Three days into 2017, are your New Years resolutions still intact? I’m not one for making such resolutions, but I do strive (however feebly) to live by the Scriptures every day of my life. The very end of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians gives us some good things to shoot for as believers in Jesus in 2017 (and beyond, should the Lord tarry). His last three statements (prior to the “amen”) are powerful:
- “Our Lord, come!”
- “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.”
- “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.”
If we could wrap all of that into one resolution for the new year, it would look something like this: Long for the Lord’s return while living in the light of His grace and loving one another.
Can you imagine how transformed the Church of Jesus Christ would be if our lives were so defined? Can you imagine the focus we would have? Can you imagine the trivial things that might fall by the wayside in our lives as the things that really matter rise to the forefront? Can you imagine the impact we might make for Christ?
There is no greater word than “grace.” It speaks of the undeserved favor of God. That’s FAVOR! UNDESERVED!
I didn’t deserve God’s favor when Christ died for my sins before I knew Him; I didn’t deserve God’s favor when He accepted me as His adopted child through faith in what Christ did for me on that cross; I don’t deserve His favor all the while since then, sinning, even while knowing better.
The thought of it sometimes pulls me into a sense of shame. Guilt wants to take over and pull me down into the depths. “How could someone speak the glories of God with his mouth and think the things you’ve thought – do the things you’ve done?” the enemy of my soul seems to whisper.
But then there is grace. Undeserved favor. Freely bestowed, as the hymn writer says, on all who believe.
“How could you love me, Lord,” my heart wonders, “when I feel I have so often sullied your name?”
And the answer comes: GRACE! From which flows peace.