Summary: Allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us we discover how Real and Amazing God’s grace is. Then we can pass that Grace on to others.
Grace – Amazing Yet Real! By Steve Keeler
Scripture Colossians 3:12-17
Philip Yancey wrote: “Grace comes free of charge to people who do not deserve it and I am one of those people. I think back to whom I was – resentful, a man wound tight with anger which was just a single hardened link in a long chain of “un-grace” learned from family, school and church.
Now, I am trying in my own small way to pipe the tune of grace. I do so because I know, more surely than I know anything, that any pang of healing or forgiveness, or goodness, I have ever felt comes solely from the grace of God. I yearn for the church to become a nourishing culture of that grace”.
“A nourishing culture of that grace.” Isn’t it sad that people often find more grace and acceptance in a beer-joint then they do in church? Isn’t it tragic that people regularly enter churches and then leave again never finding God’s amazing grace.
The sad reality is, churches and Christian groups are often known more for their rules and musty religious pretense than for being authentic grace-freed followers of Jesus.
It’s common to believe in God’s grace but to be ungracious. In many churches you’ll hear them preach grace, but not extend it. As humans, we lay claim to grace and forgiveness for ourselves, but we often demand performance from others.
We need to understand Christ’s heart for His Church. When we do, we’ll see that Yancey’s right when He describes the best future of the church as being a “nourishing culture of grace”.
I think we could add to our Core Values, “Grace – Amazing Yet Real”.
Grace – Amazing Yet Real means that "we’re committed to a ‘Grace Gospel’ – we’re also committed to grace-oriented lifestyles and relationships.
I am committed to avoid teaching and practicing legalism although it’s so easy to fall into that trap; we need to allow God the Holy Spirit to work in peoples’ lives not subject them to a list of man made rules.
We need to treat ALL people as God has treated us, with love, kindness, forgiveness and gentleness.
This is another sit up and take note moments; we need to prize our values are principles which God has begun to build into us.
The fact that we identify these things as values doesn’t mean that we’ve “arrived”. They’re what we want God to work into us, individually and as a body.
Me speaking on real grace once is not going to be enough, we need to and will re-visit again and again until it’s part of our very nature.
The problem is that, tucked away inside our human character is an urge to not only try to earn God’s favor, but also to compare ourselves and out-perform others.
C.S. Lewis said, “Man is incurably religious.” You see, pride makes us legalistic by nature. We need regular, repeated doses of the Truth Of Grace to flush that garbage out of our spiritual thinking.
We also love to give other people a good impression. So we tend to don our mask and the result is a sort of Christian mushy niceness, but it’s not real righteousness.
One of the wonderful things about Real Grace is that it reminds us, it’s okay to let others see how much God still needs to work in our lives.
So what does a Christian look like that really pursues amazing yet real grace? The passage we look at today helps us discover, how to put a “face on this grace”. It helps us understand grace so we in turn can give “grace” to each other.
Let’s go back to our Scripture – Colossians 3. Paul helps here see the relationship between God’s grace to His children, and ours toward one other.
First, he says Grace driven people remember their heritage.
The pattern here is common in most of the New Testament letters. First, comes the teaching of Truth of what God has done – then comes the urge to live by that Truth.
Let’s begin at verse12. First, Paul describes the people he’s writing to. If you’re a Christian, you can take these words as true about you.
Colossians 3:12 says;
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
The NASB calls us God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.
Would you think it’s odd if I were to call you “Holy one”? God’s Word uses precisely that language here and elsewhere in the New Testament, including in the letters to those carnal Corinthians.
Before Paul calls us to be radically gracious to others, he reminds us of God’s radical grace that transformed us.