Andy Hollifield 5-7-18
Ezra 9:8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
The word “grace” is used 170 times in the bible. The first time is in Genesis 6:8 where it says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” The bible itself ends with Revelation 22:21 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” I wrote a post back on March 5th of this year entitled “Always Abounding IN Grace.” But somehow I just felt this morning like I should write about it again. Grace is defined on dictionary.com as mercy; clemency; or pardon. That is actually the fifth definition listed and the number 5 in numerology throughout the bible speaks of grace. The fourth definition says “A manifestation of favor, especially by a superior.” Some of the other words that have the same meaning are forgiveness, charity, mercifulness. All of these describe God’s actions toward lost humanity. I am thankful that forgiveness is available for the asking and with it comes God’s love and mercy. My favorite acrostic using each letter of the word “grace” is this: God’s Redemption At Christ’ Expense. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin with the sacrifice of himself on the cross of Calvary.
The grace of God has been the subject of many songs and hymns throughout history. Probably the most well-known of these is “Amazing Grace” which I often refer to as the national anthem of heaven. That is the one thing that everyone there has in common is salvation by God’s grace. There is no other way to heaven apart from the grace and forgiveness of our almighty God. This one song has been recorded by singers from all genres of music from country to rock to rhythm and blues as well as gospel. It is estimated to be performed over 10 million times annually and has appeared on over 11,000 albums. From 1970-1972, Judy Collins’ recording of it stayed on the music charts for 67 weeks peaking at number 5 which again is the biblical number for grace. One thing that is amazing, pun intended, about the song; is that it was written by a former slave trader that became a clergyman after accepting the Lord. A man who kept people in bondage being set free by the Lord. Ironic isn’t it? It has even became a Broadway Musical depicting the life of its author John Newton. The song was written by Newton in 1772 and put to music in 1835.
I just wanted to give a little background on the most famous of all hymns ever written. But that is not where I want the focus to be. Our attention should be upon the grace itself. Even though countless songs have been written about it, there is none any better than the song in my heart because of it. I am sure that anyone that has ever experienced the grace of God would have to say the same about themselves. I dare say that there is absolutely nothing in this world that can change a life like the grace of God. If you think falling in love with someone brings about a change in your life in every aspect, then magnify that change many times over and you will have just a small glimpse of the grace of God making a person fall in love with the Lord. Falling in love with someone can make you give up things and take up other things; but only the grace of God can make you love things you once hated and hate the things you once loved. Falling in love with someone changes you from the outside in but falling in love with the Lord changes you from the inside out.
It is far more than just a warm fuzzy feeling but it first and foremost the forgiveness of our sin. It isn’t attainable by any good thing we can do and we don’t get it by our good outweighing our bad as popular culture would have us to believe. It requires the Spirit of God speaking to your heart and making you aware of the fact that you are a sinner and telling you that there is no hope for you outside of the forgiveness of your sins by God himself. You can’t just repeat a few empty words that someone tells you and obtain the grace of God. If God convicts you of your sin, you will have no problem asking him for forgiveness. Not only will the grace of God by salvation change your attitude and outlook about everything, it will change the things you want to do and the places you want to go and the people you want to be around. You will then be able to look on others with compassion and instead of seeing them for what they are, you will be able to see them as simply a lost sinner in need of salvation that God loves just as much as he loves you. Rather than simply having nothing to do with those that are less fortunate than you, you will have a desire to help them improve their circumstances and tell them about the God that saved you from a devil’s hell to which you were heading if you hadn’t of repented of your sin. It takes a lot of effort to “love thy neighbor as thyself” as Jesus said numerous times in the bible. The proof of our salvation is “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren…” as it says in 1 John 3:14.
There is nothing that can bring about the change that the grace of God does. None of us deserve it, none of us can earn it, none of us can buy it, because it is the gift of God. God’s free gift to undeserving sinners without any hope otherwise. It can change the worst that society has ever known if they will only repent and accept his grace by faith. It has preserved nations that have clung to it and destroyed those that have rejected it. But as I mentioned earlier, there is no greater miracle, nothing more needful that the grace of God ever did, than when it saved me when I accepted it by faith as an eight year old boy. Even though I have tried at times to leave it, it has never left me. God has grace for every situation and every need that you have or ever will encounter. I could go on and on and never begin to scratch the surface of all that grace encompasses. It is something that you have to experience for yourself. It is like good food. I can tell you how good it is but until you try it for yourself you will never understand. I am thankful that I one day “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 5-7-18