Applying God’s Grace
“As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own grace and goodness! And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires, and that you will share in his divine nature.
So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow in genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:3-8 (NLT)
“Rob” had gone to church all his life. He worshipped each week and even attended some Bible studies over the 80 plus years of his life on earth. I imagine he had heard close to 3000 sermons in his life and had been in numerous studies of both the Old and New Testaments.
He knew the Bible and the doctrine of the faith and could quote it at people, too, â€“ which he liked to do. This all sounds great, â€“ but most people avoided “Rob,” because he was cranky and negative and very self-centered. “Rob” had never really made the “effort to apply” the love and grace of Jesus into his life and into his relationships with others.
“Roberta” also had gone to church all her life. She had heard the same sermons and gone to the same Bible studies. She knew what “Rob” knew, â€“ and people loved to be around her. “Roberta” had made the effort to apply the love and grace of Jesus into her life. Each day she prayed that she could be an instrument of God and that she could rise to the calling to love someone that day in they way Jesus had loved her, â€“ and she did it!
The Christian faith isn’t about knowledge and belief for the sake of “right doctrine.” The Christian faith is about receiving and living out God’s amazing love and grace! We are to become “productive and useful” servants of the Lord, sharing acts of love with those around us. In doing so, Peter tells us, we will be transformed more and more into living out the divine nature of Jesus himself! This “effort” is a matter of choice. We must make the effort to choose to receive, embody, and share the love and grace of God.
Bringing It Home:
1. Are you making the effort each day to partner with God to share the love and grace that transforms you and others? Pray each day that God can use you to love someone boldly.
2. As you embody and live out the love of Jesus in your actions look for the fruits of this active faith to grow in your life: moral excellence, greater knowledge of God, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, and love for all. Celebrate and thank God when these actions are growing in your life, â€“ it is confirmation that your efforts are inspired by divine grace and hitting the intended target.
God, you are love in all you say and do. Your grace and love are not just sentiments, but an action that caused you to send your Son to die for me. I pray that I would not simply know of your love but that I would make every effort to apply that love in my
relationships with others. I pray that your Spirit would guide me and give me courage to live out my faith boldly. Amen.
John A. Holm
Transforming Church Institute