man. He went on to become a priest, and was vicar of St Mary Woolnoth, a famous church in London. He wrote some other well-know hymns, too, but it is Amazing Grace for which he will forever be remembered:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
I once lost but now am found; was blind, but now I see.
Eugene O’Neill, the American playwright, wrote: ‘Man is born broken. He survives by being mended. The grace of God is the glue.’
Pray: God, it's just so humbling—and such a relief—to know that there is nothing that I can do to save myself, or to make myself worthy of you. Only your grace makes it possible for you to love me, accept me, and welcome me into your kingdom. Amazing grace! Amen.
Watch the movie trailer for Bruce Almighty and buy the movie
Research grace in Wikipedia
Watch vox-pops of what people think about grace
Read the lyric of the Manic Street Preachers song There by The Grace of God
Read the novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Read the book What’s So Amazing About Grace? By Philip Yancey
Read the book In the Grip of His Grace: You Can't fall Beyond His Love by Max Lucado
Read the book Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace by Miroslav Volf
Read the book John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken
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