Grace is the Apostle Paul’s chosen word to explain to others how his life changed on the road to Damascus. He spent many years in Tarsus, his hometown, before being invited to join the public ministries of the Apostles. Imagine him as he was out and about in those earlier years testing words to find […]Read More
“Grace” is a difficult word for us to define today. Sometimes it means graceful, like in the smooth movements of a ballet dancer. Sometimes it means to say grace (thank you) at a meal. But mostly for Bible readers today it means the gift of salvation in Christ, as explained by the Apostle Paul in […]Read More
It’s there tucked into the middle of John’s account of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, the analogy for Jesus beloved by all (John 10: 1-18). In verse 10 Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). A more accurate translation is “that they may have life overflowing.”
Who was Jesus talking about? The sheep, of course. Jesus invited us to see ourselves as the sheep he protects and lays down his life for. There was no suggestion he is talking about what will happen in a future life. He addressed our daily life in this world.
What will be overflowing in this abundant life here and now? I believe the Good Life now will be overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I trust you recognize that this listing comes from Galatians 5:22, where Paul described the fruit of the Spirit. Understand that “fruit” means what we would call product, that which a business makes and sends out the door. The Spirit produces the inner qualities of love, joy, peace and the other fruit.Read More
Kevin Park is a member of our church who designed and by now has distributed 150,000 grace and mercy coins. One side has a cross and the words “Mercy is when God spares you what you deserve.” The other side has a dove and the words “Grace is when God gives you what you don’t deserve.” It’s a great evangelism tool.
The first side’s cross represents Christ. The other side’s dove is for the Holy Spirit. Mercy is the proper word for the forgiveness God gives us through Christ’s redemption. The Bible word is charis for the gift given, which we call grace. A second kind of grace is called charisma, the gift received. This is always associated with the Holy Spirit. One form is the special energy he gives to do specific ministries (1 Corinthians 12). The other is the higher gifts of love, faith and hope (12:31) and other fruit the Spirit produces in believers, like joy and patience.Read More
Recall the two-sided coin with the cross on one side and a dove on the other, discussed several blogs ago (Look on the Other Side of the Coin). The coin represents God’s presence in our lives. At times Paul focuses on Christ crucified, who changes our fundamental relationship with God. We become different people “in […]Read More