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A Place of Grace

A Place of Grace

A Place of Grace

Let those who have never sinned throw the first stones! John 8:7 NLT

Author Leonard Sweet said it well. The church ought to be the safest place on earth. We are in the family of God entirely because of God’s grace. The most appropriate way to respond to the failings of others is to extend grace. When we do we become the hands of Jesus that help restore our brother or sister. The church should personify His grace.

When we become a Christ follower our sinful nature is redeemed. Our sin is forgiven and Jesus lives within. That’s the Good News. However we still have human appetites, we have old selfish habits and we have an active enemy working against us. The Apostle Paul correctly calls us, More than conquerors in Christ. But there is still a battle to be fought for holiness on a daily basis. It is a worthwhile endeavor. Although the war is won we don’t win every battle and that is where grace comes in. As the church of Jesus Christ, let’s be a place of healing and grace.

The list is rather sobering, Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer. Peter denied he knew Christ. Thomas doubted the resurrection. And the Apostle Paul called himself, The chief of sinners because he persecuted the Church. Yet these are servants of Christ who constitute the Hall of Faith listed in scripture and my Hall of Fame. If they can make a comeback because of God’s grace so can we. The father welcomed the Prodigal Son home, let’s follow His example.

Our biblical heroes would tell us the key is to get back up equal to the number of times you fall down. Don’t give up on God because He doesn’t give up on you. And we in the Church want to be those who cheer others on saying that God loves you just like you are, no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been. At the same time God loves you too much to leave you like you are. Grace is not intended to be an encouragement for permissiveness. Rightly understood it creates a thankful heart and spirit that spurs repentance and new commitment to not repeat past missteps. The church is a place of healing and grace when after you stumble, you hear other voices saying, I’ve been there too and here’s how I learned to apply God’s strength. After all it is our role to love and God’s role to empower change.

God gives us forgiveness for our sin and he gives us grace for our shame. That’s where the healing part comes in. If we focus on our failure we begin to believe we are no good and we can’t live the life of a Christ follower. But grace rightly extended sees the good in us, it sees that Christ lives inside by faith, and it says two steps forward and one back is still progress. If you look back at where you were a year ago you can see you are headed in the right direction. When the Church is a congregation of encouraging voices cheering us on to be the best we can be, it is the place of grace and love God designed it to be. A church like this is the place where a wandering soul wants to return. It is the place where a growing soul always has a hand out to help someone else up. Let’s be a people of healing and grace!

Gary Kendall

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