Seeds of Grace

My co-worker begged to differ. I had shared with her the Biblical message that we cannot earn our way into heaven through any accumulation of good deeds, but far greater, God lavishes His favor upon us and births us anew when we entrust our lives to Jesus Christ. My colleague, however, thought our reconciliation with God could not possibly be that simple, that instead we must merit His favor through our own efforts. She spoke as proxy for billions, sadly, so I find myself wondering, Why do we naturally seek God’s mercy—the pardon from just punishment—yet resist His grace, the lavish outpouring of love, favor and acceptance we cannot earn? We understand law—crime, penalty and mercy—but God’s proactive gift of grace is hard for us to grasp and harder for us to receive.

We typically think of grace as being God’s means for salvation, our rescue from punishment, as well we should, for Paul tells us, “The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people”1 and “it is by grace you have been saved.”2 Yet God’s grace reaches far beyond salvation, for we are also “justified [made guiltless and given right standing before God] freely by his grace through the redemption that came through Jesus Christ.”3 Moreover, only by grace do we live forever with Him, for “just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”4

Perhaps by now we are starting to intuit what John has already told us—that, yes, grace is something God gives in love, yet it is also something God is by nature. Of Jesus John wrote, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth . . . From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”5 Grace upon grace—may we receive it today, may we give it today, and may we sow its seeds today.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

He [God]has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. 2 Timothy 1:9

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

Father, thank you for your good gift of grace. May we live in your grace and give of your grace today. In Christ we pray. Amen.

f Titus 2:11
2 Ephesians 2:8
3 Romans 3:24
4 Romans 5:21 NLT
5 John 1:14, 16 ESV


Seeds of Salvation

We continue today to look at Scripture verses that shine love and grace into the fallen human condition. Jesus spoke of God’s Word as “seeds” we are called plant in the soil of people’s hearts, bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. Over the past two weeks, we have sown “Seeds of Forgiveness” into the dirt of sin, and scattered “Seeds of Reconciliation” over barren acres of separation from God. Today’s topic is a tough one, which makes the good news all the more welcome.

Have you ever heard someone ask, “Would God really condemn me because I [insert a specific sin here]? So, I live my life as a good person, and God sends me to hell just because I [insert a specific sin here]?” These are troubling questions, not only due to the frightening thought of eternal penalty, but also because they stir up the false notion of a petulant God callously sentencing “good people” to the abyss. They presuppose that we are morally OK—good enough by our own virtue to stand in the presence of a sinless God. If this were true, our misgivings might be understandable; as it is, our misunderstanding creates unjust misgivings. As God said to Job, “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?”1

Jesus makes reality clear: “Whoever does not believe [in the Son of God] stands condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”2 We do not begin at the pinnacle of moral virtue only to be toppled by a sinful act, rather we are by nature sinful people, deserving of wrath, yet saved from condemnation through God’s supreme act of grace. See for yourself . . .

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:18

Just as one trespass [original sin] resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act [Jesus’ sacrifice] resulted in justification and life for all people. Romans 5:18

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

Let us not fall for Satan’s deceptions, but instead firmly root ourselves in truth and be ready to sow these Words of salvation in the fertile fields around us.

Father, Jesus has taken upon Himself the condemnation we deserve, and we live now as people saved through faith in Him. Take us—every bit of us—as Your own. May our lives shout Your glory and, in every way, bear the good news of salvation. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Job 40:8
2 John 3:18