SEPTEMBER 10, 2022
by Tom Wood
The grace that we all need every day is not a thing; it is found in the giver of it, God Himself.
However, no matter how many times we have heard the Good News of God’s gracious love freely given to us through Jesus Christ, it leaks out, and we forget and default into trying to find life on our own. We wrongly seek to find our own ways to make life work. Then we hear a song, a sermon, a Bible passage, or experience a tragedy and are “graced again” with the vitality of God’s grace.
In Galatians 2:11-14, we see that the apostle Peter and missionary statesman Barnabas encountered a church filled with non-Jews who were delighted in Christ and the newfound freedom grace had brought their lives. This church was not following the Jewish codes, which bothered them. Peter and Barnabas forgot what grace had done and returned to their moralistic, works-oriented approach to being right and acceptable with God and man. As a result, they practiced racial bigotry toward their brothers and sisters in Christ. When Paul learned of this, he rebuked them to their faces and said that out of fear they were not “acting in line with the truth of the gospel” (v. 14). If God’s saving grace can leak out of an apostle who had been with Jesus and a great leader like Barnabas, causing them to live out of their flesh, it can certainly leak out of us.
What Is Vital Grace? The gospel of grace is Good News and, in its verb form, gospel simply means to announce good news. In biblical times, gospel was a word used to describe the actions or events (a story of their actions) the Roman emperor had accomplished for their welfare.
The New Testament writers co-opted the word to announce the great action that the true Emperor had accomplished for the world. Hence, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell the story of Jesus—announcing the Good News of who He is and what He has done!
The gospel simply means a story of good news, bad news, and very good news. In the Bible, the gospel of grace is used to refer to the story that God made humans and, in order to address the ruin humans brought to themselves and creation, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who, by His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, fully and completely rescued His people and will renew His runaway planet. This story of good news, bad news, and very good news has practical implications for life.
Grace is of central importance to Christianity and is the key word in the New Testament. God is the “God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10). He rescued us from the dominating power of our reckless selfishness, not by the things we have done but out of His love and life. God, in His very being, is very “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4). He is uber wealthy in mercy-love and made us alive with Christ, raised us up, and seated us with Him in heavenly realms (all in the perfect tense meaning; it is something that is certain—we can take it to the bank!). The cross of Christ satisfies God’s claims and expresses God’s affectionate love. God’s love is counter to your condition. It is not a blind love, as many see unconditional love. He sees your condition—a dead spiritual, separated person from Him—and counter to that dead condition, He chose to put His love on you and give you a new life. Grace isn’t reckless but it is relentless.
Allow me to repeat the point again: Grace is God giving you everything you need for nothing. It is getting God’s favor through Jesus Christ. We get God, the greatest riches there is in the universe. Grace is getting everything you need for nothing because it is the gift of God and it is vital because it is indispensable to the continuance of life.
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Excerpted from Vital Grace by Tom Wood.