Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Same Saving, Sanctifying, Sacrificing, Setting-Free Grace

SUCCESS in life is not what we often think it is. It’s not the acclaim or the acquisition of acumen or achievement or assets. Success is not what we get but what we give. Success is the extraordinary life lived. Success is what we all dream of but it’s the paradoxical road that gets us there.
Grace is success. The person imbued by grace is successful. They have contentment. Whether they have plenty or they lack means little — life abounds in them and to them.
Here are four aspects of life-giving, life-abounding grace:
Grace saves us. God, through Jesus, stooped down from heaven, by the Holy Spirit, and saved us. It is undeserved. We don’t deserve this mercy from God. But we have been lavished with it. Grace saves us not only at our salvation. It saves us continually. To be blessed like that is to live the vibrant life that Jesus Christ came to give us access to.
Grace sanctifies us. It renews us miraculously. We are cleansed and purified by the Holy Spirit’s impelling. We don’t even know why or how, but grace makes it easier to live a holy life. Our interest in sin wanes, yet we still have a great time without judging others. Grace sanctifies us without us insisting others be sanctified. We are simply grateful that God has taken such an interest in us. We pray for such a gift to be realised in others, too.
Grace enables us to sacrifice. Grace (Greek: charis) is the exemplar that leads us in how to love life, people, situations, even hardships, such that getting our own way is no longer the point. If charis is “a favour done without expectation of a payback” then we know it’s about sacrifice, and we know that sacrifice is always about faith. And wherever faith shows her face we can rest easy that hope isn’t far off. Sacrifice enables us to ply faith hopefully — and grace is the actual empowerment.
Grace sets us free. Whoever is free is free, indeed. Grace has disinhibited us. We are set free from the chains of this worldly life that bind us. Fears might be ever-present, and limits of self-concept might drive us from doing what we could. But grace negates the negative by giving it no attention in our lives.
Grace saves us, it sanctifies us, helping us to sacrifice, so we are set free. Out of grace we can love others.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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