Receive God’s Gift of Grace

the word grace printed on clothespin clipped cards

“Brothers and sisters, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Gal. 6:18).

’Tis the season—the season of twinkling lights, bright packages under the tree, and Christmas songs on the radio. This season is one of great joy but can also be one of stress. The busyness of the holidays can result in tension, frustration, and feelings that might be less than patient. But this time of year, one proclaiming and celebrating God’s kindest action, offers us something better. It offers us the best gift—grace.

What Is Grace?

To dig into the transforming power of this gift, we must understand what grace is. Often grace is confused with mercy, and while they go hand in hand, they are each unique.

Mercy is showing compassion and withholding a punishment or consequence to someone who deserves the punishment. It is restricting something that is deserved.

Grace is the inverse of mercy. While mercy restrains, grace abundantly gives what is not deserved or earned. The English dictionary defines grace as “courteous goodwill” and, when used in a theological context, “unmerited divine assistance given to humans.” The Greek word used in the New Testament is defined as “the state of kindness or favor towards someone, often with a focus on a benefit given to the object.” Grace is the gift of God’s favor on us. We see grace in Christmas: Christ coming to earth to live as a human, laying down His life for us, and ascribing His righteousness to us—something we could never earn or deserve. We know grace in action through the forgiveness flowing from the pierced hands of Jesus. Grace is abundant life we could never have on our own.

Grace is a gift that is not deserved and a gift that will not be taken away. God’s favor is secure because it comes through Christ, not through us. We can’t change His favor on us, because we did nothing to put it there in the first place. Grace always has been, and always will be, a gift to us.

What Does Grace Do?

This is great news! When the grace of the Lord Jesus is with our spirits, our lives are transformed. God’s favor on us, His divine assistance, His incredible kindness to His people are catalysts that propel us to live empowered lives. Through the grace of Jesus, we can

  • be healed of past hurts;
  • be free from the chains of sin;
  • forgive the friend who broke our heart;
  • love the family member we want to hate;
  • have compassion on others when we feel hostile;
  • live out the identity of being known, complete and worthy when we feel worthless;
  • hear the voice of the One who speaks truth over us and believe Him when He says we are loved.

Grace is yours to take. The gift has been paid for and freely given. God’s favor rests upon you because it rests upon His Son, the One who laid down His life to bring you into the family. As we enter into the holiday season, hold on to this gift through the beautiful moments and the difficult ones. May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with our spirits, transforming us through unmerited favor, and may He empower us to offer this gift to others.

Selah Ulmer is a recent seminary graduate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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