My thoughts about the work of Jesus are grounded in the idea of grace. Grace is an unearned gift or unmerited favor. God sends his son as the embodiment of grace to his people. He shows us what grace looks like; he teaches us about grace, and ultimately, he dies as the centerpiece of grace. God’s salvation is by grace first to last through the work of Jesus Christ.
This is what I believe, and this is what I teach and preach in the Church I lead.
Then one day, I am reading the writing of Peter to the Church. This was a guy who knew grace. He had denied even knowing Jesus and yet Jesus still wanting him to be his disciple. If anyone had some deep insight into the masterwork of grace, it would be Peter, so it intrigues me when he writes, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10 – NIV 2011)
Peter describes grace as having different forms. That does not seem to fit my primary understanding of grace unless I begin to define it in more expanded terms. Grace is better explained as God’s generosity to us. By that definition, Peter says that grace can come to us and others in various forms. The context of his words refers to praying, hospitality, speaking, and serving. Those are just a few examples of how God’s generosity is expressed.
It is an essential understanding to know that God’s grace not only flows to us but through us. That does not mean that we ignore sin and ungodly behavior. That means that we use our voice, our strength, our experience, our hands, and our energy to show people the goodness of God. We do things that show people grace personified.
May this week and this holiday season be a time where you not only experience grace, but you are a conduit of it to other people, in all its forms.