Grace makes the difference

Grace 101

When I talk about grace, I usually mean the whole message of God’s love and provision.  Grace is the activity of God’s love.  Because God loves us, He reaches out to us and brings us in.  He provides all we need for salvation, sanctification, justification and more.  Forgiveness, victory, and Heaven are ours because of His initiative and His work.

If we remember that God loves us and acts for our good, then prayer becomes a positive thing in our lives.

Many of us were led to believe that confession was the most important part of prayer.  Whenever we prayed, even if it was an emergency, we were supposed to stop to confess our sins first.  We had to confess that there was no reason God should hear us because we were so evil in our hearts.

So, think about that.  How easy is it for you to go to someone and apologize?  How easy is it to ask forgiveness?  It’s hard work, isn’t it?  I am not saying it isn’t important, but it certainly isn’t easy or pleasant.  And how easy is it to build a relationship when you constantly have to apologize?  Especially when you believe the other person is angry with you?

When many people pray, they feel they have to come to Lord groveling and shamed.  They are supposed to recount as many of their sins as they can remember since the last time they prayed and always know that they have missed some.  Then they have to ask God for mercy and hope that He doesn’t hate them as they ask for what they need.  How sad!

Grace tells us that God already loves us.  Grace tells us that He has already forgiven us.  Grace tells us that we are already accepted.  It is good to come to Him.  Grace turns prayer into something positive.

You see, God already knows about your sins and He has already forgiven them as you trusted Christ.  Those who belong to Him never have to worry about their sins separating them from Him.  We don’t have to confess in order to be forgiven.  In those times when we feel the need to talk about what we have done, we simply agree with Him that it was wrong and thank Him for working in our lives to move past it.  Forgiveness of sins—past, present, and future—was accomplished at the cross.

So you and I can come to the Lord as we would come to our very best friend.  We know that He loves us and it is good to focus on our heart connection again.  We will never be separate from Him, but sometimes we let ourselves get distracted.  Then we talk with Him again and feel His love and peace.

No wonder Paul encouraged us to pray without ceasing.  This is walking with Jesus.  It isn’t a difficult thing at all.  Prayer is a wonderful lifeline that keeps us connected to the Lord who loves us.

6 Comments

Filed under Grace 101, Relationship

6 responses to “Grace makes the difference

  1. Rox

    Prayer is essentially the only thing that’s gotten me through the last few months, when an unexpected death and a trusted friend’s discarding left me totally raw to the marrow. Talking with God helped me to center and convinced me that I wasn’t losing my mind or had done something horribly wrong to deserve this. Sometimes, it seems, we have to be stripped to the very core to remember our true worth, in the eyes of God and each other.

    • UnForsaken

      So true, Rox. I’ve been there and it is Exactly like that. I felt hollow and , yes, raw. It was an actual, physical feeling. Even when I didn’t get answers right away, when there seemed to be a long and lonely silence, I know now He was just drawing me closer in prayer, so I could hear. It’s a long road, but one I would have had to take anyway . I am amazed by the gratitude I now can feel when realizing it was my emptiness that made me turn to Him and His overflow of Joy.

  2. Kay

    LOVE this! I was taught as a child to confess first…really, if you think about the prayer Jesus taught the disciples (The Lord’s Prayer), confession doesn’t show up until almost the end. He truly is a Person, and it’s wonderful to now be able to talk with Him as the loving, saving, healing, all-powerful advocate that He is! Beautiful post!

  3. UnForsaken

    Dave, my church has confession every Sunday, and I have become more and more aware of how empty it is—and how hypocritical to confess to things you have never done. I know that being human I am not above doing them, but it becomes laughable( with a bad taste in the mouth , like I’ve just lied) . Also, I wonder about how biblical recieving Extra Grace in the sacrament of communion really is. My church is heavy on formality, and the minister is a former Catholic ( Who, by the way, shows huge N traits ). I feel the focus is totally mancentric, a lack of fellowship and community being touted in every sermon. I know that all worship, aven everyday, should be about God and always come back to Him and our relationship, but could you please clarify about grace in communion? Thanks !

    • I just wrote an answer about this in private email, but haven’t sent it yet. (That tells you how far behind I am. Be patient, folks.) It’s a good question. Here are my thoughts:

      Some churches teach that obedience enables more grace. They cite Scripture that says grace can increase and that God gives more grace to the humble. But none of these verses provide a formula for adding grace to our lives. So the church, somewhere along the way, decided that grace came through the acts of obedience, such as the sacraments. Other things helped as well. Giving money, prayers, church work, etc. We generally point to the Catholic church in this, but non-Catholics do it as well. Even evangelicals sometimes are taught that we receive more grace when we have done well with the grace that has been given to us.

      But looking at our connection with Jesus as a relationship changes everything. It isn’t our obedience that He blesses as much as our heart connection with Him. We receive more grace simply by being with Him more. Just as any relationship can grow, our relationship with Jesus can become more intimate and more powerful. Our salvation is finished and fact, but we are still called to a walk that draws us closer to Him.

      So, if you think about grace as all of what God does, then you just want to be with Him. Let your relationship grow and more of His grace will come and be revealed in your life.

      • UnForsaken

        Pastor Dave, THANK YOU so much!!!! It was worth the wait ( hopefully I didn’t pester you Too much?) . Your answer completely covered me question . I only had my own thoughts and reading scripture on this one and needed some real imput. This is so good I’ll be printing it off for my further review !!!!

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