I woke up early this morning. As I repositioned myself and my pillow in an effort to lull myself back into sleep, my mind became fixed on the goodness and grace of God. That is a weighty subject for so early in the morning, but it brought to me a great sense of peace and contentment. I’m not sure I want to experience that every morning shortly after 3:30, but it was more than worth the grogginess I will feel after lunch.
We spend far too little time dwelling on God’s grace. Those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ know the necessity of grace for our salvation. The Apostle Paul states clearly – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
There would be no salvation for me or anyone else apart from the marvelous grace of God. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. God’s love was so great that He sent His one and only Son who would die on a cross to pay the price for sin. Jesus declared on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and that meant He had done everything necessary for the salvation of lost and sinful humanity.
Christians sing about this grace. Pastors preach about it. But I dare say we do not dwell on this grace nearly enough. Doing so could be absolutely transformative for our attitude and our daily lives, for we are not only saved by grace, we are called to live in it!
I remember as a child taking trips to Ocracoke Island. As the tide would recede, pools of water would remain behind. There was great delight in playing in those pools. And as I get to the beach from time to time, I still see children playing in those shallow accumulation of ocean water left behind by the retreating waves. That is often where we as believers live when it comes to appreciating and enjoying the grace of God.
God’s reminder to me this morning was to go deeper into grace. There is a vast ocean to be enjoyed and explored, but we become far too content in the shallows.
2 Peter 3:18 tells us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” So, how do we do this? I’m not sure there is a single recipe, but there are actions you can take to experience more of the inexhaustible grace of God.
You need to set aside time to contemplate God’s grace.
This may be quite challenging for you. Life can be quite busy. Slowing down is a luxury. Stopping seems impossible. And when we’re not busy, we feel the need to be distracted from everything by vegging out in front of the TV or hanging out with friends. Solitude is a foreign concept for many today.
The psalmist calls us to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). This is a command, yes, but it is also an invitation. We will likely never develop a richer appreciation of grace or have a deeper affection for God without pulling apart from our routine to mediate upon the greatness of our God.
You need to spend time reading and reflecting on God’s Word.
If we want to know God more, we need to dedicate time to knowing His truth. Yes, our understanding of God may increase when we watch a sunset or hold a newborn, but if we truly desire to know Him more deeply we need read His Word.
The Bible is not merely an instruction book on how to live in a fallen world; it is God’s self-revelation. It is in God’s Word that He reveals Himself, His will, and His ways. He wants to make Himself known to us, and He has chosen a means that we can understand. Though human words can never fully express the majesty of an eternal God, the Bible is sufficient to lead us to know the Lord and not just know about Him.
It is in the pages of the Bible that we discover that “we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is within that sacred text that we learn that we “were dead” in our sins and our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1) and were in our fallen nature “enemies” of God (Romans 5:10). God needed to reveal this to us because that sin keeps us from entering into a relationship with Him. He had to point out the penalty of our sin and our own helplessness to fix ourselves so that we might turn to Him in faith.
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)
When we come to understand the absolute holiness of God and our own utter depravity and hopelessness, we will marvel at the vastness of God’s grace and love and mercy in Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you have heard God’s invitation to go deeper into grace. It requires an intentionality on our part, a willingness to shift our priorities and rearrange our time. It is an effort on our part to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. We must lift our eyes from the knee-deep pool and gaze at the endless ocean. We must once again discover that grace that once amazed us and can do so again.
Let us go deeper into grace…
[All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version]