Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Grace and Peace

This summer I have been doing an independent study on character of grace. I did a word search of grace in the Bible and was struck that so often in scripture the words grace and peace are partnered together. Not only are these character qualities of God that we are to bear to the world as a witness, but neither of these are natural to man's character.

Our inclination is to worry and to take revenge or seek justice. When we really understand that everything works together for God's glory in the end we can let go of both the tendency to worry (By the way, worry won't change the future outcome) and to see fairness.

Grace by its very design is undeserved. If grace were deserved it would not be grace. Grace by its very nature is unfair. There is no justice in grace. Grace says I will forgo justice in favor of love and forgiveness. When grace is exercised, peace can prevail. Where there is no grace; peace has a much harder time gaining a foothold in our lives.

Another tendency I saw was that in almost ever greeting and every signature of his letters, Paul mentions our need for grace. He ends his letters so often with words like "may the grace of our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." He almost always pointed to the source of grace being something that comes to us by virtue of being in relationship or beneficiaries of God's favor.

Of all the character qualities I would like to develop in my life it would be that of grace. I believe that grace speaks the loudest to the world that we are governed by God himself and that we are no longer our own. We no longer need to defend ourselves or fight for our "rights" but we can demonstrate forgiveness where it is undeserved, show blessing where curses are handed out and have love for our fellow man even when they are particularly unlovely. Grace bears with another's faults without finding the need to fix them.

If you ever remember me in prayer please ask the Lord to develop his character of grace more fully in me. May the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all.

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