I remember some of the first verses I memorized as a teenager when I was getting grounded in my faith. In Romans 12:1-2 it says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Those verses have always been close to my heart and mind over the years. They have reminded me of what my focus ought to be and what it should not be. This morning as I was reading, I was drawn to the verses that followed in this passage. I saw the words, grace and faith jump right off the page. My mind started thinking of the encounters I have had with grace and faith. I have even baptized a Grace and a Faith. Brandon and Andrea Morgart named their daughters, Grace and Faith. Ok, I need to pull this back in.
According to Scripture, God distributes faith and grace to the believer. It says in Romans 12:3, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” In Romans 12:6 it says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” So God himself distributes to us the faith and grace we need to fulfill the purposes of God? What a humble thought.
We also see in Ephesians where grace and faith are key factors in our salvation. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9.
So, what is grace and faith? Let me break down the two. Grace is the love of God shown to the unlovely; the peace of God given to the restless; and the unmerited favor of God given to all. It is love that cares, stoops, and rescues. It is the unconditional love that is given to those who do not deserve it. It is given to all of us and somehow our gifts are spurred on by it. It is so big that we can’t break it down to just one definition. What a God we serve.
Faith is trust, confidence, assurance, and belief in God. It accompanies with it a total faith. The Hebrew writer says, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1. The amazing thing about faith is that not only are you saved through your faith, but God himself gives you faith.
Why not take the time to saturate in the Word of God and look at faith and grace. You will be amazed at how wide and deep you will find it. To think, in our relationship with God we can exercise grace and faith not only in our relationship with the One true God, but we can give it away as we model a life lived for Christ.
What a wonderful day we had last Sunday. I want to thank everyone who helped with the set up, the tear down, and everything in between. There are too many to mention. It was good to see all the fun activity as we enjoyed our time together. Someone said to me that they have never seen the transition go that fast before as we transitioned from a worship center to a banquet hall. I am looking forward to being with you on Sunday. We will continue to look at another parable as we study the words of Jesus. There is so much we can put into practice as we engage in the life giving words of our Lord.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene