Because of Grace

A good pastor or teacher will preach the Gospel and include the life giving message in every message, whether topical or expository. A great pastor or teacher will weave grace throughout his or her message. Because after we know and receive the Gospel, we must know and receive grace. Grace is the game changer. Grace is what reshapes and transforms a life and a family.

I don't have statistics, but I'd say most Christian funerals and a large amount of secular funerals include the song "Amazing Grace". Most everyone knows this familiar hymn and the story behind the song has become a common teaching point. The hymn writer became so convicted by the Gospel, that he chose to stop participating in the African slave trade and becomes an activist working to stop the trading of human lives altogether.

In simple terms, we learn that grace is "undeserved favor" or "not getting what we deserve". It's great to use the description when describing the word to our kids. Children know about getting what they deserve. Kids have a strong sense of right and wrong. They are either on the receiving end of discipline regularly or they wait and watch for others get what they deserve. Kids and adults often revel in seeing someone pay a price for a wrongdoing.

Grace demands more than just being let off the hook. Grace demands that after we wipe our brow and take the deep breath of relief, that we turn. That we change. That we repent. Repent means to turn. Grace demands we turn from the wrong-doing, from the destructive behavior or the addiction. In honor of grace, we turn and we choose another road. We decide not to be "that guy" or "that girl" anymore. God's grace - the gift of Jesus says, "You get to choose a new path now, no matter how bad it has been or how old you are, it's time for something new."

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Ephesians describes this concept so well. Ephesians 4:20-32 says this: But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self,which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

"If you have heard..." How many of us have heard? Then it demands change. Becuase we didn't get what we deserved, we have the ability to stop and turn.

Adulterers can be faithful,
Addicts can be clean,
Manics can be peaceful,
Rageaholics can be kind,
Liers can tell the truth...

It goes on and on, just like the daily outpouring of His grace.

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