Monday, December 31, 2012

Living Grace - December 31

While God giving and we receiving grace is essential, I think we should see this as the beginning and not the end of the story. This may be a new way of configuring grace, but it is crucial. Here’s why.

The apostle Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 8-9 that received grace is to be passed on to others. He passionately shows his readers that grace is not merely to be experienced as passive, but is to be an action from those who have received it towards those in need. This is living grace, as both verb and adjective. God’s grace is living and it is to be lived. Quite simply: grace is giving to others for it to be fully grace. When there is an overflowing reception of grace, there should be an overflowing giving of grace. Grace is not a private matter, nor is it something to keep within the walls of our bodies, houses, churches, or computers. If you’re on the verge of giving grace to another, then go ahead – complete the action – release grace out into the world.

This grace of giving, it should be noted, is to take place in the context of freedom, which allows each to give according to their means. Paul will have none of the strong arm or calculated manipulating tactics that often identify so much of contemporary Christianity. There is a great deal of deception in today’s world, and it can all tend to be about money, money, and more money.

Let’s move in another direction. Living grace, grace, and more grace. Giving grace is not to be done grudgingly, but out of a joy to help. God loves a cheerful giver because this is the attitude from which giving is to take place. There are no stipulations concerning quantity here. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is attitude – a living grace attitude.

The God of grace is able to make grace abound, so that we will abound in every good work. And we will be made rich in every way in order that in turn we might be generous to others and through this bring thanksgiving to God. His superabundant manifestation of grace should produce an abundant manifestation of grace, which will result in enlarging and increasing our harvest of righteousness.

The key to unlock the door to all this grace is interchange. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”