This weekend, billions of people around the world will celebrate this one event in history—Jesus’ death and resurrection! So what is the significance of Easter? Easter shows us what God is really like. The Bible tells us that “God is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8). The Apostle Peter wrote that God is the “God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10). Easter can be summed up in one word –grace! His grace to us! God’s greatest act of grace is Easter!
So what is this grace of God? Someone defined grace as “God giving me what I need, not what I deserve.” Grace is God’s response to my failures. Many people think God is some disapproving parent up there in the sky with a clipboard and pen watching our every move — “That was good…that was bad!” If we think that, we’ve got God wrong! God is the God of all grace!
Here’s an acrostic that just begins to describe this amazing grace…
G –Gift. God says His grace is absolutely free. You can’t earn salvation, you can’t buy it, you can’t work for it. The reason for that is because it’s already been paid for. It was provided by Jesus Christ.
Many of us believe this when we accept Christ but then somehow think the rest is up to us: He saved us but now we have to somehow live up to it so that we deserve it. That’s completely unscriptural. He paid for your sins, full stop. It’s already been done.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (see Romans 3:24)
R –Receive. We must receive this gift through faith. We call this saving grace. Without faith, that gift of God’s grace remains unopened! The Bible says, “…By grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
Don’t miss this – you can believe in the gift, you can talk about the gift, but until you receive it, it is meaningless.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
A –Available. This grace is available to everyone! This is the grace that goes before. The technical term is called prevenient grace. Paul said, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11).
God’s grace doesn’t play favorites. Jesus died for the world, not a select few! Regardless of religious background, regardless of status, regardless of sin – this grace is available to everyone.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
C –Complete. When Jesus was hanging from the cross, he cried out, “It is finished.” God’s grace is completed in Christ. In the Bible, one of the most common phrases to describe a believer is the term “in Christ.” In fact, the phrase, “in Christ”, is used over 100 times in the New Testament. It refers to somebody who has received God’s grace and now is in Christ. What that means is that God looks at us through the cross. God no longer sees our sins, but looks at you in Jesus!
“There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
E –Eternal. God’s grace is forever! This is the sustaining grace of God. It is grace not just for today, but the future. It’s the grace that will take you through the darkest valley. It all about His grace from now until heaven!
“…God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21 (NLT)
BEFORE YOU GO…
I’m praying for each of you this weekend in your church services: that hearts will be touched by the grace of God to move from sinner to saved, that believers will be encouraged, and all people will be drawn to our God of grace.
On Monday, immediately following this Holy Week celebration, a number of us will begin an eleven-day journey through the Holy Land. We would appreciate your prayers for our time away. If you’d like to follow along, we’ll be publishing a daily entry from our travels on a blog specifically for that. You can check any time for the latest entries or sign up to receive email updates in your in-box. www.holylandtripblog.wordpress.com