We’ve all met people whose perception of themselves far exceeded their actual ability. If we’re honest with ourselves, we find that it’s also great description of us! It’s true! There’s nothing more humbling that being a human being. Think about it. Do we have the ability to create ourselves? No. We are in this world completely apart from our doing. There’s air, water, food, shelter, clothes, and more that are simply there. Sure, you can get better shelter and better clothes and better food with some effort, but the fact that they exist is not of our doing. Luther’s explanation to the first article of the creed is awesome. After listing all the things God simply provides to his creation, he says “All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.”
Grace is a gift you don’t deserve. If you earn it, then it’s not grace. For some reason, I think we struggle to realize that our lives are filled to the brim with grace. There are so many basic beautiful things beyond our control that we can easily take for granted. These things are gifts! When we treat these things as gifts it changes our perspective on life. First, it gives us a realistic look at who we are versus who God is. Like I said, we often think quite highly of ourselves! Second, it gives us realistic expectations about what we can and should be doing. The classic example also comes from Luther in his explanation to the third article. “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” That’s grace.
When our idea of grace is off, so is our Christian witness. That’s why I really like our WaterLife concept. WaterLife is all about living our baptism and sharing our stories. Well, baptism is all about God’s grace! It’s the forgiveness of sins won by Jesus on the cross given through water and God’s word. It’s dying with him and rising to a new life! It’s all grace! We don’t deserve that! WaterLife is all about taking the gift of life and forgiveness into our daily lives. Living God’s grace means appreciating what he does and calling it that. This is the day the Lord has made. This is the life he has given us. This is our hope for eternity hanging on a cross and tied up with a bow. When we show others how we appreciate God’s gift, we truly represent the one who’s given it to us.
Undeserved: God’s Gift of Grace
This is important. It’s of vital importance. It’s so important that we’re going to try something new with our GodSpeak readings. Rather than take on another book of the Bible, we’re going to take on a topic: Grace. We’ll look at five different aspects of God’s grace over five weeks. Creation, Salvation, Baptism, Communion and New Creation. Six days a week there will be a reading from God’s word about grace. These readings will encourage and challenge us. Our worship will reflect these readings on grace. Ultimately, I pray these five weeks will help us wrap our minds and our hearts around the character of our God, and who we should be as his people. What a gift!