The Face of Grace

Theresa RoweBy Theresa Rowe7 Minutes

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Mathew 9:14-15

When I think of God, I think of grace. Grace a gift given which is undeserved. How many times has God extended his merciful grace in our lives? Most likely, we can not even begin to write down the amount of times God’s grace flowed down into our circumstances and lifted us out of the pit!

Yet, prior to the cross, Jesus spoke these verses in Mathew, after a request by the disciples “teach us to pray.” Jesus responds with the Lord’s prayer, with these verses immediately after. It sounds like Jesus is looking for hearts which demonstrate real change, and not lip service. We know salvation is grace, it’s God’s ultimate gift to each of us who make the decision to say, “Yes LORD, come into my life and transform me into the person you created me to be.”

We don’t deserve to be saved and haven’t earned it. As a matter of fact, so many times I should have been lightning-struck, and burned up, because of my sin. I am thankful the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Yes, he forgives your boo-boos and mistakes, while he forgives my horrible, horrible sins.

God, the supreme being who creates and preserves all things, the eternal, the great I AM, the God of Abraham and Isaac, the God who sees us, cares for us, the all-knowing omnipotent God, whose ways are not our ways, whose thoughts are not our thoughts, who loves us unconditionally regardless of us, chooses to extend His hand of mercy and grace. God’s unmerited grace reaches down into the dark secret recesses of our hearts and pours in His life-changing love, forgiving us!

In Ephesians 2:7–10 from the Message reminds us, “Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”

All the heavy lifting is the Lord’s, all we need do is accept Him, and let Him change us into the person He knows we can be. We are saved by His grace when we accept His Son Jesus as the LORD of our life.

It’s a shame our purest clarity comes when looking up at the bottom, but that seems to be the way we are. Rock bottom forces us to recognize the grace of fellowship and friendship; those people God brings into our lives for His purposes to help us in our time of need. In my twenties, there I was, raising four children all alone, or so I thought. My emotions were so low I couldn’t kickstart a flea. I was in despair. In those dark moments, heartbroken, rock bottom emotionally, I cried out to God for something, anything. I thought I would die, but not a physical death, an emotional death. I looked to heaven and cried out to God, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!”

God heard my cry and answered. He blessed my life with specific people to help in my helpless state of mind. He set my feet on His solid ground, as I leaned into Him. God is so BIG, and He showed that to me daily. When we were hungry, He was there. Short of lunch money, He was there. Down to the last diaper, new ones anonymously delivered to my back porch. I look back and consider all that He has done, and a thousand books could not contain His stories of grace.

So then, let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NIV

While we cannot look upon the face of God, we can see His grace working its way throughout the world. He calls His children to be the conduit by which grace is released. His Living Waters flow best with hearts focused on others. It is hard for those waters to flow when we are damned up with bricks of unforgiveness, hatred, and selfishness. Isn’t holding that grudge heavy for your heart?

And if you see your friend, neighbor, or even your country, going over the cliff, you must speak truth, but speak truth with grace and love.

Let us all look closely into the mirror, does that face demonstrate grace?

“Oh Jesus, give me a heart beating for you. Let me be your hands and feet, so others may see the face of grace.”