March 17 I Wednesday
“In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” —Colossians 1:6
When someone says, “That person was very gracious to me,” they are usually referring to the kind and courteous manner in which they were treated. When “grace” is used as an attribute of God, it takes on a different meaning. The grace of God is better understood in relation to two other attributes of God—mercy and justice.
Mercy, on the one hand, is not giving someone what they deserve. “Have mercy on me” is usually a request made to spare oneself from negative consequences that one deserves as a result of one’s actions. Although our heavenly Father could punish us for every sin we commit, in His mercy, He does not. Rather than giving us what we deserve, God forgives and cleanses us from our sin. Paul writes, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
Justice, on the other hand, is giving someone what they deserve. Because God is first and foremost the God of justice, His justice has to be met in dealing with us. This is where the justice of God meets with the mercy of God. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God’s love is supremely expressed in the cross of Christ so that we may be saved, forgiven, cleansed of our sin, thereby entering into a living relationship with Him. God gives us what we do not deserve—the life of His Son, who died as our substitute on the cross, satisfying the justice of God.
As we come to the cross in humble repentance, the very Spirit of Jesus Himself is imputed to us so that we are reconciled to God and equipped to live Christ-centered lives. This is the grace of God, unmerited favour received by all who believe in Jesus. It is by God’s grace, not our own goodness or effort that enables us to be reconciled to God. God has not only dealt with our sin through the cross of Christ, but has equipped us to live a life pleasing to Him by the presence and working of Christ within us. Acknowledging God’s grace upon every aspect of our lives is the most humbling and grateful way we can live, as it is the prior enabling of the ever-present grace of God that is our means to do, to have and to be all that God created us to be.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for Your overwhelming grace and love. Keep me mindful that I am always under Your grace in all that I do, all that I have and in the life and work of Your indwelling Spirit. Thank You, Lord.