God Magnificent Grace, Our Expected Gratitude

The Apostle Paul is considered by many to be a standard bearer for God’s grace. Paul was called Saul at one time. If our actions to date were stacked against the actions of Saul before he became well-known as Paul, there are probably very few of us who have done as much harm to the body of Christ as he once did. Saul was very zealous against Christ and had quite the reputation for being extremely cruel to those that followed the way of Jesus Christ. Before his Road to Damascus transformation, Paul was feared by many believers because he persecuted them. He believed, oddly enough, that he was doing the right thing. He was so out in left field in his mind and heart, because he didn’t believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was God’s only begotten Son. Considering the damage he had done to God’s people when his name was Saul, one would not be wrong in assuming that he deserved extreme punishment, but through God’s grace, he was saved. God had a plan for Paul’s life.

Grace is God’s unmerited and undeserved favor upon us. We didn’t and can’t do anything to earn it, and it speaks volumes about Heavenly Father’s love for us. God’s grace teaches us to be better parents, friends, caretakers, and children of God. It teaches us to be forgiving of the mistakes of others, and to be thankful that even though we have done things that were contrary to God’s Will, He still blesses and cares for us. The Apostle Paul understood the grace of God probably more than you and I can imagine, because he knew that he had received so much of it, and so have you and I.

It was hard for people to believe that someone so cruel could be changed so tremendously by God’s love. After he was confronted by Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and was converted into a believer, Paul wanted to join the other apostles of Christ. Acts 9:26(NKJV) tells us, “And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.” They eventually accepted Paul as their brother in Christ, as he began to speak and teach boldly about our Lord and Savior. However, this verse demonstrates God’s grace, and how it deeply transformed the Apostle Paul after his encounter with Jesus Christ. He went from someone persecuting believers and having them killed or imprisoned, to someone who would stop at nothing to see people accept Christ as their Lord and Great Redeemer.

God had a purpose for Paul’s life long before Paul entered his mother’s womb, and this purpose was coded in his DNA. After Paul was converted, he was blind and would not eat or drink. God spoke to Ananias, a believer, in a vision and told him to go and lay hands on Paul so he could receive his sight again. But Ananias had heard about Paul’s reputation as well, and had a hard time swallowing that God had the right guy. Acts 9:13-15(NLT) says, “13 But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name. 15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.” Paul was God’s chosen instrument, and the big reason why he was chosen was because he more than most really understood the Father’s grace. This understanding of God’s grace was needed in order to not only teach the Good News of Christ, but to spread the Word fiercely and robustly during those times. Paul suffered many things, he was beaten, stoned, ridiculed, and treated horribly, but God called him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, kings, and the people of Israel, and he fought the good fight of faith.

Through God’s magnificent grace, He has called us into His glorious light, and He has given us a purpose within His divine will and plan. In our pasts, many of us have done things that we wish we hadn’t. We have done things we aren’t proud of. Some of those things we have asked God to forgive us for, and we were truly sorry we did them. Other things have long passed from our current memory. Not only did we forget the people we hurt or the sins we committed in the dark, but we have not confronted the behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes that prompted us to work against our highest self. Through His incredible and unsurpassed unconditional love, God’s grace allows us to continue to be blessed from day to day. We do not deserve such grace, but He gives it to us anyway because that’s who He is.

Romans 12:1(MSG) tells us, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”  Embracing is always going to be a key word in the life of a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything that is needed to be done in order for you and I to live a more than abundant life was accomplished by Christ. Our responsibility is to embrace what he has done. One of the greatest ways to embrace the finished work of Christ is to be truly and earnestly grateful for it. God expects this from us, and we should be thrilled beyond any happiness to give it to Him.

How do we demonstrate our gratitude to God for what He’s done through Jesus Christ? We do it by modeling ourselves after Christ, because this is the greatest gift we can give our own lives. Just as he did for the Apostle Paul and countless others, through His magnificent grace, God has given us life. If it were not for His love, grace, and mercy, none of us would exist. We must seek God’s purpose for our lives and begin to live it with the same passion, commitment, and gratitude as those that came before us. This is the least we can do in honor of His grace and to show gratitude for all He has done for each of us. ■

(MSG) – The Message Bible
Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“God Magnificent Grace, Our Expected Gratitude”, written by JMack, theChristianMan.com© 2020. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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