By Randy Ballinger
The apostle Paul commended the believers in Colossae about how “the gospel is bearing fruit and growing . . . as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace” (Colossians 1:6).
Do you truly understand God’s grace?
We can quickly define grace as “God’s unmerited favor.”
We can use an acrostic: “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
We could even look up the Greek word charis to learn it means “that which affords joy.”
We can define grace easily enough, but do we truly understand it?
Gathering around the Lord’s table helps us understand grace because we are reminded that Jesus Christ, himself, is the agent of God’s grace. God’s grace allows us to be reconciled to him.
Paul explained it this way:
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things . . . by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:19-22).
We truly understand grace when we yield to the transformative power that accompanies it.
- For Paul, that happened when he realized he was the worst of sinners and stopped killing Christians and began encouraging them. He understood grace to be sufficient.
- It occurred for John Newton when he realized he was a wretch and left the slave trade to preach the gospel. He understood grace to be amazing.
- For the rest of us, it might have been when we realized we could not save ourselves and, in gratitude, yielded our will to God. We understood grace is necessary.
This table focuses on Jesus Christ, who took upon himself the penalty for my sins—and for yours—so that we are transformed by God’s grace and truly understand it.
Randy Ballinger lives with his wife, Gina Ann, near New Paris, Ohio. He is an elder with the Centerville (Indiana) Christian Church.