Grace Received, Grace Extended

Grace. The free and undeserved favor of God. We cannot claim it from any action on our part, it is simply a gift bestowed upon us by our Creator.

We take many things for granted in our daily lives, mostly because through repetition, what was there yesterday will likely be here today. Gifts bestowed on us by God are moved to the auto-pilot of our daily lives in such a way that we become numb to their existence. We move from bewilderment of being in God’s favor to a life devoid of praising Him for the very breath we draw.

I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes regarding God’s grace and mercy. It comes from a 1741 sermon by Jonathan Edwards entitled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. In this sermon, Edwards states, “The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.”

It paints a powerful picture of how indefensible our position with God is without Christ. Without the righteousness afforded us as believers in Jesus Christ, we have no ground to stand before our Father; for we are dead in our sins, and a holy and just God cannot tolerate sin.

God has no obligation to us, nor did He have to send His only Son to die on a cross to pay for our depravity. He did it out of love. Pure, agape love. Grace through faith in the One who was sent to die in our place.

Ephesians 4:29 reminds us that through our words we minister grace to others. 2 Peter 1:2 speaks of grace multiplying in us. Paul wrote to Timothy to be strong in the grace of Christ (2 Timothy 2:1).

There is a theme emerging from this small sample of verses and that is that we are to build up, or grow, in grace not simply to hold it in, but to extol it on every person we encounter in our daily walks. Grace received, grace extended.

Through Christ, we are the recipients of an unconditional, unmerited love (Romans 5:8) that was never meant to be held inside and kept hidden. We extend this grace to others when we forgive one another, when we encourage one another, and when we love one another unconditionally. We do not hold grudges, nor do we gossip and bear false testimony.

When we are commanded to let our light shine before others (Matthew 5:16), it is from a light derived from grace freely received, that should freely be given.

The third chapter of James speaks of the evils of the tongue. Let us resolve today to extend unmerited grace to all those who cross our paths, especially when our anger is provoked, and not let our unbridled tongues destroy our Christian witness.