Amazing Grace

“Grace.” Such a little word for such an amazing act of love. It is the meditation upon this one little word that keeps me tossing and turning into these wee hours of the morning. There is no other word, but “amazing” that can quite describe it.

 

I want to paint a picture…..

 

Imagine, in this picture Jesus Christ the Son of God in all His holiness is standing on planet earth; that alone is something to keep your mind spinning! Around Him there stands a crowd of people, the tax gatherers and the sinners. This was not your typical Sunday school crowd. However, something about Jesus registered with them all. In the background stand the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who are murmuring, as usual, about Jesus’ ministry and interaction with these people.However, Jesus knew their hearts and their every thought before a word was spoken and reacts to their ignorant criticism by telling one of His famous stories.

 

 Luke 15:11-32 capture the “red letters” spoken from the mouth of Christ and many know this story as the story of “The Prodigal Son.” While this story does focus on the character of the strayed son and his return home, I am beginning to wonder if we tend to overlook one of the focal points of this story. I believe there is something to be said to the individual who has already decided to turn around and return home and the compassion, love and GRACE that awaits them in the Father’s arms.

 

Expounding on this idea I want to look at this tale from a different perspective this time. Let’s first take a look at the son’s planned speech for his return.

 

Notice he has a plan to come back on his terms:

 

STEP #1: “Father I have sinned against Heaven and against you.”

STEP #2: “I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

STEP #3: “If you will just take me back as a servant.”

 

The Father has a different plan though and the speech in the back pocket is thrown a little bit. The Father sees the son from afar and bolts towards him, compassionately embraces him in love and begins kissing him. Yet, the son has his plan and tries to stick to it still. While STEP #1 needs to be said, after STEP #2 the father stops him and moves to the celebration of his son’s return. Notice, the son’s return is enough for his father. He need not say anymore.

 

Could it be that this is the story of the “Prodigal Father.” The grace shown by the father is the actual focus. The mercy, grace, compassion and forgiveness is the most lavish thing in the story. It is AMAZING! The Father does not want you to just be on the property, He desires for you to be in His embrace. It is our Heavenly Father who comes running looking for us when we are lost in our sin and gone astray. Wow! Like I have said before, that sort of grace is nothing less than AMAZING!

 

By accepting the grace of God, we accept God’s plan for us in our lives. Thanks to God’s gift of salvation and our acceptance of God’s grace, our relationship with God is re-established. As adopted sons of God we live out  God’s plan for our lives as He re-makes us in His likeness. 1 John 3:1-2 states, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” We now can wake up every morning in gracious uncertainty knowing that we are in God’s plan and looking forward to His plan unfolding in our lives each day.

 

Our acceptance of God’s grace is not a one-time event for us. God’s plan for His grace and our acceptance of His grace is for us to dwell in love continually. 1 John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” The grace of God, the Word of God, and the life of Jesus Christ provides us with the instructions and examples of how we can live in love and God’s grace. By the grace of God, He shows us how we can love Him and our neighbors. We no longer only have our own plans and choices in life that ultimately result in sin, hate, and God’s judgment.

 

God’s grace is a wonderful gift to humankind. Grace is God’s love freely offered to us. We do not do anything to “earn” it. Take a moment, be still, embrace the presence of God, enter into this beautiful act of worship and reflect upon how you have experienced God’s grace in your life. I can almost assure you that a moment won’t suffice to meditate on God’s grace…. but it is a start…. and hey, that is why we have eternity!

 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yeah, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

John Newton (1725-1807)

 

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