Ever stop and wonder about grace? I do not know about you but I don’t. I pretty much take grace for granted. Surely a gift from God, but like so many gifts they become just another part of my day. I know I have it, I know God gave it to me, I know I can use it, so what else is there to know? Well, I am not sure, that is why I decided to write a column on it. We can learn together.
If you come along on this journey, you must agree to share whatever source material you find so I can share that with all our readers. If you share an article or book I will publish the source material such that all the other readers can look for and get the material.
My primary source is The Book of Discipline United Methodist Church, 2016 For United Methodists. This book is the rock of our Methodism.
“Grace pervades our understanding of Christian faith and life. By grace we mean the undeserved, unmerited, and loving action of God in human existence through the ever-present Holy Spirit.” (Book of Discipline). In the Book of Discipline it is referred to as one several distinct emphasis of John Wesley.
Undeserved: we, as a people do not deserve nor does God somehow owe us this gift. Unmerited: we did not and in fact cannot earn this gift. And it is only because God loves us so much does God give us the gift of grace through the Holy Spirit. And here is an important idea to me. God wants us to have this gift of grace. God wants us to be in a loving relationship, a blessed union. Furthermore, God wants us to want to be in this relationship.
The catch is, and there always seems to be a catch, we are flawed human beings. Our continuing propensity to sin throws up a “wall” between us and God. But even now, God gives us another gift, that of His son, Jesus Christ. And in some old archaic language, “He is the propitiation for our sins.” In our modern language, “Jesus is the atonement for our sins.”
And so, as a matter of fact, in order to restore God’s image in our lives we accept divine grace to renew our fallen nature. This is accomplished through the sacrament of Baptism. Baptism ushers us into the community of believers. If we view this as a house then the front steps to the house is grace. The porch is our salvation through Jesus’s sacrifice. The front door is the sacrament of Baptism. As we are baptized we enter the front door to find the Christian community of believers inside welcoming us.
Francis (Frank) Remkiewicz is an area resident and contributes a monthly column focused primarily on faith and religion. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.