God’s grace can be very difficult to grasp because it doesn’t always make sense and seems intangible. I know it involves His love and His sacrificing His only son, Jesus, just as John 3:16 reminds us.
Yet, God’s grace is so much more. I’ve spent the past few years attempting to better understand God’s grace and trying to make it tangible. I’ve read many books on the topic and can still feel inadequate in my understanding. A couple weeks ago at the weekly recovery meeting I attend, the leader that evening helped me and others to be able to visualize what God’s grace is truly all about.
Visualize a large gift-wrapped box with a bow on top that has a big tag on the outside of it that says “God’s Grace” along with a name tag that says “To: You” and “From: God.” Now imagine yourself as a grade school age kid as this gift is handed to you. I am certain you can’t wait to rip into this beautifully wrapped gift to find out what is inside.
So, as you rip the paper and bow off the box and open up the flaps on top, you find many little gift-wrapped boxes inside. How excited you must feel, knowing that you get many gifts instead of just one! You can’t wait to rip the paper off of each little box to see what is inside each one.
So here are some of the things you will find inside these little boxes that make up the huge gift of Grace!
Forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NIV
Salvation: “[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:5 NIV
Holy Spirit: “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” John 3:34 NIV
Faith: “Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].” Hebrews 12:2a AMPC
Eternal Life: “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.” John 3:16 NIV
Justification: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24 NIV
Righteousness: “God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
Sanctification: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11b NIV
Holiness: “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” Colossians 1:22 NIV
Fearlessness: “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
Strength: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV
Peace: “Peace I [Jesus] leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV
Protection: “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” 1 John 5:18 NIV
Endurance and Perseverance: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,” Romans 15:5 NIV
Authority: “I [Jesus] have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19 NIV
Energy: “To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:29 NIV
Breath: ““May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community” Numbers 27:16 NIV
Life: “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:33 NIV
Rest: ““Come to me [Jesus], all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIV
Trials: What??? Can trials be a part of God’s Grace? Yes, even trials are a gift from God! Why? This is where we grow! James tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV
Blessings: “God raised him [Jesus] from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said, “ ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’” Acts 13:34 NIV
An Inheritance: ““Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:32 NIV
Wisdom and Revelation: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Ephesians 1:17 NIV and “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV
Knowledge of His Will: “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,” Colossians 1:9 b NIV
I suspect you had no idea there were so many gifts included in God’s gift of Grace? Neither did I! This visual has helped me to better grasp all that God’s Grace entails.
Growing up and as a young adult, I feared God’s judgement of my sins, especially my sexual sins. When I discovered masturbation, I felt guilty and was sure that God would not forgive me. I knew God offered His grace to me, yet I also knew I did not deserve it. Then I went even further in my sexual sin, looking at pornography and incorporating hurtful, degrading and violent images into my mind and my fantasies. I was certain I was the only Christian woman to commit these sins [I worshipped something other than God!].
What I more recently have learned about God’s Grace is the following: God’s grace is “receiving what I do not deserve” and His mercy is “not receiving what I do deserve.” God’s gift of grace only requires me to make a choice. I get to choose if I will receive God’s love, grace and mercy OR reject it. In receiving His gift of grace, I remember it is free and I get to experience all that His grace gives. The list above is not exhaustive. In fact God’s grace is sufficient; it is enough! And it is powerful!
“But he [Jesus] said to me [Paul, You and Me], “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
So I ask you this question: What have you not yet received that has been freely given to you? There is a beautiful gift-wrapped package with your name on it that is filled with lots of little gift-wrapped boxes just waiting for you to rip them open. I am so glad I opened God’s gift and continue to do so on a daily basis. You can too! So get to ripping, opening and receiving.