Four Graces

Sunday, July 19

The above quotation is not complete. “To err is human; to forgive divine.” Adam’s sin made sinning a permanent component of human life. And sin means judgment. Judgment brings guilt, which is no surprise to us. Guilt is recognizing sin and knowing that it must be paid for. But we tend to minimize the affront to a holy God and the validity of the punishment—eternal damnation. Grace now enters the picture. We are helpless and only God can deliver us—which He did by Jesus dying on the cross. So grace can be applied—indeed, must be applied—vicariously. Belief in the substitutionary death of Christ is not easy. You mean that we can be forgiven without paying for it ourselves?” A gift of this magnitude is hard to receive. So grace—to believe—is also supplied. God makes it clear to us. “Therefore there is now no condemnation.” Rom. 8:1. On top of all that is the grace of sanctification. God works in our lives every day to make us more like Christ. When we sin, He has the answer. “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. We can’t live a godly life on our own. It’s a divine gift, i.e., grace. Part of the sanctification process is to apply grace to others just as God has done for us. So God’s provision of a substitute is grace. Belief in Christ as our savior is grace. Becoming like Christ is grace. And forgiving others is grace. God is our model. Response to God’s grace allows us to forgive others without their having to pay the penalty they deserve. Placing blame and wreaking vengeance is not the answer.

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