God gives Grace, He is Gracious and Patient
by Gini Crawford, MSW
The One True God, Jesus Christ, literally showers us with His grace/favor. "Grace upon grace" in John 1 means that because of Jesus, God's favor will continually be upon us. Is there anyone in your life that would favor you continuously? Probably not, because as life is, we all mess up more than we want to think of, and people aren't gracious and patient like God is. Isn't it an amazing gift that we are in God's continuous favor throughout our lives and into eternity? (Isaiah 30:18; 2 Corinthians 9:14-15).
...and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth... For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace... Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. John 1:14, 16-17 NASB®
Grace is a beautiful word with a beautiful meaning. Grace has the idea of favor, beauty, joy, acceptance, benefit, pleasure, gratitude, and kindness in it. A gracious thing, act, or person brings kindness, thankfulness, joy, and beauty to the receiver. Grace goes beyond what is expected from the giver, and has no expectation of something in return. In other words, grace is favor freely given to you - you don't earn it. In human terms grace/favor is only given to a friend, not to an enemy.
Late one night while at home, my husband and I heard a loud noise that sounded like a car crash. We lived a block from a fairly busy rural road. God put it on our hearts to get into our car and go see if anyone needed help. As we turned onto the road we saw flames. When we got there, I ran to the car on fire and pulled the driver out, because his door was miraculously open. The others in the car were dead. My husband helped the people in the other car. The driver didn't deserve grace because, being drunk, he caused the accident that killed his two friends and hurt the passengers in the other car. Just as the driver didn't deserve grace, we don't either as sinners.
However, God's grace goes beyond human grace. Even though we were God's enemies because of our sin, He still loved us, and rejoiced over us; so He wanted to freely shower His grace upon us. Do you feel your sins can never be forgiven? God's grace forgave you (Romans 3:23-24, 5:15, 21; Ephesians 1:7). Are you struggling with life? His grace is sufficient for your every need or struggle (2 Corinthians 9:8). Do you feel helpless or perhaps overwhelmed? God's grace will give you the power you need to overcome anything (Ephesians 3:7; 2 Timothy 1:9, 2:1). Have you lost a loved one, or maybe are afraid of death? The grace of God gives you absolute assurance of eternal life (Ephesians 2:4-7).
How do you feel about God's favor towards you? It amazes me about every day.
Jesus Christ brings God's gift of grace to us (John 1:14-17). Because of the awful fix we were in as sinners, it's pretty evident salvation had to be given to us by grace (Romans 11:6). So God freely gives us His unearned and undeserved favor, bringing salvation to us. We receive the gracious gift of being saved from our sins like we would receive any gift - we take it. However, instead of using our hand to take the gracious gift of salvation from God, we take it by belief or faith in Jesus Christ. That's an amazing truth which is almost too good to be true, but it is.
But God...because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)...so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:4-9 NASB®
God is patient and slow to anger
I was over at my friend's house, when her husband put his fist through the wall because he was angry at her. It was a scary situation. Since we can have a tendency to not do what God wants us to do, we would be in an awful fix if God wasn't extremely patient with us and slow to anger. Remember, God has every right to be angry at us because of our sin. Yet, because of His great love for us, He died to satisfy His just wrath against each and every sin. (Isaiah 54:7-8; Micah 7:18-19; Romans 5:8-9) I am very relieved God is slow to anger, and patiently waits for me to do what I should be doing. Are you?
...But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; and You did not forsake them. The Lord...is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. Nehemiah 9:17 and 2 Peter 3:9 NASB®
Because God is Who He is, He wishes no one to perish eternally, so He is patient with all people, wanting all to choose to believe in Him. I don't know about you, but I do not patiently wait very easily for anything. To think the God of the universe patiently waits for us, so we can have a happily ever after future with Him, touches my heart. Have you chosen to believe in Jesus? (John 3:16). He is patiently waiting for you.
Grace along with patience
Grace and patience certainly go together. If you want to show someone grace, to be gracious to them, you must show them patience too, or you are not being very gracious to them (Isaiah 30:18). I would imagine you understand what I am talking about.
The One True God shows grace and patience to us, to lovingly encourage us to do what is right. The Old Testament prophet Jonah hated the wicked Assyrians and knew God would be slow to anger and abundant with His grace towards them. So Jonah ran from God to try to stop God from being patient and gracious to the Assyrians. But God can't be fooled, and He sent a big fish Jonah's way. This fish showed Jonah God's grace and patience, by saving him and getting him back on God's track. And Jonah was right, because God did show the very sinful Assyrians much patience and grace, through Jonah's preaching, which led them to repent. (Jonah 1:1-3, 15-17, 2:10, 3:1-10, 4:1-2). Loving reality in our gracious and patient God, isn't it?
Have you ever hoped that God wouldn't give someone grace and patience? This is a very counterproductive way of feeling that will come back to bite you. Just ask Jonah.
The amazing power of God's grace
Amazing Grace is a popular song even with people who don't know the One True God, because we all love grace. The writer of the song, Amazing Grace, was a slave trader at one time, who found God's grace. That grace changed him from a man who abused people, to a man who loved God and people. Read Romans 11:6; 1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Timothy 1:9, 2:1; Titus 3:7.
What has God's grace done for you personally?
God's grace has given me an assured hope for eternal life as well as a confidence and contentment in my life that I thought would never be possible.
Grace or bitterness? If you are not willing to give people grace and patience - bitterness can grow in your life and cause a lot of problems. Bitterness is defined as an attitude that tends to grow out of our refusal to give people grace. Bitterness is also deep seated ill feeling or hostility towards someone. Think about a person who has no grace or patience. He is not very pleasant to be around, is he? Are you a bitter person? If so, it's time to change. Ask God to make you a patient and grace giving person. You will like the new you and everyone else will too! Read Matthew 7:12; Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 3:7, 20, 4:1-3, 29-32; Hebrews 12:15.
Write down your insights from these passages on being a gracious and patient person.
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