By Doug Crozier
In his 2012 book titled Grace, Max Lucado wrote, “Grace is God’s best idea. His decision to ravage a people by love, to rescue passionately, and to restore justly—what rivals it? Of all his wondrous works, grace, in my estimation, is the magnum opus.”
Our challenge as Christians in today’s world and culture is to live and breathe and exhibit God’s grace. We will do so by following the roadmap God gave us in the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God!
In my work with The Solomon Foundation, borrowers have a “grace period,” typically from the due date on their monthly payment to the date the payment is delinquent. As the lender, we give our borrowers grace by allowing them some extra time to make the payment, after which a fee is charged. So, we are extending grace. In the world of church financing, we also extend grace in many other areas to both our borrowing churches and our investors.
What Is Grace?
When we receive God’s grace, we receive something we don’t deserve and can never repay. Since God owns everything we have, he allows us grace in how we manage or steward our assets. All the great things we have come from God. And the greatest thing we receive from his grace is our salvation.
Paul told the Ephesian elders, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24, English Standard Version).
There is accountability in being a Christian. When we become a believer, we must repent. The term repent derives from the Roman military; it meant to turn and go the opposite way. Like the Roman soldier who was instructed to turn around, we as Christians must turn from sin and dedicate ourselves to changing our lives and following the path of Christ.
How Do We Live by Grace?
Many people become Christians but do not follow a Christlike lifestyle. Yes, we will fail; yes, we will regress. But through his grace, God forgives us! Being in relationship with God allows us to stay away from bad things. Living by God’s grace allows us to be more confident as Christians.
There are several cornerstones of grace:
Prayer: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (Ephesians 1:18).
Prayer directs our attention to God in a two-way spiritual relationship. It allows us to talk to God and it allows God to talk to us. Prayer brings us in communication with God and other believers.
Studying the Scriptures: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
We need to read and study the Bible because it is our instruction manual—God’s words to us. Our instruction manual answers the simplest to the most complex questions. It reveals who we are and whom we are to become. It answers so many why, what, and where questions. What is the purpose of my life? Where do I come from? What does a successful marriage look like? So many of our questions are answered in Scripture.
Taking the Lord’s Supper Every Sunday: Paul provided us with the background and important instructions for the Lord’s Supper:
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves (1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
Communion is a key part of our weekly worship experience. I partake of the Lord’s Supper many weekends at my home church—Southeast Christian Church in Parker, Colorado—or else I take Communion at one of the Christian churches I am visiting that week. A common thread in our churches is that Communion is a weekly event!
Fasting: “Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord” (Judges 20:26).
Fasting is taught and practiced throughout Scripture. This key spiritual discipline is a process of bonding with God.
Fellowship with One Another: Paul said, “You were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9, New King James Version).
Christian fellowship encompasses both a vertical relationship with God and a horizontal relationship with other believers. Relationships are important to me, and they include family and friends inside and outside ministry. One of my goals is to be able to lay my head on my pillow at night knowing all my relationships are solid. This isn’t easy, but it’s a goal I set 40 years ago.
At The Solomon Foundation our first core value is to honor God. We preach this to our staff, investors, and borrowers—we consider them all to be ministry partners. We do this because we are plowing the fields together to advance the kingdom!
As Christians we need to follow the Word and exhibit God’s grace so we can improve our daily lives and positively impact our relationships with others.
Doug Crozier serves as chief executive officer of The Solomon Foundation in Parker, Colorado.