Grace Defined: Grace is when you are forgiven for something which you should have been punished for, and you have done nothing and there is nothing you can do to deserve not being punished. It is simply a demonstration of grace that you continue to not be punished in spite of your wrongdoing. You must accept the fact that you were forgiven, and that something happened in the person’s or God’s eyes which mitigated your sin, but was not of your own doing. You cannot get to heaven by doing good things. You only get there by accepting Jesus as your Savior who died for your sins, which mitigated them because he already paid for them. Then by accepting Jesus, you are living under God’s grace. You may still fall into sin, but as long as you continue to genuinely repent, and accept God’s gift of his son in your life, you will continue to be saved by Grace. As you grow in grace you will find that your old self is put aside, and that many things which you enjoyed which were sinful are not things which you want to do now. With God’s help and the Holy Spirit living within you, you won’t want to do things outside of God’s approval. In the old testament, people lived under the law of Moses, not under Grace. However, there were times when God demonstrated grace towards old testament people. For instance in Lot’s case, Abraham used intercessory prayer and God spared Lot as a righteous person out of Sodom. The Old Testament shows us that grace can be a synonym for mercy. Traditionally by Christian definition there is no grace without Jesus Christ.
Note: When I say you may still fall into sin and you will repent…it is not to say that sin is acceptable if you just plan to repent later…the Bible clearly warns against doing that sort of thing.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Read: Genesis 18:17-Genesis 19:29. This is the story of Abraham praying for Sodom and Gomorrah. It was evident that Lot was the only righteous man in Sodom. Therefore, due to Abraham’s prayer Lot was spared along with his family.
Remember that Lot was only marginally righteous at best, he was Abraham’s nephew, and when given the choice of land he chose for himself the “green land” and left Abraham the desert. This speaks to Lot’s character of greed, and his need for personal comfort which makes you believe that he probably didn’t go to any great lengths to discipline his children. However, he did stand up for the angels in Sodom, when the crowd came to harass them.
Thought questions: Were there times when you were forgiven for things you did wrong when you weren’t expecting it. How did that make you feel? Think about times when you have been unforgiving! How did being unforgiving toward others affect you? Did you feel bad or good about still harboring a grudge? Was it easy to keep harboring a grudge, or was it hard work? How do you feel when someone is unforgiving to you? Grace, and mercy and forgiveness are all linked together! God directs us to forgive. We are to forgive repeatedly as God forgives us repeatedly. Even when the person doesn’t deserve forgiveness. You forgive in obedience to God. He forgives you repeatedly and you don’t deserve it either.
Do you know that being unforgiving toward others and toward yourself stands in the way of your relationship with God and also stands in the way of your happiness and contentment in life?
Matthew 5:22-24 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.…(NIV)