Day 5: Great Grace

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The best word to describe how we have become God’s holy people is grace.  The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians that we have been saved by grace through faith.  Faith is important.  We believe that God created us, loves us, and wants us to be His people.  But we have a sin problem.  And God’s grace is what overcomes that problem.  He gives us what we need, even though we don’t deserve it.  Salvation is an undeserved gift that God bestows on those who decide to trust Him in Jesus the Christ.  We are saved by God’s grace.

I am personally prone to hyperbole, so this sanguine word junkie was drawn to the last verse of Acts 4:31-33 in Monday’s devotion by President Collins.

“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33 ESV).

The Apostles were delivering the Gospel message with “great power.”  They were giving their personal witness to the fact that Jesus was dead on Friday and then was revivified on Sunday.  Both the adjective (great) and the noun (power) communicate intensity and forcefulness.  They testify that the resurrection was real in a way that stresses its urgency and importance.  We desperately needed a sacrifice for our sins!  God made it happen!  He proved that Jesus is Lord by bringing Him back to life!  Choose to accept the gift of salvation by faith!

Then it says that they all were experiencing “great grace.”  It is the same adjective of intensity and importance.  Those who believe the testimony and put their trust in Jesus receive the gift of salvation, and it is a great gift in every way.  But notice that the “great grace” was not just given to them – it is not a one-time gift to be received and possessed.  The intense and important grace “was upon” each of them, as in that which had come over them and continued to be the primary influence that flowed through their lives.

Those who received the great (and totally undeserved) gift of salvation became God’s gracious people.  It says they all were empowered to show that grace to others.  Is that an exaggeration?  Every one of them, really?  If some of those first believers experienced “great grace” and some “moderate grace” and some “a little grace,” I want to be in the “great grace” group.  How about you?

God continues to meet our needs every day.  Amen?  We need to let “great grace” become more and more who we are.  Loving others, caring for those who annoy us the most, and quickly forgiving – with an urgency that matches the greatness of God’s grace to us.

Dennis E. Glenn, Ph.D.

Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Dean of Accreditation

Today and throughout the three-day weekend, let’s allow “great grace” to flow through us.  Pray for God to show us where and how to practice grace with those around us – giving them what they need instead of what they deserve – in the great name of Jesus.